Everyone who has a child, has had a child, plans to have a child, or knows a child, has some ideas about how to change, improve, enhance, empower, and revolutionize education. And every few years a group of people who make far too much money get together, make a list of their favorite ideas, and make them into a law that is frankly a waste of my time and yours. Oh, and a BIG waste of our money.
I don’t even have to read the current one (although I have) to know that it will fail. I don’t have to read it to know that it will require a lot of compromises that will only be achieved after major meetings and arguing. I don’t have to read it to know that the implementation of it will require training and cost money. I don’t have to read it to know that it will require pages and pages of paperwork. I don’t have to read it to know that when the dust clears the only ones to benefit from it will be the ones who created it and the ones who suffer will be our children.
Why am I so confident that it will fail? Because it is replacing the last miracle reform created by the same process!!!
Two statements from the bill itself make that very clear:
“The bill ends the federal test-based accountability system of No Child Left Behind…”
“Affirms state control over standards – The bill affirms that states decide what academic standards they will adopt, without interference from Washington. The federal government may not mandate or incentivize states to adopt or maintain any particular set of standards, including Common Core. States will be free to decide what academic standards they will maintain in their states.”
Doesn’t that last part sound wonderful? No! It makes me want to slap someone…someone very far up the power chain. Because I know people and I know the process. “Free to decide” means arguing, changing, more arguing, more changing. I can barely count the number of times Oklahoma has changed curriculum standards in just the past twenty years.
Years ago I sat through a series of meetings designed to train teachers in the “latest, best” method of teaching reading. Our district (not my current one) had adopted the new program and was absolutely convinced that it would empower teachers and improve student test scores. It had national recognition and had received glowing testimonies from other districts. It cost us over $50,000 and lasted one year. Go back and read that again.
Unfortunately that sort of thing is standard protocol in education. Something new comes along. Money, time, and effort are spent on implementing it. It isn’t the miracle cure for what ails education. The next “best thing” comes along. Everyone changes programs. Repeat.
If you stop for a moment and consider the basis for all of this you should be appalled by our failure as a nation to meet the needs of our children. One of the goals of the new bill, and EVERY bill before it, is: “Helps states improve low-performing schools.” That means that despite years and years and years of innovation and improvement and change and new laws, “low-performing schools” still exist! That alone should tell us that something is wrong with the process.
Okay…off the soapbox…but just because I’m out of time for the morning. Off to school to try to make a difference in my own classroom.