A new Council on Foreign Relations task force report says failing American schools threaten national security. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, task force co-chair, remarked that "Educational failure puts the United States' future economic prosperity, global position and physical safety at risk."
While I don't disagree, I'm a lot more worried about damage done by Obamian apology tours and Medvedevian "flexibility" fiascos. We need to keep a wire on this guy at all times.
Lay off of school teachers. They're teaching as fast as they can.
The U.S. spends in excess of $20 billion on non-military foreign aid. We spend double that of the UK and China is nowhere in the top 10. I'd like to see those dollars in our classrooms if U.S. Education Secretary Duncan is serious about investing in education.
Find a way; make it work and stop telling teachers to do more with less. There's nothing left.
The classroom teacher is the single greatest educational influence on American students. They are the greatest resource for turning student achievement around. Every decision made in school systems should be vetted through one question: Does this support classrooms and student achievement?
Rice's task force opines that human capital determines power and that "large, undereducated swaths of the population damage the ability of the United States to physically defend itself, protect its secure information, conduct diplomacy and grow its economy."
Again, I don't disagree, but given the recent Medvedev debacle, I'm a lot more worried about Obama failing to protect secure information than undereducated swaths.
By April 1, the U.S. had the highest corporate tax rate in the world. This bipartisan blunder robs America of leverage on gas, oil and small and large business. Corporations continue to leave the mainland, taking Research & Development (R&D) and science and math graduates with them.
Classroom teachers know how to build human capital. I like the idea of a common core curriculum, but schools must give teachers individual and collaborative planning time for this to work. We have done "reform" before and still lag behind developed nations.
A three-year study of the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds in 70 countries by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranked the U.S. 14th in reading, 17th in science and a below-average 25th in math.
On a scale up to 1,000, the U.S. received scores of 500 in reading, 502 in science and 487 in math. Post-Sputnik accountability, standards, Outcomes Based Education and their ilk formulated to steal classrooms from teachers have failed.
Until we get serious about supporting teachers and classrooms by removing disruptive students, giving teachers uninterrupted time to plan, collaborate, debate best practices and implement a common core, the US will continue to lag as R & D, pushed off shore, takes away the very graduates we need to keep home.
This time around something must be different, or nothing will be. Starving public schools and shipping $20-plus billion overseas isn't working, and I'm not apologizing to anyone.
Jeff Meadors represents District 1 on the Newton County Board of Education. He may be reached at Jeffrey.firstname.lastname@example.org.