Back to the Basics to Fix Education?

Sen. Steve Fischmann had an interesting piece in the paper today on education. The basic point is that there are too many people and entities with policy making power, there are too many standardized tests, and education dollars are not being spent wisely.

These are nice ideas, but our schools are not designed to effectively educate children. They’re socialistic in nature and seem to exist for the benefit of the teachers’ unions and bureaucrats. Fischmann’s fixes, absent serious structural reforms, will not be implemented and the system will continue to founder, failing thousands of New Mexico students at the same time.

We do have a model for success that has resulted in serious educational improvement, but Fischmann (and the rest of the Legislature, for that matter) are not seriously considering systematic reform.

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4 Replies to “Back to the Basics to Fix Education?”

    1. The following information on what Florida did to achieve those results is included in the presentation, but I’ve cut and pasted here:

      The Florida K-12 Reforms:

      Parental Choice- the nation’s largest voucher program (McKay Scholarships), largest private school tax credit program (Step Up for Students). The nation’s sixth strongest charter school law, with 379 charter schools educating over 100,000 students. Florida is also a national leader in virtual schooling.

      Solid state standards and a state accountability exam which has not been made easier to pass over time.

      Real consequences for prolonged school failure in the A+ Opportunity Scholarship program.

      Alternative Teacher Certification- the nation’s leader, Florida now hires approximately half of all new teachers from alternative certification routes. The percentage of teachers who are Hispanic or African American increased, test scores are up.

      Social promotion ban -Beginning in 2003, Florida put in place a social promotion ban for students not learning basic literacy skills by the end of the third grade. Since inception, the percentage of children scoring low enough to be retained has dropped by 40%.

      Just Read Florida -Florida lawmakers revamped early childhood literacy curriculum and instruction.

  1. I found this article interesting and would be interested in comment:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-oped-0415-chapman-20100415,0,7825146.column

    Per Stephen Chapman, vouchers have not been a panacea. My take would be that until education is taken from the hands (or claws) or the government, there will be no improvement. Vouchers, charter schools, and national standards are just ways of rearranging the problem. The problem is that government with its intrinsic bureaucracy, inefficiencies, and politics will ruin education in any environment.

    1. Chris,

      I agree with you. Vouchers are not a panacea. They are not a truly “free market” solution any more than those other vouchers called food stamps are 100% free market. The difference is that vouchers of any kind are more market oriented insofar as the money follows the consumers, not the bureaucracies. This is far superior to funding schools — or the government owning farms and grocery stores in the food stamp example — directly through taxes.

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