Wednesday, 12 Dec 2018

With regard to education policy, leave it to the teachers – not to the politicians

(IStock) When the November elections finally arrived, I inspected Gallup's mid-term survey of the 12 most important issues of the campaign. Fortunately, education was not among them. Writers who earn their living by focusing on important aspects of our country – foreign affairs, economics, health care, immigration – might be happy to see their favorite subject at the top of the list. Not me. I think that education policy is too important and too fragile to interfere with national politics. There have been years when voters have said that schools would have a great impact on how they marked their ballot, but that does not seem to tell the truth. In late 1999, for example, the Washington Post-ABC News poll stated that education was "very important" to more voters than any other issue in the 2000 national elections. But that did not happen. not affected this vote in a perceptible way. Republican George W. Bush promoted what became his No Child Left Behind education plan, and his opponent, Al Gore, had similar ideas. Both parties in Congress helped the Bush plan to become law. This year, education has been discussed in some governor races. In Georgia, both candidates differed on how to provide more college scholarships. But voters were focused on Medicaid and jobs. At the national level, according to Gallup, the top three issues were health care, the economy and immigration. In the rare cases where school problems have grown in recent years, the discussion has done little to improve student achievement. In the 2016 presidential race, the state's common core standards were debated, but the main argument against them is that they interfered with the decision-making process of the state. 39; State. Timothy A. Hacsi, historian of the University of Massachusetts, demonstrated in his 2002 book "Children as pawns: the politics of educational reform" that elected officials grant little to no one. attention to research in education and content with what their base seems to want. What politicians say on the trunk and offer as legislation is more of "ideology, fear of raising taxes, bureaucratic inertia, class and racial conflicts" than of what has It has been shown that it works in classrooms, said Hacsi. President Trump rarely mentions schools. His five immediate predecessors, Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan were interested in the subject. But they tended to think that the federal government should help raise school standards and demand tests to make sure students learn. In 2015, both parties in Congress passed a new federal law on education, the law entitled "Every student has succeeded". It has returned much of the power to reform schools to states. It was a sign of bipartite exhaustion of the controversial No Child Left Behind era. Since state legislatures are traditionally reluctant to strive for better results, school districts have the opportunity to pursue their own ideas. Local school board members, who have the power to make changes, usually campaign on their credentials rather than on plans to help children learn. This can be a blessing because some of the most productive recent educational changes, such as the development of demanding charter schools and the opening of college-level courses to a larger number of college students. secondary education, were carried out by dynamic teachers, not by politicians. There are many other intriguing ideas. Cinque Henderson's new book, "Sit Down and Be Quiet: How Discipline Can Free Students," provides an intriguing rationale for improving student behavior. Many teachers are calling for more e-learning at home, job-related training programs for real jobs, and the opportunity to earn community college and high school diplomas at the same time. Some major political battles against schools have raged this year. The race for the superintendency of public education in California cost more than $ 43 million. But as my colleague Valerie Strauss has pointed out, both candidates were Democrats and the work for which they presented themselves has no control over the state's education policy. I would like to leave school reforms as much as possible in the hands of teachers. They tend to do their best when their ideas are not attacked in political ads or campaign pamphlets that are now collected and thrown away. .

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