Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Spending on Schools

Today's Rick Green column is worth your time. Rick's main question is whether or not Connecticut gets a reasonable return on investment when it comes to education dollars and he argues that we need to be sure that we are funding quality programs.

In his column he advocates;
If they're going to jump on the billions-for-schools express, perhaps Gov. Rell and the legislature could also include some less expensive - but controversial - reforms. They should:

Allow parents in failing schools to leave for another public school, immediately.

Demand merit pay for teachers who succeed.

Make it easier to open experimental model schools.

Recruit non-educators to fill critical shortages in school administration.

Create a simple report card with a letter grade for all public schools.

Actually close schools that fail.
I want to simply talk about one of his suggestions and that is to make it easier to open experimental schools. Let me revise that to say, "make it easier to create experimental schools". I strongly believe that what Rick is writing about is a national meltdown in education primarily fueled by NCLB legislation and constraints.

E.O. Smith is not a failing school and will never be but NCLB educational practices are preventing it from becoming a place where our population can learn and grow and stay technologically fit. NCLB's Little House on the Prairie pedagogy is turning this country into a nation of peasant learners while technology, innovation, and creative educational avenues can not even be considered. As a Board we are fighting to upgrade classrooms with smart-boards and other technologies that will bring our students up to what they experience in their basements at home - interactive environments.

Our students [and this applies to all of Connecticut] should all have their own laptop computer. The school is wired. The students and teachers are begging for them yet E.O. Smith cannot break loose of the educational pox of NCLB.

We would be far better off as an independent experimental, innovative high school than an American public high school. How sad is that? Every school district should have every option available to improve schools at its disposal not just the toxic and terminal NCLB prescriptions.

The reality is that the Bush administration and his neo-con henchmen have succeeded in destroying public schools. The administrative bullet to the head that all public schools in America are dying from is called No Child Left Behind. Until it is rescinded we continue down the path of wasted money, lives, and opportunities.

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