Friday, March 4, 2011

The Gospel on Education

More good news about reforming schools.

President Obama is visiting a Miami school that has turned everything around. Some federal stimulus money helped, but, according to the story, "school officials said all problems can't be solved with money."

Apparently, what you really need to do is "Identify individuals who want to be part of the change -- whether it's students, teachers or administrators -- and have people here who want to be here, for the good of the cause," said [the principal of the school].

The story didn't really explain that last statement. I guess I'm left wondering how you identify the students who want to be part of the change, and what you do with the ones who don't. At the furthest extreme of this principle, you would be able to end up with a non-random group of students with what sounds like higher commitment, and, of course, a school of low commitment students.

We often lament that if only the low-commitment students were more committed….Well, does this 'selection' process solve that problem?

Further, the whole story is presented as a success of the federal deus ex machina that pops out to fix the faculty (by replacement) and thereby the school. How else are we to think about the bit telling us,

"We've replaced over 50% of the faculty in the last two years," said Nikolai Vitti, an assistant superintendent in the Miami-Dade County school system. "It's brought new energy and a greater willingness to go above and beyond for our kids."

I gather this is intended to show that the 'fire the teachers and get better ones' program really is successful. Unions, watch out!

Welcome to the schulekampf.

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