Thursday, June 17, 2010

School Reform

School reform is a tired phrase that we hear over and over again. Reform the curriculum, change the name of "special education" to "student success," or even update the building, hire a new position, etc. all in the name of school reform. Where has all this school reform gotten us? Back to where we started.

Today a good friend and retired special education teacher brought this article to my attention, "End Them, Don't Mend Them." She was unsure if they went a little too far in the article, but then realized that we had been talking about this exact thing for the last 4 weeks.

P.J. O'Rourke makes a good case and his use of humor through use of wild exaggerations gets his point across while still evoking a chuckle at the expense of the reality of the situation. Humor aside, he does have a good point with regards to our current state of education and the whole reform movement.

Look at how much money the school spends per pupil; U.S. Average of $9,683 per pupil according to National Center for Education Statistics. If you are like me, you think "Wow, there is plenty of money going to education." Yet, our students are still not performing as well as we feel they should. That leads to the question of where is all the money going? I direct you once again to the article "End Them, Don't Mend Them," because he shows you that the money going to administration is draining away the money that should be going to our kids in the classroom. How do I know this to be true? Check out this website put together by teachers in the Boulder Vally School District, They found that the local school district is increasing administration pay while student enrollment increases and the number of teachers is staying flat. When it hits you locally, the truth hurts.

Now what do we do? How do we really reform the schools? Honestly, I don't know that we can reform the system we currently have and I am of like mind with Mr. O'Rourke and Sharron Angle of Nevada that perhaps it is time to eliminate the current system of a "one size fits all" attitude and get back to community based education instead.


  1. Diane Ravitch's book "Left Back A Century of Battles over School Reform" is scary and depressing. It shows how the "experts" keep trying to improve public education, but almost always end up making things worst.

    I've gotten to the point where I don't think government schools can be "fixed." There isn't any magic reform that will make it possible for the vast majority of students to get a great education.

  2. Henry,

    I tend to agree. At first I thought perhaps we could reform the current system. But as I do more research and hear the research some friends of mine have come up with, I get disheartened. I too have finally come to the point that we need to start from the bottom up. That means starting over which of course is a difficult thing because so many people are resistant to change.