Sunday, April 1, 2012

TU: Our Opinions Heard

By now the readers of this blog have recognized it is a labor of love by its authors.  Ranking somewhere behind our love of teaching our students, of course.  In the process of its creation we have learned a great deal about education policy and reform.

We put these newly found insights to good use by drafting E-mails and letters as part of a broad lobbying effort to just about anyone we felt had a hand in directing education policy at the local, state and federal level.  It was in January that one of these letters somehow drew the attention of someone important and a response.  How this occurred remains unclear but we think our attendance at the NCSS conference in December fed us into networks of leadership.  We received a letter asking us to play a role in the future.  As a pair, we were asked to serve on a reform committee.  It seemed our views as classroom educators were sought as part of an effort to create a coherent vision that would define and clarify the role and relationship of the federal and state government in K-12 education.  After brief discussion we agreed to take part in the yet unnamed committee. 

Over the course of the past 4 weeks we traveled to Alexandria, Virginia and met with some of the key figures directing policy as part of the Education Reform and Revision Organization Retreat.  While informal in organization the list of participants over that time frame was impressive.  David and Charles Koch, Jeb Bush, Michael Bloomberg, Wendy Kopp, Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee, Bill Gates, Paul Ryan, along with governors from numerous states all appeared or took part.   The TU and many other teachers were happy to at last have their views heard and represented. 

We listened, discussed, studied, reported and contributed over a period of more than a month and during that time many of TU's views were framed in a different light, even altered by what we heard.  What resulted was the Director's Universal and Meeting Board guiding the Education Reform and Revision Organization Retreat to put into words a substantive roadmap for the future of education.  As participants we believe it will strengthen our nation and remedy the failing schools needed so badly in this global age.  What follows is a preliminary list of recommendations that we were asked not to share until the beginning of April.  

Be it Resolved by this committee to recommend:
  • More standardized testing is essential in order to prove to skeptical public continued quality.
  • Additional Federal and State rules are necessary an must place increasing demands on localities to ensure they are doing what they are supposed to.  Instruct students as they should me instructed
  • Increasing efforts to privatize and direct public monies into the hands of for profit corporations.
  • Increasing use of Value Added Measurement as a method to evaluate teachers. A growing body of research clearly supports this approach as the only reliable way to eliminate the bad teachers responsible for the chronic under-performance in our schools.  
  • Reducing what is taught to common key standards designed and developed by impartial individuals who have not developed a educational bias by teaching. 
  • Eliminating tenure and promote easier less rigorous paths to certification, thereby reducing costs and increasing competition among teachers.  Promote legislation banning education unions. 
  • Enacting more punitive measures for schools if even one student fails to meet certain criteria, no matter the cause
  • Streamlined school choice measures to create more opportunity and competition, forcing failing school to improve.
  • Eliminating aspects of instruction that can't be measured(as they are not worthwhile)
  • Promoting an opt out for citizens who do not have school aged children to encourage more public support for education.
  • Lengthening school days and school year and couple this with added course loads for students beginning in Elementary school. 
  • Cut federal spending to education, such as Pell grants that serve lower income students, as soon as possible in order to create a more competitive education market.


  1. This post is related to last year's post

  2. Lindsay,
    I told you to never misrepresent me like this. I resigned from the E.R.R.O.R. committee the minute they named you as chair. After they rejected my plan for closing down all public schools,turning them into strip malls and making education nationwide 1:1 with kids watching videos online I knew this committee was nothing more than status quo.

  3. One of the many chances I get to change policy:

    You play an important role in molding the minds of today's youth, now's your chance to mold the shape of education!

    Because your opinions are so valuable, you have received an exclusive invitation to join a special panel of educators and administrators, and school staff. This is a unique community of educators, administrators, and school staff that are being invited to share their opinions on current issues in American education, including:

    - Challenges in meeting the needs of diverse classrooms
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    - What impact state and federal education policies have on your district's classrooms
    - Resources and Tools- Are you getting what you need?
    - How you are meeting the needs of the whole child

    The Harris Poll Online has partnered with MDR (an education research company) to create a unique community of educators and school staff (including food service staff, nurses, secretaries, and more) willing to provide insight into these and other issues surrounding the state of education and what you, as teachers, administrators, and school staff face on a daily basis. Take advantage of the opportunity to join this special panel and share your opinions.

    We are inviting you to join one of the most popular and influential online research panels so that you can help identify the problems and evaluate proposed solutions that meet the needs of America's schools and districts. You will also be given the opportunity to participate in surveys pertaining to many other topics.


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