As we meander through the pros and cons of the proposed solutions to America’s educational problems, we easily become lost. There are no simple solutions to our problems, despite what is written across cyberspace and into newspaper columns daily. The problems are too complex for any fast fix.
We discuss longer school years, longer school days, early enrichment programs, and smaller class sizes. We talk about more intensive teacher training. We write articles about raising the bar and creating tougher standards. In a gingerly fashion, we sometimes even address the issue of educational funding, although one problem with attacking the funding problem is that the current system tends to work very well for our legislators. They don’t live in our poorest school districts and when they do, like the President, they send their children to private schools.
I believe part of the problem can be found in the steadily increasing centralization of education. We are standardizing education at a time when our population is diversifying. We are taking control away from local officials and local school boards by creating national requirements, many of which take away/reallocate scarce local resources. All across America, academically healthy districts are devoting time and money to preparing for the common core curriculum even though their students are/were doing great under the old standards. Academically-challenged districts are also preparing for the new curriculum, even though preparing for a harder test when you can’t yet pass the first test seems absurd. Can’t pass the test? We’ll make it harder!
(The people who came up with that solution ought to demand their college tuition back. They’ve learned so little about how the world works that I think they are entitled to the refund.)
Eduhonesty: Discussing plans we can never put into action cannot help us. Discussing plans we SHOULD NOT put into action helps us even less.