It’s That Time: 2015 New Year’s Resolutions for Education
I was asked by NPR to send along my predictions for education in 2015. They asked:
We are asking a wide variety of education experts about predictions for 2015. I was wondering if you had 1 or 2 predictions for next year, or outcomes or situations to watch around the country based on your research.
Here is what I sent them today.
The more things change the more things stay the same. As I have written on Cloaking Inequity, the Democrats and Republicans in power in Washington are basically the same person— an echo chamber. Barack Obama’s education platform is striking similar to what the Republican platform looked like more than twenty years ago under George H.W. Bush. On the margin there are some small differences— such as support for school vouchers— but the leaders of both parties have bought into a test and accountability system dissimilar from any other educationally high-performing nation in the world. So I suspect that with the rumored reauthorization of ESEA that we will see an anti-testing narrative, but the entire system will still be tied to testing. They will talk about teacher quality, but we will see a renewed emphasis on sending the least qualified candidates (such as Teach For America) to teach primarily poor children. They will talk about local control and will tweak accountability formulas, but the educational system will likely still be controlled in a top-down fashion instead of a bottom-up approach like California recently introduced for school finance. They will talk about turning around 1,000 schools, when in fact very few of the schools stay “turned around” because the poverty in communities and special learning needs of the students are not being addressed. In essence, our politicians will give us more of the same failed education policy in 2015 while calling it a new direction and/or reform.
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Please blame the the Republican and Democrat echo chamber for any typos.
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Nothing really good is going to happen with the schools until we have a professional teacher with classroom experience and education degrees in the White House or at least over the Department of Education. A Vice President or Secretary of State would help. This is the one area where President Obama has not done a good job, and it is largely because he drank Michelle Rhee’s Kool-Aid and didn’t know any better.
Schools in Georgia seriously improved when Zell Miller was governor. Teachers got substantial raises, the lottery started supporting specific programs and no child now goes to a ragged school in that state. Zell was no liberal and made mistakes in other areas, like having a Coroner as head of the prison system, but he was a teacher who had taught at both the K-12 and college levels and knew what he was doing in public education. America needs someone like that.