For teachers who choose to devote their life's work to some of the most difficult classrooms in America, such as here in D.C., the testing imperative becomes a monumental disincentive to stay in the classroom for any length of time.
I hold no ill will towards those who have made the choice NOT to participate directly in the public school system, but my wife and I have chosen to raise our three daughters here in the city and are committed to public education.
We envy the academic achievement level in China. There are many reasons for their achievement. But one is that instructional time is respected. The teachers teach -- uninterrupted. Not a second is lost.
Today we have a concept called "a charter school," which uses private market forces and competition to improve our public school system -- by breaking the traditional monopoly franchise of the public school district, run by local boards of education.
Take over these schools. Occupy them. Sit in. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We built these schools with our taxes, our labor, our commitment to students and communities. They are not just playthings for overfed business dilettantes.
These evaluations should be accessed solely by the teachers about whom they are written. As a result of this confidentiality, teachers can learn how to improve their instruction quality, without fearing retribution. The evaluations can be a tool for growth, not as a cause of stress.
I don't believe in the people who are attacking our public schools. Sending my children to public schools is the ultimate sign of support, and helps keep me more deeply involved in a precious public resource that needs, and deserves, our support.
There have certainly been great strides in highlighting the issue from columnists, pop stars, the secretary of education, and even the president and first lady, but we still have some way to go to make the shift widespread and automatic.
Kaizen is the idea that one does not need to wait for something to be broken in order to fix it. One should always look for opportunities to improve upon current processes, making things incrementally better.
Society in general needs to understand that the lack of quality teachers, effective administration, and parental involvement are all factors that contribute to the current state of our educational system.
What was so odd about Dennis Walcott's announcement that NYC was opening 50 new middle schools is that the most recent research suggesting that a middle school grade configuration is probably not the way to go was done in his city.
The color of your skin and your zip code are almost entirely determinative of the quality of the public education this nation provides. This is deeply, profoundly wrong and is contrary to everything this nation stands for.
America can no longer afford to separate education, health, and social services into separate silos. And we risk bankruptcy if our schools continue to focus on a narrow portion of our children's brains.