Jeb Bush, with cash and clout, pushes contentious school reforms

Discussion in 'Politics' started by gwb-trading, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. Jeb Bush, with cash and clout, pushes contentious school reforms

    (Reuters) - Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush soared to rock star status in the education world on the strength of a chart.

    A simple graph, it tracked fourth-grade reading scores. In 1998, when Bush was elected governor, Florida kids scored far below the national average. By the end of his second term, in 2007, they were far ahead, with especially impressive gains for low-income and minority students.

    Those results earned Bush bipartisan acclaim. As he convenes a star-studded policy summit this week in Washington, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential education reformers in the U.S. Elements of his agenda have been adopted in 36 states, from Maine to Mississippi, North Carolina to New Mexico.

    Many of his admirers cite Bush's success in Florida as reason enough to get behind him.
  2. Lucrum


    Will the teachers unions and dept. of "Education" get out of the way of any real reform?
  3. I have multiple family members who are K-12 educators and I regularly get feedback about the challenges facing our public schools.

    In order to improve the performance of our school systems in educating our children, I believe that it is critical to drive the following eight key initiatives:

    1) Increase technology utilization in the classroom. Students are growing up in a world where technology is used in every aspect of the workplace. Using laptops and other devices in the classroom allows students to become independent learners and researchers, enables teachers to “flip the classroom”, and prepares students to be successful in their future careers. The issue is that many older teachers are uncomfortable with technology and school systems will need to set aside funds to train these experienced, capable (but technology lacking) teachers on how to use technology in the classroom.

    2) Implement STEM education in the classroom. By this I do not mean simply adding a few extra math and science courses, and then declaring that the school is a “STEM” school. True STEM education requires an interdisciplinary approach across all the subject areas with team projects. In many ways the “educational establishment” does not support true STEM because it is hard and requires new approaches.

    3) Increase teacher starting pay and only provide performance-based pay raises. There are two reasons to increase teacher starting pay (at least in North Carolina). First, the surrounding states provide higher starting pay and we are losing our top graduates (e.g. Teaching Fellows) to neighboring states. The second is to provide starting pay at a level that will draw more qualified teachers into the profession. However it is time to focus on pay for performance in the public school systems and do away with the automatic pay raises every year. We do not get automatic pay raises in the private sector, you must earn them. It is time to put the same practice in place in the public school systems. Of course the “educational establishment” is opposed to this – they rather have every single teacher get the same exact raise every single year no matter how poor their performance.

    4) Provide proper performance feedback. The performance feedback in most school systems is a joke. This is because the performance reviews do not impact compensation. Every teacher gets the same pay raise not matter what their review says. Therefore many administrators spend 20 minutes at most filling out performance paperwork. Administrators in school systems must have the managerial competency to properly evaluate a teacher’s classroom performance on a set of factors (not only end of year test grades) and give feedback to improve performance. This also should align with a pay for performance standard.

    5) Focus money and resources on student facing personnel. Most public school systems have large bloated central office infrastructures full of bureaucrats who never see a student. It is time to trim the fat and put the money into the schools. The school system I grew up in had a mere dozen people in the central office. I fail to see why school systems of the same size today require several hundred.

    6) Increase Charter Schools. For the most part, Charter Schools have been very successful across the U.S.; generally when comparing similar racial demographic groups charter schools have outperformed local public schools in test scores and education. There are many charter schools in the top 100 schools in the U.S.; one example near us is Raleigh Charter. There are no public K-12 schools in Wake County near Raleigh anywhere in the top 250 schools in the U.S.

    7) Add more Academies. Academies are public schools which have a smaller number of students and usually smaller class sizes. Academies are usually settings that try to drive new educational concepts (e.g. STEM) and borrow some of the most successful practices of charter schools. School systems should work to increase the number of academies.

    8) Address the under-performing school problem with teacher incentives. Few teachers want to teach at the underperforming Title 1 school with high poverty on the wrong side of the tracks. Most teachers want to teach at the high performing school with the wealthy supporting parents on the right side of the tracks. Due to this there is a tendency for the best teachers to migrate to the good schools; there is a need to get outstanding teachers to underperforming schools. One way of doing this is to provide incentive pay for the best teachers to educate in underperforming schools for a set period of time. The key words are “for a set period of time”; most teachers do not want to be stuck in a difficult school forever. However if you tell them if they agree to teach in the underperforming school for 5 years and pay a financial payout at the end of the 5 years then some of the best teachers would step forward.

    There are two education reform related items that cause some concern:

    The first is vouchers; I am generally supportive of the voucher concept. However I have not seen any evidence yet that vouchers improve education. I believe it is more important to address the eight points above first before driving voucher programs.

    The second is the proliferation of for-profit, online K-12 schools that have been providing politicians with all sorts of money to push their agenda. I believe that online education is great when used as a supplement to classroom education. For example the Khan Academy ( ) is a great free resource used by many teachers. I expect that school systems will continue to increase online lesson plans, video, and lectures. However the concept of a totally online K-12 school with no classroom pushed by these for-profit education companies is absurd. These companies may have a place as a supplement to the classroom, but not as a 100% replacement.
  4. Ugh
    And the Bush campaign for 2016 begins.
    Most of the stupid rednecks will vote for his dumbass too.
  5. Lucrum


    "Optional"? As in intelligence is optional?
  6. You overlook the reason public schools suck so badly now, compared to 30 or 40 years ago. In most low performing districts, you have large numbers of minorities who don't value education. There is no support at home for the kids, no expectations of academic success and no acceptance from parents that their kids have to behave in school. Doing well in school is actually derided as "acting white."

    Furthermore, I doubt most public school teachers could have gotten teaching jobs 30 years ago. We see the horror stories daily of illiterate drones who spend most of their time pushing leftwing indoctrination when they aren't at union meetings. Why we would want to raise their salaries escapes me.

    Plemty of idealistic teachers quit the profession, not because of salaries, but because they don't want to work in an environment in which hulking thugs can curse and threaten them in class with no consequences, where administrators draw big salaries for makework jobs and where parents don't appreciate them and resort to lawsuits at the drop of a hat.