professornana (professornana) wrote,


Education has latinate roots. It means to lead out of. I always thought of it as leading out of ignorance. However, when some people see the word education, they see something different. I am listening to a speech by one of the candidates about education (well, when it is not about his opponent and jobs and other topics because, you know, education is not that important as a focus), these are the terms that give me pause:

1. COMPETITION-this is a word that, frankly, never needs to be used in education. Putting schools in competition for students? Sounds like a bidding war for a prize athlete. Why put one school out of business (and note that phrase is business-oriented and not about the kids)? Why pit kids or parents or schools or teachers against one another?

2. MERIT PAY-I work in a system where pay increases are merit. We compete for our little slice of pie. Whose vita is longer? Who has brought in more grants? How many articles? Presentations? There's more. I respect my colleagues; many of them are friends. But when it comes to salary increases? I hate being in competition. We all work hard. And the criteria against which we will measure teachers. Test scores? That would be my guess. And that is a disaster.

3. CHOICE-instead of taking $$$ from Peter to pay Paul, why not infuse all schools with the funding it needs to provide a safe and effective learning environment. Choice also leaves some aspects unanswered. Transportation strikes me as something that is seldom considered. The former residents of the back bedroom spent 30+ minutes each morning and each afternoon getting to and from school. What if I elected a school in a neighboring district? How would they get to and from school?

The other part of this speech about policy that bothers me is the casual slinging around of "facts" about the costs per pupil in the US. Facts about how we compare to other countries? Facts about how we can "save" monies.

And then there is the whipping horse: CCSS being called a federal program of education.

I do not know who the education advisors are for this candidate. I see no one listed at the web site where all the other advisors are located. I hope the advisors include more than his son, a product of private schools, who demeans public education.

Why does this matter? To paraphrase a former President's slogan: "It's the education, stupid."

Tags: education, idiocy, policy

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