I am pleased to see more media coverage of the topic around education reform. There was de Education Nation of the NBC, the Washington Post has its column widely read and lately the Huffington Post, where educators make their cases on this matter.
Tom Whitby, a well known educator and one of the founders to #edchat, invited teachers with an online presence to take part in a Blogging Day in which teachers would write about their views of education reform.
Tom came up with a creative name, REBEL. This word stands for Reform from Educational Bloggers Links of Educational Suggestions Deadline was Sunday, Oct. 18th. Tom and others then invited folks to share their links via a Wallwisher site, where more than 100 posts were hung on.
The Problem with the American Education
It's been decades since Sputnik pushed the education objectives to gain progress in the U.S. But despite increased spending on education per student from 1971 to 2006, and a 16:1 ratio in the classroom, this country continues in position 5 in the level of economic attention to their students. Education spending is higher in other countries like Luxembourg, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.
The problem does not end there and that's why more U.S. citizens are being called to action. Students who finish middle school leave with academic insufficiency in percentages greater than 50, and unskilled in two important areas of education: reading and mathematics.
The TIME's magazine ran a poll to ask about the current state of public education. What they found is that 67 percent of the 1,000 the magazine surveyed, accepted that public education is in crisis. While a high 90 percent are confident that still is possible to make changes in public schools that will dramatically improve student performance.
What to Do to Bring Up the Quality of Education in America
Not an easy question to be answered. The future of our kids (our sons for the families)is not certain, but nor is lost. It may come as surprise but successful schools are working on fundamentals for a progress in education: great teachers, more class time, and higher standards.
There are many involved in this change, unfortunately even when the teacher is who matters most in this arena, there are other actors that education writers, advocates and politicians forget to mention. There is the administrators, the same politicians and of course the community.
The last time we had Not Child Left Behind, now it is Race to the Top. Both initiatives now we all want to work out. However, the present government is so focused on testing, and this practice has not always a positive impact in schools. In the other hand, Secretary Duncan has blamed schools, colleges and departments of education nationwide. He thinks these academies are doing a mediocre job in preparing teachers for realities of the 21st century classroom.
That's why Waiting for Superman was filmed. The editor and film maker makes a case for charter schools as if they were the solution to the crisis. Knowingly that only 1 of 6 of these existent charter schools really outperform its traditional counterparts.
While we agree to only qualified teachers can make a difference in our schools. We also have to remember that the ethnic composition in our school is widely different and the social and economic status are parallel. At the time we look for the best teacher, we need to consider these variables, so they know what to expect and that they will be reimbursed by that job. Highly paid teachers, I meant.
As a trained professional in education I don't think the teachers unions are having a negative impact on the quality of education, as the lawyers and architects organizations do not have an impact on how you are defended on a trial or how your dreamed house is designed. The unions can't protect bad teachers, as a labor union can't guarantee a bad worker to hold his job.
Between 99 and 94 percent of the 2009 evaluations report among teachers, showed that they received a positive rating or at least were on one of the two top ratings. Still, there is a 52 percent (back in the 2007) of teachers who had a master's or higher degree, and more than 85 percent hold, at least an education degree. The force is still young, the 44 percent of teachers according to data in the 2007, is under age of 40.
This information which needs to be updated more quickly ---before we make any transition to the reform movement,--- tells me that the TFA and the TNTP are helping schools but as occurs with charity, is does not change that way of life of poor people. They wouldn't be able to change education, no even with all Gates Foundation money.
The problem with this non-profit organizations is that they are sending troops of teachers to work only for a limited time of two years. Assuming they've got success in theirs schools, who is going to continue with that line and how. Isn't that happening already with teachers who quit after their second of third year of practice?
The reform or any word that you prefer, needs to be done but do not assume a business model will succeed in school. The companies are made for money, school are for knowledge. On the 2014 the United States will need up to 1 million of new teachers. How do we get the best brains to work in schools and not only the bottom third (47 percent of new teachers body) of college graduates.
We need to raise the esteem of teachers, make their practice a professional career and not a social service. Anyone who graduates from college earns prestige. But this is not happening with teachers once deployed to schools. Opposed to physicians, for example, who after their residency period, it is the beginning of a elite career.
Government needs to fund public education in place of block flow of money asking to teachers to be evaluated in the first place, which is correct, but we can't stop curricular activities just for it. In place to compete with a minority of charter schools we should work along them to take what is working there and implement it in public schools.
All in all, teaching might be among those thankless jobs around but eventually it may lead to a great career if you work it out to do so.
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