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Top 10 Things I Learned from the National Education Summit

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Please join us and share what you feel you learned from the recent focus U.S. schooling.

By Linda Dobson

Boy, there sure has been a lot of yakking going on about the failure of public schools this week, hasn’t there? There were those who spoke out on NBC’s “Education Nation.” There were fed representatives in the form of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the President himself. There were newspaper articles and blog posts and Tweets galore, so I thought I’d share what I learned from the national education debate.

1. There are people – many people – who feel the local, state and national teacher unions are helping children learn.

2. There are people – many people – who feel the local, state and national teacher unions are interfering with children learning.

3. There are people – many people – who feel that millions and billions and trillions more dollars will help children learn.

4. There are people – many people – who feel burdened taxpayers are already paying more for public education than it’s worth.

5. There are people – many people – who feel that charter schools are the answer.

6. There are people – many people – who feel that charter schools drain the best students from government schools, leaving the government schools in worse condition.

7. There are people – many people – who feel the federal government should have a larger role in schools.

8. There are people – many people – who feel the federal government should get out of the school business.

9. There are people – many people – who feel homeschooling leaves children devoid of social skills and the ability to be productive adult citizens.

10. There are people – many people – who feel who feel homeschooling offers more social opportunities and prepares children to be productive adult citizens better than government schools.

So…

…what’s new?

Do you know anyone whose child is better off for all of this adult talk about education? Do more people understand there is a gaping difference between schooling and true education?

Polls designed to get people’s take on U. S. education show what I think is a large part of the problem and why change will be painful and slow, if it ever happens at all. I call it “The Lake Wobegone Effect of Schools.” The very same people who are quick to say that, in general, the schools are a mess invariably give much better “grades” to their own local school. I continue to say this is a very dangerous – even if very human – trend that just refuses to go away. I encourage all parents to look at their children’s school as objectively as possible. Set aside the fact that Mrs. Brown, the teacher, is a very nice lady, or that the school has a terrific ball field. Focus exclusively on education, and on education – as opposed to schooling – at that.

These are the top 10 things I got out of the national Education Summit. Please join us and share what you feel you learned from the recent focus U.S. schooling.

LindaSig

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7 Responses to “Top 10 Things I Learned from the National Education Summit”

  1. Mother Mary says:

    Not a gosh-darn thing. Same old, same old.

    Next time the school district wants money I think I shall ask them to just tell us poor tax payers how much is enough? Exactly how much will it take to produce educated, knowledgeable young adults ready to take their place in society and be productive?

    Then maybe someone can explain to me how test scores have been rising at least since 1955 but never seem to go up to the top; there's always room for them to go up more. And why aren't all the kids whose test scores have been rising all these years little Einsteins????

    everybody's an expert…….

  2. Mother Mary, That's an EXCELLENT question to ask – just how much does a good education cost.

    I think I can answer your last question. Good test scores don't necessarily mean learning has been happening. I'm sure you've heard, too, in places like New York where they kinda-sorta recalibrated "good scores," the scores haven't really been all they were touted to be. Literally had parents being told that their "gifted" child really isn't and won't be in the class next year. It's criminal.

  3. Beverley says:

    How much does a good education cost? How much does paying attention cost? Only time.

    Home educating parents pay attention to their children (or end up facing the same kind of behaviour problems that beset school teachers) and it costs them time – these same parents could be working, earning an income to pay for someone else to pay attention to their children.

    But we need to step back and define what we mean we say 'good' – what is a 'good' education?

  4. Hi, Beverley,

    You'd think folks would start with something so basic as defining what it is all this money and time are being spent on. That's how young children spell love – T*I*M*E.

  5. […] Dobson presents Top 10 Things I Learned from the National Education Summit posted at PARENT AT THE […]

  6. Ben Bennett says:

    You hit the nail on the head. The whole PROBLEM can be summed up in a few words: People FEEL too much and don't KNOW a dang thing.

    The syndrome you talk about above, I call TOPS (Those Other People Syndrome). Simply put, it's those other people who are not involved enough in their schools to make them work better. It's those other teachers who are bad (which makes my kid's teacher great — even if I've never met her and am clueless as to what she's teaching my child.)

    The money question changes if you phrase it differently:

    What is a good education worth to you… IF YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR IT?

    Then: What is a good education worth when you can pay for it with other people's money?

    We don't eat at a fancy restaurant every day because we can't afford it, and it frankly, might get boring after a few weeks. On the other hand… if I could take advantage of a government program that used other people's money to pay for lots of families to go to the same restaurant every day (because… everyone has a right to food, you see) then by-jingo, you might have a ton of people eating out every day!

    And even if the food starts getting bad, or boring, or somehow not good enough, I'll bet we can find more money somewhere to update the kitchens and hire a few more cooks.

    See where this goes? It's not so much the money… it's WHO PAYS FOR IT that creates a situation where there is little competition (which keeps costs down) and so little innovation. Why innovate when you get paid the same for status quo?

    Now off to my favorite restaurant. What about those other restaurants? They are terrible!! Mine's the best. 😉

    BbB

  7. Oh, you silly Ben. I've never gotten sick in my restaurant, so MINE is best.

    The syndrome – a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…I'm glad you know what I'm talking about!

    Thanks so much for caring.

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