June 24, 2009

Points of View - Education Reform

There have been many, many, many editorials and articles written about education reform. I have read quite a few of them, and below are some of the more interesting ones to me. I am sure that most of you have seen or heard about at least some of them, but they are all worthy of a first or second glance.

I know that I am not here to pick and choose how to make our schools better. All of you know far more than me about the education system, but if true reform is going to happen, some of these ideas may end up being proposals - to fight for or against.

If we want to build a bridge, we get an engineer and a contractor. If we want to go to the moon, we get astronauts and scientists. If we want to reform education, why do we get legislators? Just a funny thought I have heard once or twice.


Truth in Teaching - The New York Times - "Education reform will go nowhere until the states are forced to revamp corrupt teacher evaluation systems that rate a vast majority of teachers as “excellent,” even in schools where children learn nothing. Education Secretary Arne Duncan was right to require the states that participate in the school stabilization fund, which is part of the federal education stimulus program, to show — finally — how student achievement is weighted in teacher evaluations. The states have long resisted such accountability, and Mr. Duncan will need to press them hard to ensure they live up to their commitment."

Five Ways to Fix America’s Schools - By Harold O. Levy - The New York Times - "American education was once the best in the world. But today, our private and public universities are losing their competitive edge to foreign institutions, they are losing the advertising wars to for-profit colleges and they are losing control over their own admissions because of an ill-conceived ranking system. With the recession causing big state budget cuts, the situation in higher education has turned critical."

Obama's Charter Stimulus - The Wall Street Journal - "'States that don't have charter school laws, or put artificial caps on the growth of charter schools, will jeopardize their application' for some $5 billion in federal grant money, Mr. Duncan said in a conference call with reporters this week. 'Simply put, they put themselves at a competitive disadvantage for the largest pool of discretionary dollars states have ever had access to.'"

Next Test: Value of $125,000-a-Year Teachers - By Elissa Gootman - The New York Times - "So what kind of teachers could a school get if it paid them $125,000 a year?"

A Dream Teacher, on Many Levels - Letters to the Editor - The New York Times - "As a modestly paid middle-school teacher, I took a great deal of interest in the raise offered by the Equity Project. I agree that excellent teachers are important, but I would certainly not complain if my salary were doubled."

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