At first glance a lot of what is proposed by President Obama in his education reform plans looks promising.
Sure, there were a few questions people would ask, such as, if, in order for a state to qualify for federal funding they would have to adopt and certify that they have “college- and career-ready standards in reading and mathematics,” how is that defined?
What exactly does “college- and career-ready standards” mean?
Would those be nationally set standards to which all states must adhere?
Perhaps those questions are easy enough to answer.
One thing is certain, our educators must get back to the basics – teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. There are far too many middle and high school students these days reading and performing math far below their grade level in school.
Yes, students must be prepared for the 21st Century. Do not the basics above underscore being able to learn these skills?
Thus, while President Obama is seriously increasing funding for pre-school and early year school children, something effective must be done for current students, those graduating high school in 2011, 2012 and so on.
More importantly, in an article by The Associated Press, there was an interesting point brought up:
“Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform, a nonprofit think tank, said Obama deserves credit for seeking higher academic standards. But she said his proposal would pay states for proposing programs, not showing success.
” ‘The outcome of how well kids do is when we see graduation rates and the careers kids are going into,’ Allen said. ‘It’s not in the input side. It’s on the output’.”
The point Ms. Allen brings up is something that many people would have missed.
She is totally correct. That states merely propose programs should not be a deciding factor for anything, other than, perhaps, initital federal funding. But the results should be evident almost immediately and, thus, results should be the guiding and dominant factor.
One other point to bring up is that, per the AP article, “Obama wants to expand the federal government’s role in education, which traditionally is a state and local responsibility. His approach has been to use the federal purse as leverage to encourage states to adopt his ideas.”
The federal government is using taxpayer dollars to fund education “which traditionally is a state and local responsibility.”
Why cannot the feds simply get agreement on a national standard and let the state and local education agencies perform their job?
We do not need more oversight and regulatory bodies at the federal level, which there would have to be to ensure compliance, especially over the potentially 15,700 school districts that exist in America.
Food for thought.
Over For Now.
Main Street One