“Restructuring” Public Education
This author invites a total restructuring of K-14 education:
Any restructuring effort must start with getting the funding right, which means tackling an outdated model based on real-estate values. Pockets of poverty and low levels of homeownership in many urban and rural communities result in lower property-tax revenues. But the challenges of educating students from underserved communities require more, not less, financial and human resources. There needs to be substantial commitment to collaborate on developing new funding models that will provide greater equity. The new structure I propose encompasses free public education for pre-K through two years of college. This debt-free model would allow 16 years for students to earn high-school diplomas and two-year degrees or technical certificates from community or technical colleges — industry-recognized credentials that will make students more marketable for high-demand jobs like welding, nursing, commercial truck driving and logistics management.
This would throw good money after bad. Until we get a handle on the 13 years of “free” K-12 education, adding pre-K and 2 years of community college isn’t going to fix the systemic problems. Until we stop making excuses for not teaching children multiplication in elementary school, until we stop “I know what my students need” and “my students are learning things the tests don’t measure”, until we stop the silliness of so-called balanced literacy and get back to teaching explicit phonics–until we tackle those basic problems, we’re just trying to add more pump capacity to the Titanic. It’ll still go down, just a little slower, is all.
That isn’t to say that the author has no good ideas. I agree that local taxes are not the best way to fund education, which is state mandated and state tested and state evaluated. But funding isn’t the biggest problem to be solved here.