The political stability of a nation depends upon a strong public school system. Middle-class parents and affluent politicians need to consider the consequences of abandoning the public schools.
Betsy DeVos's Dream Budget
Betsy DeVos wants to cut the federal education budget by $9 billion.
California Waiver Undermines States’ Rights
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has set a pernicious precedent in California by making a separate deal with eight California school districts concerning the unachievable requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.
Center for Public Education [offsite link]
Current information about the education scene.
Children K-3 Need a Different Approach
The Common Core guidelines ignore differences between beginning readers K-3 and children who have learned to read. Not only that, but CC does nothing to change an entrenched instructional method that leaves 50% of U.S. school children unable to read at their intellectual level.
Comparing U.S. to Other Countries
International comparisons make interesting reading. They may even help planners to some extent, but in general, comparing the results of US education to that of other countries is probably meaningless. A more meaningful approach would be to compare state to state.
Education Averages Are Misleading
Education percentages for the entire United States tend to cover up the reality experienced by millions of Americans. For example, the breakdown of public school funding is summarized as “federal 13%, state 43%, and local 44%.” But, in some states, funding by the state can be as high as 86% and in
Enough of the College Hype Already
School reform that pretends that every child MUST go to college is abysmally unhelpful.
Firing Teachers Won't Improve U.S. Education
Judging by responses to a recent NPR report on a lawsuit to make it easier to fire California teachers, many members of the public seem to see public school teachers as a species of self-sacrificing missionaries dedicated to acting as surrogate parents to every child who enters their classroom.
Goodbye NCLB, Hello ESSA
NCLB has left a lasting pall over public education. The new ESSA revision could point the way to something better, but it could also prove to be a disaster.
Impulse Control Lacking in Modern Youth
One of the stated goals of the Common Core Standards is to encourage “student-directed learning.” A possible obstacle to classrooms filled with self-directed, internally motivated students is the fact that children's ability to self-regulate has declined steeply in the past 60 years.
Instructional Leadership Not for Principals
As schools begin to implement the new Common Core Standards, principals are being urged to focus on instructional leadership. Unfortunately, most U.S. principals lack the time to be instructional leaders. True reform would restructure the principal's job into three.
Is College for Everyone?
A college degree has become a status symbol in American culture--like a BMW or an 8,500-square-foot house. The reality is that most Americans cannot afford the luxury of sending their children to a four-year university with some vague idea that it will insure their financial future.
Let’s Make Better Use of Free Education [offsite link]
As the cost of a college education continues to sky-rocket, more and more young people are going to have to make better use of the free education provided by high school. For starters, less emphasis needs to be placed on car ownership and more on academic achievement. Students and parents need to get rid of the attitude that high school is “for being a kid” and college is for “getting serious.”
New Florida Law Elevates Uninformed Opinion
Parents who object to current scientific and cultural views have a right to their opinions. They do not have the right to interfere in the education of children not their own.
No More Free High School
Call me heartless, but I think the solution to U.S. educational woes is to pull the plug on providing 12-13 years of free education to every child who crosses the public school threshold at the age of five or six.
Procrustean School Reform
Admirable in theory, the Common Core State Standards force regulations on schools regardless of a local district's ability to fulfill them.
Public Education Is Not for the Wealthy
The present entrepreneurial attitude fueling public school reform loses sight entirely of what and whom the public schools are for.
Same Sex Education
Same-sex classrooms were long the norm. U.S. public education adopted the coeducational model at the end of the 19th century. Thanks to changes in American culture, it's probably time to return to the single-sex model, at least from grades 7-12.
Scarecrow Syndrome [offsite link]
In the wonderful land of Oz, the bestowal of a college diploma endows Scarecrow with a brain. The same is not true in real life.
School Choice Prelude to Privatization
Supporters of school vouchers and charter schools claim they have the interest of all children at heart, but funneling tax money away from the public schools can only lead to the destruction of an adequate education for the majority of American children.
School Principal's Job
The present system of placing everything from curriculum to lunchroom management under one supervisor is outdated and inefficient. The job of “principal” is too big for one person.
Second Chance Education
Instead of pretending that every public school in every community can or should impose an identical educational model on a diverse school population, effective reform will embrace the idea of specialized public schools.
Selling Our Children Down the Digital River
The Common Core Standards have a lot to say about traditional academic subject matter, but educators have latched onto computers and the Internet as the magic bullet that is going to enable them to turn every child into “an independent critical thinker fully prepared for the future,” Bad idea.
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Teachers Mentors and Purblind Politicians
Vocational education deserves more respect in public education, but it should not be viewed as "more important" than the academic skills associated with what some politicians refer to as "traditional" education, as if they were opposites. In the twenty-first century, "book learning" is for everyone
The Charter School Racket
Tax-payers who recognize that vouchers are bad news for public education nevertheless imagine that charter schools are unqualifiedly good for the US school population. A certain kind of charter school has its place in the public system. Charter schools run by for-profit managers have no place.
The Constitution and Public School Policy
An irony of the current turbulence in public education is taking us back to the beginnings of the Republic, when only the people with means could educate their children.
The Evolution of Johnson's 1965 Education Act
The original ESEA was intended to compensate for the obstacles to learning created by poverty. Since 1965, ESEA has been modified, renamed, and extended to include such issues as civil rights.
The US Department of Education, What It's For
Opponents of the Department of Education say it's "unconstitutional." What ARE the functions of this cabinet-level department?
Twenty Steps to Better Schools
Any meaningful reform will require overhauling the way teachers are prepared to teach and how the schools are organized.
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