Sunday, September 25, 2011
Sad Story of Education Reform
Here's a story that would be funny if it weren't true. What if a state took a public institution and completely revamped it on the urging of the federal government and then the federal government decided that perhaps that wasn't the way to go in the first place? Well, that public institution is education, and it looks like the Obama Administration may be abandoning the "Race to the Top" or severely changing it.
The problem is that Indiana adopted many of the things RTTP suggested. Those changes included merit-based pay for teachers, ending teachers' seniority-based benefits, and a new emphasis on teacher evaluation.
States like Indiana rushed to get to the top. Well, according to the Huffington Post, funding for RTTP may not be renewed. States like Indiana are applying for waivers to get a pass on some of the more stringent No Child Left Behind guidelines. Now, we are stuck with another NCLB education reform. It's called an unfunded mandate.
It's another example of how you can't make education the same for every district in every corner of this country. Students are different, and they have different needs. Focusing on the teachers and administrators only solves a portion of the problem. Jamming reforms down the throats of our schools is a poor way to fix them. Until we focus on making life better for our students and getting them more ready to learn, especially in our urban areas, we will be, to use a cliche, behind the eight ball in public education for years.