Comments on: Moving beyond our vacuous education reform discussions Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:10:25 +0000 hourly 1 By: jtfane Mon, 15 Oct 2012 22:37:51 +0000 The authors reference to the American Enterprise Institute as a center right organization completely destroys his credibility. This is an organization that employs no fewer than 20 former members of the Bush administration including John Bolton and Dick Cheney who sits on the board of trustees. They also employ Newt Gingrich. Center right indeed. Why is it that everyone seems to want to be center this or center that these days? Are you embarrassed by your ideology? The American Enterprise Institute is a right wing organization, admit it and be proud of what you are. You’re not fooling anyone.

Hess’ dismissal of the education gap becomes blindingly clear in this light. This is an ideologically driven determination as equality is a dirty word in the eyes of the free market, a mere code for socialism and government and all things evil. The reality is that, regardless of one’s personal disdain for equality, the education gap is one of the most significant issues in America’s educational system. The top schools in America, both public and private, are amongst the best in the world. Our schools are failing poor children regardless of their color. This is where improvement is desperately needed. Offering children in a failing inner city school, where they struggle to learn the basics of reading and writing, an opportunity to take online Mandarin classes is little more than a cruel joke.

How about instead of “moving beyond our vacuous education reform discussions” we move beyond the ideological dogma of the left and the right and just do what works best for society?

By: xit007 Mon, 15 Oct 2012 17:39:10 +0000 There is a financial reality to this “conversation” – most at risk kids are thrown in the school system where parents hope the school system will take of them. The school systems today are afraid of simple discipline – and we seem to spare no expense to solve the performance problems yet the educational experience and results continue to degrade. The sad state is that all education needs to be performance and child oriented – but you have to have to families willing to participate in their child’s education. There are many “private” schools educating kids for considerably less with great performance. Are they creaming the best off or are they just engaging the student and family more intensely in a system where outcomes are monitored and results expected. Not a panacea – but when you institutionalize education – you wind up with organizations to big to be effective and unable to engage the community.

By: nikacat Mon, 15 Oct 2012 10:18:45 +0000 I also think the feds should keep their ignorant policies out of the education sphere. Return education policy back to the locals and just see if our education system doesn’t produce some superior results that other local boards can see and emulate.

On a related subject, fire the university educationist professors. Most newly minted teachers fresh out of college haven’t the faintest idea about how to teach. I’ve been there; done that. The worst hurdle to becoming a good teacher is to forget about everything you were told by the college professors and use common sense.

By: BidnisMan Mon, 15 Oct 2012 07:25:37 +0000 A famous man who who never did well at school once said something along th elines of ‘we will not solve the problems of today with the same thinking that was used to create them’. The article is filled with the same sort of thinking. “Help, our schools are not working as we hoped! It must be because we are not pushing our industrial school model to the limit!” Thinking of children as a future economic means of production a la Adam Smith is where is all goes wrong. Children need to be treated as individuals and nurtured to grow into the best person they can be based on their indivual nature (and not on the staffing needs of Detroit or Silicon valley). Note kindly that I say person, and not worker. If this is done then the economic problem will naturally reduce in a dramatic fashion. There are schools who have done this successfully for decades, but their philosophies often don’t gel well with the general industrial scientific thinking that still prevails.

By: tmc Sun, 14 Oct 2012 13:12:05 +0000 I don’t see why the federal goevernment is involved in education. It should not be. Let the states handle their own. Then, states may will be able to handle the differences in their local communities. All people may be created equal, but that changes immediatly after creation. And my wife says that’s a really short moment.

By: DifferentOne Sun, 14 Oct 2012 03:22:59 +0000 Course-level instructional choice: Has this idea never occurred to anyone before? If not, why not?

Who is opposed to it? Teachers’ unions?

It would be interesting to hear what teachers and their unions have to say about this.

By: JohnConlin Sat, 13 Oct 2012 15:55:27 +0000 The author circles around the only real solution… freedom. Why don’t we see a reform movement for the smart phone industry? Or flat panel TVs? Or basically any other product or service? It’s because the free market, free people freely interacting with other free people solves its own issues. It flows and adapts to both what the customer desires (often trying to anticipate these desires… often creating products the customer previously didn’t even know they desired) and what works. K-12 education isn’t any different.

We’ve had enough of the experts. Let’s instead unleash the wisdom of millions. I don’t claim to know the answer to every educational issue out there… but I do claim to know the system that will most quickly and most assuredly find these answers.

That’s what End the Education Plantation is all about… giving parents and children freedom.

We know we will have reached the promise land when the entire concept of a “reform” movement for education is put where it belongs, in the dustbin of history.

By: kimarie_l Sat, 13 Oct 2012 00:59:53 +0000 I’m unfamiliar with the practice of course-level institutional choice, However, as you’ve presented it students from low income backgrounds would continue to remain at a disproportionate disadvantage due to limited access to resources.

The option to leverage other educational institutions could be beneficial to students by providing them with greater freedom to develop their educational skills and intellectual interests.
However, the students who can afford to take an online language course and/or pay for a calculus tutor are arguably those who are already academically invested and motivated towards furthering their education. In contrast, students from low income backgrounds would be at a greater disadvantage as they would not likely have the economic resources to pursue this option. Additionally, if an increased number of students begin taking specialized courses, such as foreign language, outside of a school eventually fewer language courses would be offered further marginalizing those who are unable to pay for additional educational enrichment outside a given curriculum. From my limited purview I’m not sure how this option would be a step in the right direction of educational reform. (Additional insight would be appreciated)

As for the restructuring of schools, yes, let’s engage different models that let teachers actually teach, I am all for that! I agree that the current policies and pursuit of education reform have resulted in only lackluster and inconsistent benefits at best. However, the achievement gap should not be completely ignored, at the very least it should be a reminder to school administrators and policymakers that not all schools, public or charter, are equal and that significant social and economic disparities exist that must be contextualized and integrated into the development of effective educational reform. There is no silver bullet solution, indeed the current reforms are vacuous at best.