While I’m no expert on politics, I feel their impact daily with the new federal and state mandates that trickle down into my classroom. Each new president is the “education president” and has a plan that will turn around a fledgling American education system. No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Common Core, VAM for teacher evaluations, charter schools–all valiant efforts to be the equivalent “get rich quick scheme” of public education. What anyone who works in a classroom knows, is that the problems are too deep, too complicated, too sweeping to be fixed so easily. Each President and appointed Secretary of State has, at best, 8 years to return the US to its former educational glory. He/she must present his/her education agenda du jour before he/she enters office and must stand by it even if, after time in office, one has a change of heart, for fear of flip-flopping (see Peter Green article linked for more on that).
What I propose is a new decision making body for education in Washington. What if we didn’t move the cheese for teachers and administrators across the country every 4-8 years? It may sound crazy to you but it makes perfect sense to this teacher in suburban Illinois: A “Supreme Court” of Education. Like the Supreme Court, presidents could appoint men/women (hopefully educators–perhaps each National Teacher of the Year?) to a body that would right the ship of public education that would serve 10 years? 15 years? life? The implications of each important, but worth a discussion. Let’s think outside the current constraints of the political box.
What has each successive regime brought us (both democratic and republican)? Heavy standardized testing, school closings that (in Chicago) break the hearts of students and have families taking to the streets in protests, public funding going to private for profit schools that show not to be any more effective except for those who champion their for profit cause, teacher shortages due to teacher disillusionment and distrust…Should we continue the course? Top performing schools on PISA exams (International Exams) like those in Canada and Finland are doing the exact opposite! Read more on that in the link attached.
From one of the greatest minds in the 20th Century:
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein