The Education Revolution America Needs

Eugene Hickok:

Even if Secretary Spellings were right that NCLB is 99.9% pure, it still would not be the formula for what ails American education.
The current debate over NCLB overlooks a critical problem: Nothing the administration does under NCLB will ensure the law’s promise that every child will be proficient in reading and math by 2014. For reasons unrelated to the law’s merit, NCLB is simply not up to the task. Something far more profound and transformative must happen for American education to offer every child the opportunity to succeed.
The deeper problem is the existing institutional architecture of American public education. No Child Left Behind erects an accountability system atop the status quo and requires states to provide families with options when schools fail. But public education governance, structure, finance, management and politics remain intact.
Here is the heart of the problem: American public education — because of the way it is structured, administered, funded and understood by parents, teachers, administrators and taxpayers — is incapable of delivering on the promises of NCLB. The root of the problem isn’t in the law; it’s in the American education system. It can’t get there from here.

2 thoughts on “The Education Revolution America Needs”

  1. “With freedom, families could decide how best to educate their children… Responsibility would begin at home; parents would have the power to determine whether their children are receiving a quality education… Gradually, families might begin to take back ownership of their children’s education.”
    Would someone please explain to me what these statements mean? Not just theoretically, but in practice. This is not a rhetorical question, I really want to try to understand what this alternative vision offers, for all the different types of kids our schools are challenged to educate.

  2. The WI Constitution, Article X, is about education and the state’s responsibility –
    Parents have the freedom to decide how best to educate their children, yet they may not have the financial ability to choose among all the educational options available. The following comment does not include discussion of issues re school choice and charter schools – simply share the cornerstone WI Constituion.
    The governments of the State of WI, towns and cities, are guided by the WI Constitution, Article X, on education and have a constitutional responsibility to financially support non-sectarian, “uniform” district schools.
    SECTION 3. [District schools; tuition; sectarian instruction; released time.] The legislature shall provide by law for the establishment of district schools, which shall be as nearly uniform as practicable; and such schools shall be free and without charge for tuition to all children between the ages of 4 and 20 years; and no sectarian instruction shall be allowed therein; but the legislature by law may, for the purpose of religious instruction outside the district schools, authorize the release of students during regular school hours.
    SECTION 4. [Annual school tax.] Each town and city shall be required to raise by tax, annually, for the support of common schools therein, a sum not less than one-half the amount received by such town or city respectively for school purposes from the income of the school fund.
    SECTION 5. [Income of school fund.] Provision shall be made by law for the distribution of the income of the school fund among the several towns and cities of the state for the support of common schools therein, in some just proportion to the number of children and youth resident therein between the ages of four and twenty years, and no appropriation shall be made from the school fund to any city or town for the year in which said city or town shall fail to raise such tax; nor to any school district for the year in which a school shall not be maintained at least three months.

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