Monday, January 10, 2011

Educational Reform: What is Appropriate?

Education reform must happen. This is such a true statement, but I wonder if we are making the right decisions for reform.

Will the state's new education agenda get the job done? I don't know. I like some of what Governor Daniels and State School Superintendent Tony Bennett have to offer, but the idea of merit-based pay makes me wonder how this system will be equally applied across disciplines, electives, and school districts. I also wonder...what truly is the agenda here?

In response to concerns, Superintendent Bennett has sent out several e-mails to teachers, school administrators, and other school officials to mollify the masses and address the rumors. He claims that he and Governor Daniels have no intention to reduce teacher salaries, wipe out collective bargaining, end tenure, or fire effective teachers. The question is, do I believe him?

Well, education is something that goes to the very heart of our society. This video on educational change hits so many of the right points. It's an important piece that I believe takes the idea of true educational reform in the right direction. Teaching to tests or making education about some number that a student achieves isn't what is going to make things better, in my opinion.

Please watch this important video featuring Sir Ken Robinson, a creativity expert. It's about 12 minutes long.


varangianguard said...

Excellent find, Jon.

guy77money said...

Geez John it's about time you posted about the education crisis! I agree that the Governor and Tony are going down one slippery slope. It's time for the union and the teachers to have their voice heard in this debate. Now if the teachers and the union just would have started the ball rolling on education reform earlier when the deck was stacked in your favor then things would not look so bad.
As far as the Governor is concerned it’s all about the money! He is only looking for an easy way to head off the financial problems coming down the pike for every state in the union. I am sure he would have no problem busting the unions and doing away with tenure. I’m sure his goal is to put teaching back into the 1960’s mode when you made no real money and teachers just did it for the love of teaching.
Charter schools is one way to lower the costs. The problem with charter schools are they only work well in the large cities in Indiana. Will anyone go to the trouble (financially it would not work) to start a charter school in Tipton, Lebanon, Fairmont, Lapel and all of those other small towns in Indiana. Not likely! Secondly the teaching jobs usually do not pay as well and the benefits follow suit. This of course saves the government money.

guy77money said...

The three main problesms with the transportation expenses, insane over building and the retirement and compensation benefits school employees The three main financial problems with our schools are not really with the teachers and the unions but receive. I have two friends (husband and wife) who are teachers at Princeton High School in Sharonville (Cincy) OH. They both will be retiring at the end of the school year at the age of 57 and 59. They both will get over 60 grand a year in retirement benefits and very generous health benefits. Not bad for a career where you get 3 months vacations every year. Where the average executive at a mid- level company will have to work till 63 to 65 and will have to rely on his or her 401K and any extra money they have put away if they want to retire early. Teachers, administrators and staff get excellent retirement benefits that the taxpayer (without raising taxes) can no longer afford.
Over building! Have you had a chance to go over to Warren Central and checked out their Field House. It is truly insane! Butler would love to have a facility of such magnitude! Throw in the many large and lavish schools with no expense spared (comic books in the library!) on amenities and we were building palaces to educate our kids. Just to be fair, I live in Franklin Twsp and that is one big football stadium!
Lastly transportation cost have skyrocketed due to the explosion of the modern sub-division . It is impossible for kids to walk to school. Most schools are built miles away from the modern sub-division.

guy77money said...

So where does that leave us? About the same place as the local and state governments are? Broke! Without raising taxes and hoping to pass a referendum every year it is time for everyone (administrators and educators) to think outside the box. Cutting the administrative staffs and combining accounts payable, data processing, transportation and building staffs in counties would help. Buying big tickets items in bulk. Maybe making the kids go an extra month of school every year, thus letting them graduate as Junior s thus cutting off a year of school. Still the taxpayer has to understand that a good (even flawed) education is much better then badly funded one. I still want music, phys ed, arts and sports in public schools. All these activities play a huge part in rounding a kids education. I could go on about uncaring parents, problem kids and poverty but whats the point.
I still think this lets reform education mantra comes down to the almighty dollar! Because if Tony and Daniels were truly sincere about education reform they would set their standards a whole lot higher.

Hoosiers for Indiana said...

I don't believe that Indiana is having an educational crisis. Mitch stated before Congress that the Bush Tax cuts would put the U.S. in the black. The tax cuts didn't, it put us in the red.

You might want to read the following article.

Ronald Rodgers