The “Rahmney” Plan For Education?
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  • Kenny

    Good teachers are vitally important to the education process.

    But the fact is that, if it is high quality people we want teaching our kids, the ones who are currently doing it for the most part are the last ones society would want.

    Education majors are at the academic bottom of the collegiate barrel. The only things these people seem to excel at, on average, is the ability to organize and to manipulate the political process for their own self-interest.

  • Anthony

    WRM, educational systems have always centered around the eventual roles of the students who attend them (thoughts upon the mode of education proper in a Republic). The specifics of schooling in 21st century require new delivery methods and your suggestions have merit; but aims of schooling (elementary/secondary) in America WRM if tied to community-centered school must underpin both public and private spheres – and finding consensus will require patience of Job. The root question is how can the public school provide all students with certain basics necessary to their common citizenship while simultaneously addressing both diversity and ability levels?

  • Yes, charter schools are a great idea and I would like to see more of them — and bigger ones with a real cafeteria style curriculum (but a required core of history, grammar, and arithmetic and elementary physical science). In particular we need more vocational classes and a wider variety of them (including a few required ones) in order to give students themselves the right to decide what is right for them, while at the same time destigmatizing manual labor and the industrial arts. Germany takes this approach and it works for them.

    But then Germany looks out for the interests of its non-college bound young people. We, out of political correctness and “racial sensitivity” pretend they don’t exists. Now that’s racism!

  • And classism too.

  • [get an edit button editors and you’ll get fewer annoying typos and better prose from me — I promise you that.]

  • Two things must happen to fix our education system.

    1. The School of Education barrier to entry must be removed. As a former Dean of the Boston College School of Education noted in an OpEd in 1984, the students at these schools are the “dregs” of the university and the “laughing stock” of the academic majors. The Education majors I knew in college had ongoing summer vacations as their highest priority in a career choice. We need our best students, not our worst. This, of course, requires higher – earned – pay and a societal recognition of value that neither can nor will accrue to unionized workers. Look at the experiences of Teach America, in which some of our very best try to teach with – and are immediately fed-up with – unionized teachers, sclerotic rules, etc. no intelligent, hardworking person willingly joins or chooses to deal with unionized workers. Unions are a relic of the Industrial Age that are fossilizing entire industries in the Information Age.

    2. Teacher unions must be outlawed. There simply is no way education can or will be improved as long as we accept them.

    Tangential to this, but critically important, is that Congress should pass legislation substantially reducing H1B visas over a twenty-year period, while at the same time providing incentives to business to involve themselves in K-12 directly. If businesses want educated workers (they do) and if they need an educated populace as consumers of ever-advanced capabilities (they do), they need to seriously involve themselves in creating the educated worker and consumer they require to prosper rather than be allowed the escape valve from their responsibility to help the society in which they want to flourish.

  • dr kill

    OK, you are naive. Well-meaning and progressive also. The problems of education in the USA are similar to all levels of government. for the past 60 years they have been run mainly as job programs for Democrat voters. Petty people on petty power trips.
    Teachers warehouse, bureaucrats restrict, and the rest of us try to have as little contact with them as possible.

  • thibaud

    This is progress: no sneers and snarls or mentions of the BSModel; Hyde-Mead has been suppressed in favor of Jekyll-Mead.

    There are large majorities to be found in support of most of the sane reform proposals, all of which recognize that good governance, not starving the government, is the key to reform.

    For good governance to occur, there needs to be compromise and collaboration between D’s and R’s. The concessions cannot all come from one side. Those who constantly slang OtherSide while refusing to give equal weight to OurSide’s excesses and abuses are not helping us move forward.

    That means specifically that the GOP has to stop insisting that “big gum’mint”, not bad governance, is the problem, and the Dems need to stop coddling their public employee union hacks.

    The number of problems that can be solved if both sides start to reach out and seek compromise is large.

    We can recover tight oil reserves – but only if the drillers are forced to adhere to strong and smart regulations on how they dispose of water, seal their casings etc. AND if the environmentalists are willing to work with the drillers.

    We can put our finances on a solid footing – but only if we reform our tax code and capture the hundreds of billions that are lost each year due to giveaways to hedgefunders and the screwy, schizoid, too-tough-while-too-porous corporate tax system AND if public pension management is made professional and transparent, as it is in Canada, Sweden and Holland.

    Many other examples, but you get the idea.

    Enough of the smirks ‘n’ sneers at OtherSide. Time to start recognizing complexity and the need for compromise.

  • Nick

    I’m not sure I understand how a teacher’s cooperative is any different than forming a corporation to run a school, or why there should be any disagreement between activists. Both options fit under allowing even for-profit education. Good teachers will be able to band together, either in a cooperative or as employees of a well-run entity. One is not the enemy of the other in any respect.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    “And while quantitative tests have an indispensable place, they cannot be the be-all and the end-all of education reform.”

    Every other worker in the world is measured by how much the produce, but teachers are supposed to have their autonomy and dignity respected? I say teachers should be paid on commission, by how much their students learn as measured by testing. The education of American children is so important to the future of our nation, that teachers which don’t teach should not only “not” be respected; they should instantly be thrown under the bus. At the moment teachers are completely unaccountable for their failure to do their job and teach the children. Despite the increase in IQ of 6 points per generation of America’s children, there has been no improvement in test scores since American teachers have become unionized. That statistic alone tells us that despite all the money being thrown at teachers unions, they are actually doing a worse job every year.

  • dr kill

    Shorter Thibaud– it’s only right that we compromise with the nice Democrat proposals. Hahahahahaha.

  • David Bennett

    One child left behind was a D and R scheme, look how that turned out.

  • Gregory

    Before speaking of “we need to unleash the creativity, enhance the autonomy and protect the dignity of teachers” it would be good to take a pause and to recall that, just like with the proverbial Bell Curve for IQ, far from everyone [teachers included] has enough creativity to speak of. The majority of people – both the students and their teachers – are not creative in any meaningful sense of the word. There is nothing to unleash there.

  • thibaud

    After Romney flames out and Obama’s re-elected, you can play ball and be part of the solution, or sulk your way into irrelevance. Your choice.

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