Public Schools: To Educate or Not to Educate

No secret here, our schools kinda suck.  For years we have been lagging other nations in preparing our kids for a role in the global economy.  A place where you are going to need to know a lot of stuff.   A place where you are going to have to work really hard.  A place where you are going to need to be able to do a lot of things right and at the same time for a LONG time.

And we aren’t doin’ it here.  We are lettin’ our kids down and in the process, letting ourselves down too.

We talk and we talk and we talk about making our education system better.  We gnash teeth and debate.  We get mad and sometimes we make progress.  But mostly we don’t.  Mostly what we do is just spend more money.  Spend more money on projects that clearly aren’t working.

Wanna see?  Check this graph from Carpe Diem:

Total spend on the DC school system

Did you see that?  To educate [though it’s hard to say we are really educating them] the District has a budget that is nearly as large as a country!  And the cost of educating a student in DC is nearly the cost of tuition at HARVARD!

Money ain’t the problem kids.  We’re doin’ something wrong.  And I think it begins with attitude and expectations.  Just look at what Minnesota has just gone through:

MINNEAPOLIS – The state Department of Education has approved a plan to start classes before Labor Day this fall in 25 school districts in southwestern Minnesota.

While it’s illegal to start the school year before Labor Day in Minnesota, the department can grant an exception by approving what’s called a flexible learning year.

Now, why did these districts wanna start earlier?

The 25 districts believe they can improve test scores by shifting the school year so there are more teaching days before the high-stakes spring tests and fewer afterward.

Nice, well done!

But here is why we are getting beat by the ret of the world:

Critics are concerned the plan will hurt late summer tourism and participation in the State Fair.

Gawd forbid we interfere with The Great Minnesota Get-Together!

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