Tag Archives: grown-ups

The Real World Would Recognize (and Deal with) Both Good and Bad Teaching

Every child is always a winner … Children just need better self-esteem … We only need to use positive incentives to help children learn more … Let’s reward the good but pretend like the bad doesn’t exist … I’m only 5 years old, and I get that this is marshmallow world nonsense. In fact, it’s the kind of silliness that makes many people question (sometimes fairly, sometimes not) the value of much of what goes on in public education. It gets even worse when the principle is applied not only to students, but also to teachers. At least if the union has its way. Witness the evidence from Chicago, a city with many failing schools: principal evaluations found only 3 out of every 1,000 teachers had unsatisfactory performance. While unions thrive on fears of bogeyman administrators who take out their vindictiveness on good teachers they don’t like, this evidence at least indicates the problem tips in the other direction. In any case, wouldn’t a more objective data system be better?


Making the Best of an Overstimulated Situation for Colorado Students

You know how this almost-six-year-old is no fan of the huge spending bill the President flew out here to sign last week. While it sounds nice on paper, I’m here to clue you in to the fact we aren’t going to be saved by a “magical money tree”. In the meantime, my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow has a tip on how to make the best out of a bad situation. As he writes in yesterday’s edition of the Colorado Daily – if nearly a billion dollars is going to flow into Colorado for the purposes of K-12 education, let’s at least attach it to some serious and radical reforms: If the federal government is bound to spend untold billions it doesn’t have on education, nearly all would be better served by a student-centered approach to distributing the funds. Washington would do much better to offer incentives to states and school districts that attach funds directly to students, empowering families with a wide array of public schooling options. After all, parents best know how to make use of the money to meet their children’s needs. The so-called “stimulus” is a fait accompli. Yet for all the mammoth debt, the […]


Someone Besides the Federal Government Can Fix the Summer Slide

It’s Friday, it’s hot, and I don’t want to make my Education Policy Center friends work too hard. But before I take a weekend break, here’s a story from the Rocky Mountain News that caught my attention: Summer slides occur in more than just water. During summer months, poor children fall behind academically more than wealthy children do. In fact, two-thirds of the learning gap between rich and poor can be attributed to unequal summer learning activities, research shows. Education activists call this the “summer slide” for students in Denver Public Schools. The story goes on to highlight calls for more federal funding of a special summer school program. I’m still young enough to believe this kind of stuff, but do these grown-ups really think a new government program is the best way to address the problem? What about the idea of year-round school? Or maybe at least summer school programs that aren’t dictated by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.? Okay, that’s enough. If you’ll excuse me now, I think that water slide idea sounds really good.