'll just add, first, that I'm in sympathy with Left Coast Rebel's sentiments on the Obama plan: "It will just be more centralization and federal control when the educational system needs the opposite - more local control and privatization." But second, I'm also concerned that even the best privatization and voucher programs will leave the disadvantaged with continued struggles (see another essay on that from Dianne Ravitch, today at LAT) -- and more, I'm skeptical that Obama's even serious about the schools; and mostly, I see society's larger cultural collapse as an enormity that the schools alone can't handle. Increasing wireless communications in the classroom, combined with a gangsta-loving anti-intellectualism among large numbers of kids, makes holding student attention nearly impossible nowadays. I don't have the answers, obviously. But any effort to increase local control has to be tied with a fundamental rethinking of the role of families in education. How do you get administrators, teachers, parents, and kids on the same page?
McCain pulled his kids out of school and home schooled them, and has a damn good reason why:
t’s the system.
The American public education system is built on false premises, and has become an ossified bureaucratic mess by decades of accretions — accumulated layers of “reforms” that were intended to patch this or that observable problem. None of these “reforms,” however, contemplated the possibility that the structure of the system itself (i.e., the provision of “free” education by the government on the basis of residency in a particular school district) was the essential problem.
There has been no general improvement in academic results because this system is inherently closed and limited. There is no choice and no flexibility because the structures of the system prevent such things and, realistically, these structures cannot be reformed in any meaningful way. The system is what it is, and so long as it exists, the problems are what they are.
There is only one ”reform” that works: Get your kids out of the system.
The one real grief my parents have about my upbringing is that they left me in a publik skool. I often wonder just how different my life would have been had I stayed in private schools while growing up. Or Catholic schools. Or charter schools. Basically any school other than the feral hellhole I spent my formative years in.
Meh. Go read both links, and if you have kids, make plans to pull them out of the publik skool sistim as soon as possible.