More Educashun

I had a couple of interesting conversations about education yesterday. One was with a friend who home schooled both of his kids, and the other was with a couple of high school teachers. The one thing I took from both conversations is that it doesn’t seem like anyone is happy with the system, whether they are getting paid by it or paying into it.

So why do we keep it around? As I commented over at Meville, who is happy with it?

As is the case with most things, the answer probably lies in asking another question–who has the most to gain by keeping the status quo? That’s probably the group fighting the hardest to maintain it. I’ll leave it up to commenters to guess who that may be, but I have some ideas.

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My answer is here. All this time, and I still don’t know how to do trackbacks!

Here’s what I found:

Parents typically, and as a group, don’t give a shit.

Administrators, including the superintendent have easier jobs when there is no change.

Teachers, and their unions, want to work the exact number of minutes required in their contracts and don’t want any extra work.

Students want to be left alone to play their video games. Some of them want to have degrees from prestigious universities, but don’t want to do any work to earn them.

School board members want to have short, meaningless meetings and keep taxes down.

State boards of education want to keep their jobs and do nothing controversial.

The federal government wants to do social engineering or test politically popular educational theories, so they mandate programs, but don’t fund them.

The solution is for a super-strong parents’ group to force the system to change.

In general people fear change, especially anybody who has a stake in it (i.e., teachers, parents, administrators, politicians, and students). I think all of these groups work for the status quo, even though there are pockets of folks who cry for change, there is no real skin in the game.

Schools were at their best when the job of principal was the pinnacle of an educator’s career. At one time the principal of the school was one of the most respected positions in the community. Right up there with the pastor of the church and that guy that had been coaching little league for 20 years.

Now, the job is used as a required stop on the way to another job in the system… You get promoted by keeping the parents off the board and superintendent’s back and keep those test scores up.

So, teachers teach the test. So, our kids memorize instead of learn.

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