CO Gov Ritter heralds reform ideaZzzzzz. Laudable goals (double college rate, halve high school dropout rate), lame tactics that can’t possibly achieve those goals. Status quo plus a couple guidance counselors, pinch of pre-K, and full day K. Sure, um, raising a kid’s hours in schools from 12,500 lifetime to 13,000….that 4% increase will lead to 100% improvement in outcomes.
Govs with more urgency/backbone might check out a May 2007 (pdf) Brookings paper by Hugh Price, former Urban League president. He’s speaking at Princeton on Monday and has ideas about your National Guard units and K-12…
The Price paper gotten zero attention in the education press and blogosphere, but poses a really important question….”Demilitarizing What the Pentagon Knows About Developing Young People: A New Paradigm for Educating Students Who Are Struggling in School and in Life.”
“Why focus on the military? The United States military enjoys a well-deserved reputation for its ability to reach, teach, and develop young people who are rudderless, and for setting the pace among American institutions in advancing minorities.”
In fact, is there any other non-religious organization that transforms people on such a large scale? Okay, one other.
Price is understated and the paper’s scope is modest. Still, it seems like he’s trying to raise the question and get other thinkers engaged, begin a conversation. I, for example, have different views on what applicable lessons are (read Making The (Marine) Corps and think about how Ed Schools might be different).
But I think Price is really onto something: there should be 100 thinkers working on this one question. We love to compare K-12 to medicine (flattering to our profession), and we fear comparisons to military (easy to be mocked in “How Dare You” mode by loud peacenik types).
The Achievement Gap business is really about student transformation as much as “teaching and learning,” yet we generally refuse to closely examine the people who’ve achieved transformation results in other sectors.
-Guestblogger Mike Goldstein