I found out about this over at Blogging Baby and just had to read it for myself and hear what others think. A commission of education and business leaders took a look at our school systems and made their recommendations. Not so sure that I agree with parts of it.
Let’s face it, many of our school systems are in trouble. They just aren’t getting the job done. But deciding what to do can be very difficult.
Here are the core recommendations as I understand it.
- Have most students finish school at 10th grade, then test to see if they go on to study for tests to prepare for college or go on to community college. Savings estimated at $60 billion.
- Pay beginning teachers about $45,000, the current median rate. Cut retirement benefits to be more similar to those in the private sector.
- Have private contractors oversee schools, even as states continue funding.
I think we can all agree our schools need a lot of help right now. But I don’t know that these proposals are very well thought out. For example, how many 10th graders do you know who are really ready to cope with either community college or life out of school?
There are many changes I would like to see in our schools. I would like to see more options in place for those who aren’t interested in going to college. I would like foreign languages to be more readily available to younger students, and a fresh look at which languages should be taught. I know a lot of people are saying Chinese is likely to become important, and it’s not an easy one to get kids into because it’s not all that available.
I think the thing that bothers me most is that there isn’t much focus on improving education. Yes, privatising things may help; then again it may not. But I don’t put my faith in testing to show that children are learning what they really need to know rather than what a bureaucrat has decided they should learn. The focus these days on test scores has really damaged the overall educational process so far as I can tell.
I’m lucky. The schools in my area are really good. But not everyone has that advantage, and I think the focus needs to be more on improving education rather than the bottom line.