Will another great crisis go unexploited?

For some reason it seems to me that educators lack the where-with-all to seize the moment and make use a good crisis to redefine how we do business. Despite finding ourselves in the spotlight on many occasions, where demands for educational reform were prolific, we responded with ‘more of the same.’

From the launching of Sputnik by the Russians in the late 50s, to the release of the report “A Nation at Risk” in the early 80’s, to the implementation of “No Child Left Behind” under President Bush, our response has been to do MORE of the same when educational reform is being demanded. Add more time, more standards, more required classes for college admissions, more high-stakes one-shot tests, more graduation requirements…. You get the picture.

So here we are today in 2011 with an economic crisis like none we’ve seen in America since perhaps the 1920’s. Revenues from taxes continue to fall far short of meeting the demands of a system that has grown ‘fat,’ at all levels of government–local, state, and federal. Public education in Kansas and many other states has not been spared the discomfort of deep cuts and more are likely on the horizon.

Yet, through all this, the primary response from education has been to try to protect current funding. Very few educators or leaders outside of education have asked if we were to take advantage of this financial crisis and make REAL changes in the educational system, what might be possible with less money. I have long contended that many ‘educational’ decisions are made based on the need for custodial daycare.

Maybe it is time to recognize the core business of education and make decisions that support the mission with which we are charged. In our current system, time is fixed and learning is variable. What would an educational system look like if learning were the constant and time as well as delivery systems became the variables?

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About Deb

I am a lifelong educator with experience in special education, counseling and staff development. Special interests outside of my chosen career field include entrepreneurship, investing and financial literacy.
This entry was posted in Educational Finance, School Reform. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Will another great crisis go unexploited?

  1. Pingback: What's Become Clear , Archive » School change: I couldn’t have said it better … schools missing a great opportunity

  2. Country Duck says:

    It’s hard to argue with anything said here. The really sad fact is that anytime you pair an intractable bureaucracy with customers who are satisfied with the status quo or unable to afford another option, change is highly unlikely. Even with the budget cuts, many schools continue to search out every option available to conduct business as usual. When consolidation is more attractive than systemic change, the message is pretty clear. Until school choice is a viable option for all parents, the only true motivator can’t be used to encourage change.

  3. Christy Grilliot says:

    I am in the process of reading the “updated and expanded” “Hot, Flat, and Crowded” by Thomas Friedman. He discusses how many hours American students spend in school; “32.5 hours a week” compared to other countries. One could read this and think that we, America, need to add more hours, but I am worried that our present system would add more of the same. I disagree with this mantality. I also worry about our students. Are they learning how to take on responsiblity of working harder to “get the grade” or are we, teachers and parents, letting them “just get by” with the work that is done? How high and realistic are the goals of our system?
    I am involved with exchange students from around the world and it is interesting to hear what/how other countries handle education. I feel we are going to be forced to minimize our extr-curricular activities within the school system, but feel that before that happens instruction may suffer. I don’t know what the answers are. 🙂

  4. Pingback: I couldn't have said it better ... schools missing a great opportunity - Remarkable Chatter

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