Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Washington is Leaving Our Kids Behind

In the old North State, education is king., It is an issue that affects all levels of government. It never seems to be resolved or fixed. There is always something wrong. It could be that way because as government has grown, so has it's role in education. Have you ever noticed that when government gets involved in something, it always leaves it worse than it found it? Education is a black hole. Billions of dollars are spent on it with nothing to show for it. What can we do about it?
The first thing we need to do is get rid of No Child Left Behind. As is Washington's way, a bill is named for a cause and does the opposite. Millions of children are left behind everyday. They are lacking proficiency in Math, Science, and Reading skills. I thought that the goal of No Child Left Behind was to stop this slide? Instead the problem is much worse.
Teachers are teaching to a test. They are compensated based on a test score and not if the child is actually learning. The children spend most of the year studying for multiple tests outside of their everyday curriculum only to fall behind our international competition. What is the solution?

1. When the vote for No Child Left Behind comes up early this year, kill it. We need Republicans in the House and the Senate to stand strong and vote to not reauthorize. We may even find some moderate, red state democrats to vote with us as well.
2. No more holding states money hostage in exchange for Common Core standards. Under the current system, Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan can issue a waiver to a state who is not up to snuff according to the benchmarks in NCLB. In exchange for the waiver and not having to pay million in fees, the state simply has to adopt Common Core as their curriculum. By ending NCLB, we would end the need for waiver and penalties. States could opt out and pursue their own curriculums without penalty.
3. Start using block grants. By block granting the money to the states, it gives our Governor's and Legislator's money free from the web of DC. It allows states, like NC, to not accept the watered down, incoherent standards of Common Core and issue better localized standards. I'm sure the Feds in Washington mean well, but I think Ed Dennison, and Moore County School Board should have more say.

We need to change. We need to stop trying to outsmart ourselves. I went to a small Christian school in Southern Pines, NC. It was a religious based school and it was not fancy. The only kind of smart board we had is if you wrote the word smart on there. We had one room dedicated to keyboarding and the computers we had were not IMac's. I say this not to whine but to enlighten. I would wager to say that the SAT scores of Calvary Christian School, and other private schools like it in Moore County were far superior to out public school counterparts. Why? Because at our school you taught a curriculum that had nothing to do with a test. In schools nowadays you have students with IPads and laptops but I would rather have that old chalk board in my science teachers class than the Surface I am writing this post with. I learned about the subjects. I worked on them, and was a tested on them. I didn't need a ton of standardized tests. My teachers knew how I was progressing by the quality of my daily work and the cumulative tests on the material.
I can remember taking one SAT at the end of the year. That test was a guide. A barometer of how well the curriculum we used worked. It was not a test our teachers were compensated for. It was not a test we prepared for or were taught to. The real mark of whether you passed or not was your report card. The report card was based on your homework, your tests, your mid and end of year exams. If you had an F or a D average you did not pass. There was no t-ball, everybody wins mentality. You either passed on because you earned it or you didn't. We need more of that simplicity in public schools.
The best way to fix our schools is to get Washington as far away from it as possible. Lets get rid of No Child Left Behind. Lets stop the bullying by our Federal government . Lets get teachers back to doing what they do best, teaching. We can fix our education system. It doesn't take a bunch of Washington Bureaucrats to do it. Actually it would be better if they stopped. We just need to go back to what was working before Washington butted it's nose in.


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