Monday, September 20, 2021

Improving Academic Achievement - A National Crisis

Half the kids in the United States including where we live in Reno, Nevada cannot read or do math at grade level.  This is a national crisis as bad as any hurricane natural disaster.  Since 90% of kids attend public schools, the problem is primarily in our public schools.   Nobody in the education establishment seems to care.  And, it is not about money going to public schools, since we spend more on public schools than any other country in the world only to achieve mediocre academic results.  

It is time to end business as usual if we are going to improve academic achievement.  First, school board members must recognize they are are elected to represent the interests of students, parents and taxpayers exclusively.  School district staff member interests are all represented by various unions because they are Labor.  School Boards therefore must understand that they are Management because most school administrators are part of the education establishment.  Administrators are not managers in a real sense.  Instead they are paper pushers who will never rock the boat.  We need to rock the boat to improve academic achievement.  

Next, most public schools only have kids in school for 180 days a year conforming to the time when the United States was an agricultural economy and kids were needed at home to work on the farm during the summer months.  So kids in the US attend school for about 9 months and not even that when all holidays are factored in to the school year.  We need to get that up to 10 months or at least 200 days a year as happens in many other countries where kids are far ahead of kids in the US. 

Teachers and Administrators must be held accountable for achieving academic results.  That means management by metrics and performance objectives.  There should be bonus pay for exceeding objectives and merit pay for teachers who actually do the best job.  Those teachers and administrators who consistently fail to achieve results must be invited to leave the school district as would be the case in business when an employee fails to do the job.  They must be FIRED.

We need rigorous pre and post testing every year to use as the basis for improvement.  As occurs in other countries, by the end of the 8th grade testing should be used to determine if a kid is college bound or should be in a vocational track with apprentice programs to learn a trade.   We always have community colleges for kids that are late bloomers if it turns out the college is possible; but no kid should leave school without a trade if college is not possible.  

We must look at curriculum to focus on the things that really matter rather than political indoctrination, which is happening in many school districts across the country.  Especially now and probably because of their failures,  left wing woke School Boards, Administrators and Teachers think their job is to create little Socialist activists.  As a result, they are wasting time teaching Fake History and pushing Socialist ideology.  This has to stop because it does nothing to improve academic achievement.  They are hurting the very students they purport to want to educate.  

We have to reinvent our public schools to improve academic achievement.  It will mean battles with teacher and administrator unions to get the job done.  We probably must have School Choice to create competitive pressures to get public schools to improve.  Many in the education establishment will have to be FIRED when the dust settles because they are actually hurting kids.  What is happening now is malpractice.  School Boards cannot allow this to continue.  Business as usual is failing the kids of our nation.  It is time for action if we are going to compete with other nations.  

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