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Get rid of the education bureaucracy and kids’ hearts will sing

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields the results that make our hearts sing. – Steve Jobs, founder of Apple

Steve Jobs made highly technical machines user-friendly and beautiful by blending mathematics, science, and art. More importantly, he started a wave of innovation that made products that were once only accessible to scientists and engineers readily available to the general public.

During this period of innovation, the education sector was stuck in a time warp. Most primary and secondary students today are educated in about the same way that they were in the 1980s.

Counselors continue to place students into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), humanities, and trade tracks rather than encourage a broad education. Teaching credentials are still more important than an amazing understanding of the subject and schools are still accredited by personnel from other schools rather than by the market. Also, the majority of U.S. students attend schools run by the government.

Regulations and peer review accreditations may have been necessary in the middle of the 20th Century. However, the same regulations and accrediting bodies that protected our kids then are forcing schools to operate in ways that are inconsistent with 21st Century realities. In short, this means kids are wasting years of their lives on things that no longer matter.

For education to keep pace with the times, there must be a complete paradigm shift. Instead of regulating and delaying change, we need to encourage the education sector to innovate.

To make sure new ideas make it into the education system we need to encourage more private schooling options. Then we need to urge these schools to try radical concepts and provide concrete information on what students are learning. Finally, we need to make sure all students have access to these innovative schools.

The easiest way to make all this happen is to issue education vouchers that can be used at any school and require schools to publish third party test results each year.

With this type of competition, all schools should become better. When the schools become better, our kids will be better prepared. When our kids are better prepared, the country will be more vibrant. When the country is more vibrant, the economy will be better. When the economy is stronger, everyone will be better off.

It is time to get rid of the bureaucracy and allow our schools to innovate so our kids’ hearts can sing.

 

16,000+ Events Across US Mark National School Choice Week

Education News – Raymond Scott

“In 2011, The Week, a nonprofit, nonpolitical public awareness effort, created an event to be held in January that celebrated diverse educational options — National School Choice Week (NSCW). The annual event attempts to raise public awareness about the range of educational possibilities for students, including traditional public schools, magnet schools, charter schools, online learning, private schools, and homeschooling. Over the last five years, National School Choice Week has become the world’s largest celebration of opportunity in education, with more than 16,000 events being held across all 50 states this year. The festivities officially began on Sunday, January 24th and will run through Saturday, January 30th. A useful fact sheet about the history of the holiday and events being held near you can be found on the organization’s website, and all events are independently planned by schools and participating organizations…The goal of National School Choice Week is to inform students about what kind of educational opportunities exist in their regions to assure that they are receiving the kind of education that they want and deserve.”(more)

School Choice Rally in Florida Draws Over 10,000

Education News – Kristin Decarr

“Thousands of parents and children came together in Florida’s capital in an effort to persuade the largest teacher’s union in the state to drop a lawsuit against an education voucher program that benefits low-income families. Martin Luther King III led the rally, along with religious and community leaders, arguing that the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship offers opportunities to families who may not otherwise be able to have them, and urging the Florida Education Association to cease the lawsuit they have brought against the program, reports Jim Rosica for Florida Politics. The FEA, along with other critics of the program, believe the scholarships are taking money away from the public school system in Florida.”(more)

Child obesity: what are the options?

BBC News – Staff Writer

“Around one in 10 UK children in Reception and a fifth of UK children leaving primary school are obese. A Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) report said healthy eating vouchers and after-school activities could be the answer…There is some evidence to suggest current measures are working, as the number of overweight under-10s has remained at around 30% in the last decade and could be ‘levelling off’. But they only work if people sign themselves up and motivate themselves to follow the advice and make changes.”(more)

House GOP passes D.C. private school vouchers; White House objects

The Washington Post – Lyndsey Layton

“House Republicans approved a bill Wednesday to extend the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, the only federally funded, private school voucher program for K-12 students, through 2021. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) authored the bill, which for the first time would require that some students with vouchers take the same standardized tests in math and reading administered to public school students in the District. The change would allow the federal government to compare their academic performance with that of other students…it also would add another new requirement: Participating private schools would have to be accredited within six years.”(more)

Socialistic Model for K-12 education is failing

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Is the U.S. education system following a socialistic model?

 

SOCIALISM: controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies

 

RESULTS OF SOCIALISM: poor quality, high cost, and little innovation

 

U.S. K-12 EDUCATION SYSTEM: controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies

 

U.S. K-12 EDUCATION SYSTEM RESULTS: poor academic performance relative to other countries (poor quality), second highest per student spending in the world (high cost), still using 20th Century education model in the 21st Century (little innovation)

 

Based on the definition and performance, the U.S. K-12 education system is following a socialistic model.

 

Many kids hate school. Teachers are overwhelmed with paperwork and unruly students. School districts always need more money and frequently want to lower standards.

 

The problem is curriculum, credentialing, and labor organizations are making a lot of money off the current system. As would be expected, they want to maintain the status quo. They actively support political candidates, hire lobbyists, and flood the media with studies that support their position.

 

Sadly, these organizations help ensure our kids are trapped in underperforming schools and face uncertain futures.

 

This means we need to take proactive steps to make sure our children can obtain high quality K-12 education.

 

Remove entry restrictions. Many smart people have the ability to teach. Teachers should not be required to attend accredited training programs if they already have the subject area expertise to teach the material and the skills to manage and motivate students. Schools should have the freedom to train teachers as they see fit.

 

Encourage vouchers. Parents have the right to pick the best school for their child. The competition for students will force schools to hire and keep high quality teachers and to run cost competitive programs.

 

Eliminate accreditation for schools. Most accrediting bodies use peer review to evaluate schools. This ensures everyone will remain at the same level of mediocrity.

 

Allow schools freedom. Schools need to be able to come up with innovative ways of handling advanced learners and students with learning disabilities. They also need the freedom to come up with effective, cost effective ways of delivering material, and monitoring student performance.

 

Transparency. If K-12 education is less regulated, schools will have an incentive to monitor and report student performance to attract and retain students.

 

The socialized K-12 education system in the U.S. is not working. We need to move to a freer, more student centered model.