Public Elementary and High School Education
Is public education about guaranteeing your child succeeds over my child?
Or is public education the democratic answer to social and economic mobility?
The main driver of our education policy needs to be the idea that every child has the same opportunity to learn, regardless of their family background, income or geographic location.
Our conservative controlled legislature is constantly obsessed with the wrong questions:
How can you keep track of students' performance if you don't test them constantly?
How can you improve teaching if you have no accountability for bad teachers or merit pay for good teachers?
How do you foster competition and engage the private sector?
How do you provide school choice?
Standardized tests are nothing more than standardized tests. They cannot show how a child is failing to grasp a concept, only that he or she lacks that concept. Results of standardized tests do not leave us with an opportunity for advancement, as they are only a conservative tool to further undermine public education. When we force our schools to teach nothing but the test and how to take tests, we only produce adults who are good test-takers, not an educated workforce.
If a teacher is going to be responsible for your child's education, he or she/that teacher needs the resources and materials for one-on-one education. Teachers need to be trained to assess children in classrooms while teaching. For parents to be involved in their child's education teachers need more than a report card to share with parents. Alerting parents at the end of the semester that their child is failing math or can't read is not an opportunity for involvement.
Accountability is something that is left when responsibility has been subtracted.
All teachers and administrators should be given prestige, a living wage and responsibility.Our teacher-training programs need to be among the most selective professional schools in the country. If a teacher is bad, it is the principal's responsibility to notice and to deal with it.
Competition will not bring us better schools. Competition at the level of educating our youth will only bring us some winners but also many losers.
The main driver of our education policy should not be competition between teachers and schools, but cooperation.
Every child should have exactly the same opportunity to learn, regardless of family background, income, or geographic location. Schools need to be healthy, safe environments for children. This starts with the basics. All students should be offered free healthy school meals, easy access to health care, psychological counseling, and individualized student guidance.
In today's education system there is a huge chasm between those who can afford tuition per child per year - or even just the price of a house in a good public school district - and the rest of the families relying on public education.
Arizona can't rely on manufacturing or natural resources and instead needs to invest in a knowledge based economy. We can no longer afford to graduate so many citizens who lack the opportunity and means to future their education.
We will not preserve American competitiveness by doing the same thing we've been doing for years. As a state we need to prepare not just some of our population well, but all of our population well for the new economy.
I want to have a good public education for every child regardless of where they go to school or what kind of families they come from.
It is possible to achieve excellence by focusing not on competition, but on cooperation, and not on choice, but on equity.
The problem facing education in Arizona is not the ethnic diversity of the population but the economic inequality of our society and this is the problem that Arizona education reform must address.