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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The NY Times discusses the Federal Governments role in education. My favorite quote comes from the end of the article : “Since decades of research it clear that what matters for evaluating employees or turning around schools is how well you do it — rather than whether you do it a certain way — it’s not surprising that well-intentioned demands for “bold” federal action on school improvement have a history of misfiring.”

Not surprisingly to those of us who are successful in life. We do better when we have a buy in to the system. That is why volunteer organizations charge you to be a part of them and Fraternities charge fees for friendship. If you have no personal buy in to the system you will just ignore it or at best put it low on your priority list.

The #1 reason public school is failing is because the government has told parents we don’t need your buy in to succeed. How do I know this? Ask any teacher about her parent conferences. The federal system takes decisions of education even farther away from the source. Thus crushing parental responsibility.

Beyond this list, the federal government is simply not well situated to make schools and teachers improve — no matter how much ambitious reformers wish it were otherwise. Under our system, dictates from Congress turn into gobbledygook as they travel from the Education Department to state education agencies and then to local school districts. Educators end up caught in a morass of prescriptions and prohibitions, bled of the initiative and energy that characterize effective schools.

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