A Nation At Tisk?

What’s more interesting, the new report on American education from the Council on Foreign Relations or all the after-action sniping and scolding?

But, how do you put some of this data in positive and affirming light? Eg –  40 percent of minority kids don’t finish high school on time.  Are you a hopeless naysayer because you’re not patting people on the back for the 60 percent that do?

11 Replies to “A Nation At Tisk?”

  1. Let’s see, what do we have here? Ah, a piece of work led by who? Joel Klein and Condolezza Rice. Both of them, failures at their previous jobs. What could go wrong with their analysis and recommendations?

    Yep. Just about all of it.

  2. Yes, this report says it all. Our country has such a poor regard for the education of children that anyone can, and is, considered an expert if he or she has enough money and success in other areas. Pretend that these same people write a report on improving medical treatment in the U.S. and you have a good insight into why our educational system is less than stellar.

    Do you want to see a better educational system in our country? Well, let’s start with those who know something about the subject.

    This report might not give us clues as to how to improve education but it gives us a good idea about why we DON’T improve.

  3. From Huff&Puf:
    Jennings also accused the commission of “cherry-picking data” to make its points. For example, when the report describes the success of the Washington, D.C. voucher program, Jennings said, it ignores research disparaging the program’s effects. “It’s Joel Klein beating the same old drums in a different forum.”
    What else is to be expected from a man who works for an organization that took advantage of a dead child and tormented her parents.

  4. Eg – 40 percent of minority kids don’t finish high school on time.
    How about the schools that have a mobility rate of 40% and don’t make AYP?
    How about the public schools who have to keep a 5th grader in class after the child tells the teacher that they don’t have to listen to the teacher’s shit and that the teacher can’t tell the child what the fuck to do?

  5. Phillip,

    As a former 5th grade teacher at a low-income public school, I can unequivocally state that not one of my almost 200 students ever came close to the comment you said above.

    I would recommend that you stop cherry picking rare occasions of student/parent disrespect as representative of the whole. If this occurred on a more frequent basis, I would imagine the teacher needs a 101 course on how to interact with kids and get parents invested (the vast, vast majority of which want to).

  6. SInce we seem to be on the “get tough” Marine corps model of edu-reform let’s try this direction.

    Until the edu-reformers sign their names to their ideas, and until the reformer put some skin in the game, they are banned from the debate.

    What marks this entire debacle is the lack of accountability for our edu-leadership.

    They are the carpet baggers of the industry.

    Education is now an INDUSTRY. And the ONLY accountable party is the teacher.

    This cannot work in any business.

    Until we hold our edu-leaders accountable for measurable student learning gains, and not some encomiums about lazy teachers, we will go nowhere.

    Just a fact: Education spending nationwide has exploded in the past 13 years as the reform movement has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry.

    The learning gains from these reform efforts have been at best miniscule. All that money spent and nothing to show for it.

    That means an ROI that would make shareholders behead the CEO.

    Think about it. We have a massive system of anonymous, reckless, loudmouthed reformers who are not accountable for a thing they say or do with taxpayer money.

    It is a great career.

    One thing is certain in the edu-debate. The tide will turn and the reformers will disappear.

  7. Well-said Bill. Maybe it’s time to call these self-appointed arbiters of reform what they really are: edu-grifters.

  8. The tenure debate.

    After much searching on the internet I could not find ONE website or think tank that either supports tenure reform at the university level or has a funded chair position for the study of professor reform.

    A few undeniable facts before I make my recommendations:

    1. Professors in California are given very high pay, very generous benefits, and often live in the most exclusive enclaves. In Santa Barbara, many of the professors live in Hope Ranch.

    2. Professors are removed from the public, often teaching and working in complete anonymity. Parents are unable to reach them, or talk to them, or discuss student progress with them.

    3. Professors hold NO accountability for student outcomes. Whether it be job outcomes, future earnings, or success as a teacher, the professor is entirely removed from any metric that measures their effectiveness in the value chain of education.

    4. Professors often receive independent funding that works completely at odds with student learning outcomes. In fact, they are often taxpayer subsidized researchers for private industry even though taxpayers still fund most of the university system.

    5. Professors are the most powerful determinant in the success of a public school teacher and thus the future of this country and its national security profile, teenage pregnancy, future poverty levels, and the growth rate of GDP and most important of all, the likelihood that our nation will survive.

    6. The think tanks are staffed by tenured professors pulling double duty and double pay all at taxpayer expense. They ear a govt. paycheck and earn a paycheck from a non-profit. When do they have time to reach ALL students? I have heard professors call their teaching “pro bono” work. How obscene.

    7. The flunk out rate from the UC system and Stanford is now approaching 1 in 2. How does that serve our student population?

    8. The professors, even the edu-reformers, are represented by the AAUP, the most powerful education union in the nation. The AAUP is the gatekeeper to future opportunity for our most deserving students, and through their outrageous demands they EXCLUDE MOST OF OUR STUDENT POPULATION.

    My recommendations:

    1. Tenure reform in California MUST include ALL private and public universities. Of course the argument will be made that private universities must be left alone by the government. Without doubt, these institutions receive the benefit of federal dollars, infrastructure, environment, and the public schools for potential clients. Their tuition determines the quality and education level of our work force and does exclude many worthy students who cannot afford the sky high tuition due to AAUP union demands.

    2. Any and all laws passed for public school teachers must apply to any and all professors at the university level.

    3. The ONLY exception should be in the sciences where the process of innovation is stop and start and may take decades.

    4. The rest of the disciplines at the university system must be employment at will with no job protections or guarantees.

    5. All due process procedures that make getting rid of expensive, old professors must be removed by LAW.

    The universities educate our leaders, our teachers, and our innovators. We need the best, and the tenure system for professors guarantees we keep only the lazy, risk averse, and non-motivated.

    It is time for change and any change must ALWAYS start at the top.

    This is tongue in cheek, but it does raise one serious concern. Our sub-par teachers were educated at some of this nation’s BEST universities, Stanford included.

    So, what do we do?

  9. Ms. Hoxby, a leading edu-reformer at Stanford, along with her husband Eric Hanushek, are members of the AAUP and have life time tenure.

    Why is that necessary? How do we know they are adding value? What are their student outcomes?

    If they are great academics, do they need the protection of tenure?

    I would appreciate an answer from them, but I guarantee they will say nothing or provide a snarky, elitist answer.

    Please understand that the value professors add to our society is seriously in question.

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