Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cal Thomas Advocates Exodus From Public Schools

In a column by Cal Thomas that appeared in The Times on October 29, 2009, Thomas makes the following statement.

"If conservatives and Republicans support an exodus from public schools as a strategic goal, they will strike at the heart of liberalism, while simultaneously liberating minorities trapped in failed government schools. To free them and teach them about America and its promise of hope will produce everything they are looking for but can't find in politics. It will also pay political dividends as children and their parents see which party and persuasion cares about them enough to bring real change to their lives."

Oh, how benevolent master Cal is today. He wants to help "them" free "them" and teach "them" about America.

No thanks master Cal. I'm going to fight for a strong public education system that will not lead "them" to depend on the kindness of conservatives and Republicans.

How distasteful! How condescending! How downright insulting to "them" and to the very ideals this nation has come to stand for.

You better wake up folks. If we continue to buy into the myth of how terrible our public schools have become, and flock to voucher and charters as the savior, then we are getting on another boat destined for a reverse voyage in history.

Black leaders, where are you when we (them) need you the most?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Local Governance is Next Frontier in Education Reform

A close look at and reform of local school governance must be the next frontier in education reform.

More specifically, I refer to school boards.

These boards have been around for years, usually populated by local citizens. Their major purpose has been to oversee school administration. Most have an overarching range of authority granted by state legislatures.

However, it is becoming more clear that education requires more than a part-time investment by a body that usually does not possess the breadth of talent and experience required to manage complex organizations and issues.

We are no longer just talking about school lunch menus, uniforms, or local holidays etc..

The current state of public education in America has become critically important to our ability to lift individual standards of living, and to our competitive position on a global basis.

We must now rethink the entire structure of governance. Are school boards even the right model for the 21st century?

What kind of qualifications and experiences should form the minimums required to serve? Should this be an elective or appointive body? Should it have some minimal paid full time positions? Term limits? Who evaluates the performance of the school board? What sanctions are available for non-performance?

It is clear local communities must step up its appreciation for school governance overall and begin to engage in a serious debate about needed changes.

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