The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:22-23 NRSV

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Yes, I've been out of the political blogging game for a few weeks. I didn't want to talk Obama and Clinton in Pennsylvania.

But I have been pondering the condition of our educational system for a while now, since I heard a discussion on NPR about special education and the tracking of black students. Recently, I was particularly disturbed by reports about the high school dropout rates of our major cities, including Philadelphia where I live.


I still don't have time to write anything lengthy myself, but I do want to commend to your attention Bob Herbert's Op-Ed in the New York Times today.

Read this.

We need to ask more of our elected officials and policy makers. We are falling dangerously behind.

6 comments:

Sunshine said...

My plan for educational reform:

1. Remove Federal government involvement;

2. States and localities should require that 90% of their funds go (a) to improving school facilities, (b) directly to the classroom (e.g. books, classroom equipment, libraries), (c) teachers salaries and benefits.

3. Remove barriers to removing bad teachers and administrators -- the schools are for educating kids, not to simply provide jobs for people.

4. Give teachers more flexibility to just teach.

5. Cameras in the classroom (an idea from my mother who was a longtime teacher in Philadelphia -- she made a good point that cameras will help weed out the bad teachers but also protect the good teachers from frankly bad students).

There are other things that can be good, but I think the above would go a long way in improving education, by attracting good teachers and ensuring money is spent on actually educating the kids and not going into the pockets of the administrators. I am one that firmly believes, having worked on policy educational issues, particularly in DC, that one could pour $1 trillion into one school system and somehow they won't improve and the money won't make it to the teachers and the classrooms.

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