Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Jonathan Alter has it half right. Ben Bernanke is totally right.

Jonathan Alter is a senior editor and columnist for Newsweek and I've been listening to him on Imus for the past few years. He's pretty "whatever" on his interviews, and in his columns. If he's current then I'll listen, but the fast forward button is used if I'm a couple of days behind.

Alter has an interesting article in this week's Newsweek.
To summarize, Alter says that No Child Left Behind is not that bad, but what it is trying to accomplish is not happening because the mandate is going after the schools, not the teachers. He acknowledges that teachers need to be paid more, but at the same time the money comes with the insistence that teachers are held to a higher level of accountability.
It's time to move from identifying failing schools to identifying failing teachers. That sounds obvious, but until now it hasn't happened in American education.
I totally agree. I mentioned in earlier posts that I think that the worst 10% of teachers should be fired immediately, ala The Jack Welch Method. Now the issue is, how do we figure out which teachers should be terminated? Once again, what do we do about teachers that are getting hammered by parents, or dealing with special populations, or are simply new? The answer is the manager of the school, the principal.
The idea is to make each principal the CEO of the school instead of an agent of the bureaucracy.
Exactly, except that the CEO of a company is held responsible by shareholders that see the CEO as assisting in an investment for profit. An inefficient CEO is fired. However, a school principal (with the direction of the Super) is held accountable by school boards that are voted in by parents...........parents that don't necessarily see Education as a serious investment. Schools that are properly managed could benefit, but a school that has management that is incompetent would be in serious trouble.

Speaking of investments in Education, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made a very important comment regarding the widening of the income gap and the issues behind the impact of globalization. As stated in the New York Times, Bernanke stated that bolstering education and training funding would be necessary for the country to maintain a strong economic future. Here is the problem with Education in this country, which I've said over and over again. Society does not see Education as an investment. They see it as politics. They see it as a right. They see it as babysitting. However, in the end, Education is the only way that this country remains the economic superpower in the world. Ask around. More and more economists are looking at China becoming the primary economic influence within the next 20 years. If that is the case, we need to begin to pump out some serious labor right now.
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