Sunday, April 14, 2013

America's Education Nightmare

Imagine if someone gave you the following scenario- The wealthiest and most powerful people in the country are going to spend huge amounts of money trying to improve education. But instead of using those funds on getting talented and idealistic young people to devote their life to teaching, they were going to direct their funds so that such people gravitated to high paid positions creating and administering tests, assessing and evaluating schools, and joining private companies profiting from the rapidly growing education marketplace. 

That scenario, which an objective observe would say was destined to dismal failure, has become the reality in education policy around the country The money flowing into education from the federal government or private sources has overwhelming gone into management, assessment and quality control rather than recruiting and empowering great teachers and enriching the classroom experience so that children are excited about learning. Indeed, this top down approach has driven great teachers out of the profession and make children hate school.

All over the country, teacher morale is plummeting and children and families are in a state of shock over the uncontrolled proliferation of tests. There is a rebellion brewing, though the powers that be that created the current reality seek to suppress it and mock it. But none of their packaging and propaganda and bluster can hide the fact that you can't improve schools by management techniques that make teachers had their jobs and children hate going to school.

We need a moratorium on testing and school closings, and an redirection of existing funds into enriching classroom instruction while adopting policies which affirm the character of schools as community institutions not just one size fits all institutions shaped by a national blueprint.

If we don't do that, and reverse course quickly, we will lose a generation of teachers and more than one generation of children.

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