News Archive 2009-2018

Decorated Teachers Demonstrate How to Fix Public Schools (CNN) Archives

Invest in good teachers, teach digital literacy, stop the testing obsession-just a few suggestions from award-winning public school teachers on how to begin to fix our schools.

One thought on “Decorated Teachers Demonstrate How to Fix Public Schools (CNN)

  1. Bill

    While these teachers have some good ideas that probably can produce improved performance at the margin, no one attacks the real issue.

    As a consumer, I choose to purchase the products that offer the best value for my family from the merchants who offer the best value and convenience for me. Whether it’s groceries, an oil change, a pair of jeans or entertainment, I “vote with my dollars.” Each grocery store, department store, discount store and restaurant in my area offers a different mix of products, prices and convenience. My neighbors and I determine who stays in business and whose business fail by our individual votes with our dollars – rewarding those merchants who meet our needs and shunning those who do not.

    By contrast, as the father of four children, I must pay taxes to support a government near-monopoly on schools. If I have a child whose best interests are met outside the government-run school (as I do), I must continue to support the public school AND pay $10,000 to access an appropriate education for this child.

    In the public schools, decisions are made by political consensus (local school board) and the producers (unionized teachers). I can’t influence the content of the curriculum or the quality of the supplier by shifting my dollars elsewhere. Similarly, innovative suppliers (teachers and administrators) are hamstrung by a political process that ensures that changes like many of the ones brought forward in the article are challenged, stonewalled and isolated.

    Wouldn’t it be far better to introduce market forces into education so that consumers (parents and students) could exercise direct influence over the quality of the services offered? Wouldn’t it make sense to free suppliers from the shackles of the political process and allow them to organize educational offerings in a manner that moves us from a mid-19th century model into a dynamic 21st century model that incorporates technology, what we now know about adolescent brains, the latest developments in psychology and the individual needs of vastly different students?

    As long as we have a system of forced societal payments to a production system that has a captive audience and thus little reason to innovate, to change, to challenge orthodoxy, to incorporate new knowledge and methods and to truly meet the needs of individual consumers, we’re not going to see much innovation in elementary and secondary education. And what little innovation we see will be conservative and marginal – and directed at the market generally rather than at specific consumers.

    These decorated teachers have some good ideas. It’s too bad that they – unlike their friends and neighbors who have good, innovative ideas for bring forth new products and services to the market – cannot start their own schools or educational programs and compete on a level playing field with the entrenched government-protected supplier.

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