Thursday, July 14, 2005

Education and the two Americas

The Economist weighs in on "the two Americas" and the education system's contribution to the problem.

Besides an uncharacteristic sloppy sentence ("...Latinos, who will account for one in five Americans by 2030, seem to be being assimilated just fine"), the Economist gets some other things wrong, too. Mainly, they point out growing disparities in wealth between the richest and the poorest, but fail to point to President Bush's disgraceful tax policies which only reinforce and widen the gap.

It's too easy to blame public schools for all of society's ills (e.g., growing economic disparities). It's easy, but it's not fair or honest.

That being said, their conclusion is an interesting one-- and, I think at least partially, accurate:

...[A] political solution of sorts is going begging. Republicans should be willing to spend more cash on schools in poor areas (including on teachers'
salaries) in exchange for the Democrats accepting structural reform.

They're right on with that on both counts. But they suggest that the kinds of structural reform that Democrats should endorse includes more testing and vouchers. I, of course, disagree.

Education reform has to be more than measurement. As I've said many times here in varying ways, you don't get taller by measuring yourself. We've got to focus on instructional improvements and structural reforms like lower class sizes, increased personalization of instruction, student internships, more arts and writing programs, greater use of technology, etc.

Notice all of those things I mentioned are ubiquitous in the elite private and public schools in America. If we are serious about providing opportunity for all students, they should be ubiquitous in economically disadvantaged areas, too.


Anonymous Miller Smith said...

Yep! Those disgraceful tax cuts. Yep. Dropping the bottom 40% of income earners totally from having to pay taxes at all is a disgraceful thing for Bush to have done. Clinton and the Democrats knew that the bottom 40% of income earners didn't need all of their money. Bad Bush! And what else did Bush do? Why he mad the top 50% of income earners pay 96% of all taxes. What a jerk!

And the 'tax cuts for the rich?' Look what it did to the tax reciepts of the federal government and all the state governments--almost doubled the government's take. All the states have taken in more money than they ever expected. Big surprize..well almost. JFK did the same thing Bush did with the same result. Do you know why a tax cut brings MORE money into government? Bet you don't.

Now to school budgets. Prince George's County Public Schools in Maryland (where I teach) spends right at $10,000 per student. Most private schools with all those wonderful programs you demand should be in all public schools have tuition LOWER than what we spend. Now how could that be? Oh, the expensive SPED students are sent to-get this-private school. I kid you not.

I have been in my school system since 1988. I have seen massive waste and money spent on useless things. And get this-we have more admin than teachers. I kid you not.

I would be ashamed to demand more money knowing how much we just waste. Until we get our house in order we have no business asking for more.

10:33 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Listed on BlogShares