KIPP founders Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin writes about What ‘Yes, We Can’ Should Mean for Our Public Schools in the Washington Post.
. . . Obama could establish a paradigm-shifting goal — ensuring that within 10 years every child in America will be on track to earning a college degree or completing a meaningful career training program. . . .
· Second, perhaps the single greatest lever for raising expectations and achievement for all children in America would be the creation of national learning standards and assessments. . . .
· Third, as president, Obama could help build enthusiasm and respect for all who enter the teaching profession. . . .
· Fourth, we should assess teachers on their demonstrated impact on student learning, not whether they hold a traditional teacher certification. . . .
Finally, we urge Obama to follow through on his campaign pledge to double federal funding for public charter schools with proven results. Because of technicalities in state laws, successful charter schools looking to open new campuses are often ineligible for federal money set aside for new charter schools.
One and three don’t mean much: They’re about talk, not action. However, two and four — national standards and assessing teachers on the basis of performance — would be a significant policy change. I support both ideas, though I don’t think the feds should be telling districts how to pay teachers. On charter schools, the action now is expanding the successful schools — not necessarily in opening brand-new ones.
Obama would have to work hard to get the states to accept national standards, presumably as part of a shiny, new No Child Left Behind.