Dick Morris predicts a potential future

More and more people are beginning to see what I’ve been predicting for years. We have an opportunity to break the backs of public employee unions. We need to be bold here, not tepid or attenuated.

BREAKING THE TEACHERS UNION MONOPOLY — BIG CHANGES AHEAD

A perfect storm is brewing for the nation’s schools and the teachers’ unions that have them in a stranglehold. Voter anger at the socialist, big government solutions of the Obama Administration and its Democratic lookalikes in state capitals throughout the country is about to combine with massive education funding shortfalls brought on by the unions’ waste of taxpayer money.

These forces will combine in November, 2010 to force gigantic changes in school financing and governance, leading to the prospect of genuine school choice for the poor and middle class as the rich have always had.
Just as a Republican landslide in November will engulf and extinguish Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, so it will sweep away the party’s power at the state level. State houses in at least ten states are likely to change parties and dozens of legislative chambers will see Republican majorities, many for the first time in decades. The teachers union will be swept from power along with its Democratic allies.

Just as this earthquake is making its way through state capitals, governors will be casting about for ways to meet revenue shortfalls without tax hikes. Top on their list will be the elimination of layers of bureaucracy and of privileges enjoyed by the teacher unions. As a result more and more of the education budget will be spent in the classroom and vastly more will be channeled into education choice programs.

If you want a road map on how to do this, read this.

Unions have no place educating our children, and we ought not even consider them even having a place at the table, much less the amount of control they currently assert.

Which is why the “school district” is such a stupid idea…

A child’s educational opportunity should be determined by her intellect and work ethic, not by her zip code.

Bob McDonnell – Gov. of Virginia, during last night’s Republican response.

Get rid of the current tax and education system in Illinois
.

Hmmm, This sounds familiar…

First Read this article

The Big Question: What is the Swedish schools model, and can UK education learn from it?

How does the Swedish System work?

Under the policy, which was first introduced in the 1990s, parents are given a sum of money (around the equivalent of £6,000 per pupil) that they can then use to send their child to the school of their choice. They can, if they want to, set up their own schools which are outside the state system but for which parents can use what is effectively a voucher to enrol their children at the school. Since the policy was adopted (it had been languishing in policy wonks’ in-trays for some 20 years before receiving the go-ahead) around 900 new schools have been established – with freedom from government control to run their own affairs.

How widespread would the scheme be if the Conservatives adopted it?

Mr Gove has indicated that – if it was as successful here as it has been in Sweden – it could lead to the setting up of as many as 3,000 new schools. In his speech to the Conservative party conference, he said: “We would allow education specialists – charities, philanthropists, existing federations and groups of parents – to set up new schools as an alternative to failing schools.” His assertion is based on the belief that it would be parents in under-performing schools who would go for this new option. “We are confident this will raise standards – in Sweden 15 per cent of children are educated in free, independent state schools,” he added. “Standards have risen in those new schools and in other state schools.”

Next read this.

When some Bozo tells you reform isn’t possible, ask them why Sweden is become a conservative “Third Way” nation while the US is traveling rapidly into a moronic Socialist past.

The Trendsetting nature of Extreme Wisdom

It isn’t as if smart people can’t come up with good ideas on their own, particularly when they are retired CEOs with lots of time on their hands. Regardless, I take a bit of pride in the fact that I thought up a pretty darn good “education reform plan” and actually took the time to write it up for people.

I will admit to borrowing some pretty good concepts from others. Obviously, Milton Friedman gets most of the credit for coming up with the entire concept of choice in education. The next round of credit goes to Illinois’ own Jeff Berkowitz (of “Public Affairs” fame). He re-introduced me to the obviously brilliant “fully-funded” scholarship idea. Why should the existing system be allowed to keep a dime? Next up, the Heartland Institute wrote an excellent policy study about a decade ago, proposing a way to fund scholarships through a combination of district-based, and state-based funding. Next, E.D.Hirsch, author of “Cultural Literacy” and “The Schools we Need – and why we don’t have them” chimed in with his excellent ideas on a robust and sequenced curriculum. Add to all that the good work done by the policy community in promoting charter schools, which offer a model to remove the school from the control of the bureaucrats.

All of this culminated in one huge insight that I came to on my own. What on God’s Green Earth do we need a “school district” for? The answer is “Nothing!”

Local control is a myth. The “district” is merely a bureaucratic “franchise” mechanism to create the illusion of local control while taxing property into oblivion so as to employ a class of protected, pampered bureaucrats and an oversupply of mediocre teachers.

Get rid of it. Lose millions of dollars of ugly pork overnight. You can now boil education reform down to 4 words in America. Fund Children, not Bureaucrats.

Apparently, retired CEOs are starting to realize the same thing.

40 Years of Education Reform
by Louis Gerstner

So, from someone who realized rather glumly last week that he has been working at school reform for 40 years, here is a prescription for leadership from the Obama administration.

We must start with the recognition that, despite decade after decade of reform efforts, our public K-12 schools have not improved. We can point to individual schools and some entire districts that have advanced, but the system as a whole is still failing. High school and college graduation rates, test scores, the number of graduates majoring in science and engineering all are flat or down over the past two decades. Disappointingly, the relative performance of our students has suffered compared to those of other nations. As a former CEO, I am worried about what this will mean for our future workforce.

It is most crucial for our political leaders to ask why we are at this point — why after millions of pages, in thousands of reports, from hundreds of commissions and task forces, financed by billions of dollars, have we failed to achieve any significant progress?

Hmmmm?! Greedy teacher’s unions, self-propagating bureaucrats, and overly-credulous soccer-moms, perhaps? Well, here is the best part. After detailing the problem, the illustrious Mr. Gerstner comes up with his proposal. What’s the FIRST item?

Therefore, I recommend that President-elect Barack Obama convene a meeting of our nation’s governors and seek agreement to the following:

- Abolish all local school districts, save 70 (50 states; 20 largest cities). Some states may choose to leave some of the rest as community service organizations, but they would have no direct involvement in the critical task of establishing standards, selecting teachers, and developing curricula.

He should have quit after the word “districts.” Why should engines of waste and corruption (city school districts) get to remain intact? If anything, they should be the first to be dismantled. Regardless, it is good to know that the idea is out there. I may not have been the first, but I’ve been one of the most vocal. The policy community is still taking baby steps of “charter expansion.” With Gerstner throwing this out into the meme pool, maybe others can eventually see the light.

We don’t need school districts and we don’t need teacher’s unions.

As for the other big piece of Gerstner’s idea, I think I have a better way. I’m all for a robust curriculum, but we can attain that goal with out the damage to individual choice that would be created by a “national curriculum.”

[ BTW, we already have a "national curriculum." It's the drivel that gets foisted on your kids by a gaggle of teachers who where indoctrinated in "ed-school." ]

If you read my plan, you’ll see that it creates the huge opportunity for all to access such a curriculum, while giving the newly created network of independent schools the freedom of how to teach it.

Add in “education savings accounts,” and you have the recipe for rapidly falling education costs with dramatic increases in results.

Asking the WRONG Question!

“Saving” our schools is NOT the function of one person, and it never will be. America is seems to be caught in the grip of the absurd notion that a “Czar” or an “Education President” can “fix” our schools.

Can She Save Our Schools?

The U.S. spends more per pupil on elementary and high school education than most developed nations. Yet it is behind most of them in the math and science abilities of its children. Young Americans today are less likely than their parents were to finish high school. This is an issue that is warping the nation’s economy and security, and the causes are not as mysterious as they seem. The biggest problem with U.S. public schools is ineffective teaching, according to decades of research. And Washington, which spends more money per pupil than the vast majority of large districts, is the problem writ extreme, a laboratory that failure made. (See pictures of a diverse group of American teens.)

Rhee took over Anacostia High and the district’s 143 other schools in June 2007, when Mayor Adrian Fenty named her chancellor. Her appointment stunned the city. Rhee, then 37, had no experience running a school, let alone a district with 46,000 students that ranks last in math among 11 urban school systems. When Fenty called her, she was running a nonprofit called the New Teacher Project, which helps schools recruit good teachers. Most problematic of all, Rhee is not from Washington. She is from Ohio, and she is Korean American in a majority-African-American city. “I was,” she says now, “the worst pick on the face of the earth.”

But Rhee came highly recommended by another prominent school reformer: Joel Klein, chancellor of New York City’s schools. And Rhee was once a teacher–in a Baltimore elementary school with Teach for America–and the experience convinced her that good teachers could alter the lives of kids like Rhodes.

Each week, Rhee gets e-mails from superintendents in other cities. They understand that if she succeeds, Rhee could do something no one has done before: she could prove that low-income urban kids can catch up with kids in the suburbs. The radicalism of this idea cannot be overstated. Now, without proof that cities can revolutionize their worst schools, there is always a fine excuse. Superintendents, parents and teachers in urban school districts lament systemic problems they cannot control: poverty, hunger, violence and negligent parents. They bicker over small improvements such as class size and curriculum, like diplomats touring a refugee camp and talking about the need for nicer curtains. To the extent they intervene at all, politicians respond by either throwing more money at the problem (if they’re on the left) or making it easier for some parents to send their kids to private schools (if they’re on the right).

If there is one sign of hope regarding education, it is that the drones in the media are starting to understand just how useless and corrupt the education bureaucracy has become. If they are starting to write sentences like the one bolded above, they may start to realize that the entire bloated ediface of education bureaucracy is worthless – EVEN in the SUBURBS.

Those of you reading this post need to know that no one person can “fix” education. YOU can fix education by telling all your friends the following four words.

Fund Children, NOT Bureaucracy.

If Teacher’s Unions hate it….

…then you can bet it’s a good idea

Regarding the post below (about identifying issues/ways that serve to steal voters from the surging Democrats), one would be to promote Charter Schools aggressively. Properly promoted, a campaign to defeat any politician who opposes charters could succeed. Being against expansion of charter schools should become akin to being against desegregation. Politicians who do the bidding of Teacher’s Unions are consorting with evil, and it’s time rub their stinking faces in it.

Charters lead state’s traditional schools in achievement for poor children, survey finds

The burgeoning charter school movement in California has largely made its mark as an alternative to low-performing inner-city schools. An analysis being issued today suggests that, at their best, charters are doing that job well, outperforming most traditional public schools that serve children in poverty.

Using the Academic Performance Index as a measuring tool, the California Charter Schools Assn. found that 12 of the top 15 public schools in California that cater primarily to poor children are charters.

The association, which is an advocate for charter schools, focused on schools where at least 70% of the children qualify for free or reduced price lunches. Of more than 3,000 public schools statewide that fit that description, the highest API score — 967 — was earned by American Indian Public Charter, a middle school in Oakland whose students are primarily Asian, black and Latino, and have a poverty rate of 98%. It was followed by its sibling, American Indian Public High School, with a score of 958.

The fifth-highest ranked school was another Oakland middle school run by the same organization, which began with a Native American theme. American Indian Public Charter II had an API of 917. The API, which ranges from 200 to a perfect score of 1,000, is a gauge of student performance.

Charter schools are public schools run independently of traditional school districts, typically by nonprofit organizations. Broad analyses of charter performance have tended to show that they slightly outperform traditional public schools, especially at the middle and high school level, although critics say that could be because their students tend to come from more academically motivated families.

“Traditional school districts” are engines of greed, waste, and abuse. The faster we realize that school districts are completely useless (if educating children is your goal), the faster we can convert every school to an independent charter.

If anyone reading this wants to attempt to defend the idiocy of a “school district,” please offer such a defense in the comments section.