Friday, February 15, 2013

American Prospect: Education: Sharon Lerner: The State of The Kindergarteners Should Be Strong: What The Next Round of Education Reform Should Look Like

The State of the Kindergarteners Should Be Strong

President Obama in his second inaugural as well as in his State of The Union address this week. Has talked about building an economy where all Americans would have a good shot at succeeding in life. That anyone whose educated, works hard, is productive, plays by the rules, is responsible and so fourth. That they should be successful in life and not just people who are born to wealth. As a Liberal I agree with all of this but this starts at home with good families with good responsible parents who raise their. Kids well and then it gets to education having a good education so that everyone has a good shot at being successful in life. Based one what they do with it that ,we don't have guarantees but simple having the ability to be successful in life. Is the only ticket that we need and should expect to have to be successful in life. That we don't have equality of outcomes that all Americans are guaranteed of being able to live a middle class. Lifestyle or better but that we all have equality of opportunity to be successful in life and without a good education. And again without that unless you are an athlete or an entertainer or inherit a huge trust fund. Your chances of being successful in life are slim and none and no one has seen slim lately. Probably in hiding somewhere.

This spring Congress is going to have an opportunity to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. That the Bush Administration called Non Child Left Behind from back in 2001-02. That the Obama Administration now calls Race To The Top. And what this law does is authorizes and finances the Federal Government's role in education in America, mostly pre college. The President has already laid out an additional reform that he wants to see to ESEA which of course is. Universal pre school, I wasn't aware of this but not every kid in this country has access to pre school and don't start. School until kindergarten and sometimes first grade which would explain a big reason why our public education system is so lacking. Especially for low income kids, if they could get that extra 2-3 years of a good education from the beginning. They would be in better position to compete with middle class and rich kids.

I support universal pre school and kindergarten, because if I didn't have that it probably would've been a couple more years. Before I was able to read and write anything and I believe all kids should have that same ability as well. But details in how something like this is done is also important, that it can't be another Federal Government entitlement program. That the states and more importantly the localities should be running this with funds coming from Uncle Sam. And then the Feds and states could oversee this program to see what's working and so fourth but not actually run it. And then of course this program has to be paid for not by borrowing and not through another unfunded mandate sent from Uncle Sam. Down to his nephews and nieces but we need a real revenue source from the Feds to finance this program.

I'll be blogging more about this in the next couple of months but comprehensive, and there's that word again. But comprehensive education reform is very simple to me at least to what should be in it and the goals. That one students go to the best school for them and not go to school based on where they live. Public school choice is critical and the Feds could help finance this not run it. Educators are paid based in how good of a job they are doing, based on how well their students are learning. Not paid and promoted based on how long they've been teaching. And we fund schools in this country based on need and not where schools are located, meaning that we have a new revenue stream. That again the Feds can help with instead of just relying mostly on property taxes.

Without these reforms education reform is not comprehensive and incomplete. And we'll end up just feeding a system thats produced the 39th best education system in the World. And a big reason why we have so many Americans living in poverty in the richest country in the World.