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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Why Educational Status Quo Will Remain

Or Why Teachers Must Be The Change They Want To See

Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status.
- Laurence J. Peter

Where do you think educational change is in relation to the quote above?

Do the right people believe the educational "quo" has lost it's status?

Who are the "right people?" The police-makers or the citizens? Is it an issue handled from the grassroots or Top-down?

Do you believe there will be educational change on a national or state level anytime soon...say...within 5 years)?

I don't.  And that makes me sad.

Here's the single, most important reason why.

I have been trying to re-find this bit of information, but I haven't found it for the past 3 months.  Perhaps someone can help me.  But the info goes like this:

The American public believes the educational system is screwed up, just not in the schools where their kids attend.  The American public, in overwhelming numbers (something like 75% or more), believe the school where their child(ren) attend is doing good or excellent.  It's the "other" schools that have problems.

A similar poll was conducted in 1997 in California.  The LA Times had a story in 1998.  Here's a section:

When asked to rate the nation's public schools, only a quarter of the parents in the survey responded "excellent" or "good." Nearly the same proportion (28%) gave one of these two highest ratings to California's public schools. In stark contrast, a majority of public school teachers in the survey gave a strong thumbs up to the public schools -- 64% gave one of these two highest ratings to the nation's schools, and 61% rated California's schools "excellent" or "good."

Both groups tended to view their own familiar local public schools with much higher regard than either the more abstract state or national system. Parents were split 49% to 48% over whether to rate their local public schools excellent/good or fair/poor, including only 9% who gave an "excellent" rating. One third of teachers in the survey, on the other hand, gave the highest rating to the school system they teach in every day. An impressive four out of five teachers gave their local schools one of the two highest ratings, while 19% rated them "fair" or "poor."

A 50% good/excellent opinion is enough to maintain the status quo in any issue.

Is it any wonder why we can't tell for sure which presidential candidate said which?  [brackets used to clarify, and remove obvious political partisanship]:
  • "...there are problems with the law [NCLB], particularly when it comes to testing students with disabilities and non-English-speaking students, but he has said “improve it, don’t discard it.”
  • "...it [NCLB] is a well-intentioned attempt to erase long-standing achievement gaps... but [the law has failed] through inflexible application.


In essence the statements say the same.  They promote the status quo.  Both are empty of any real need for change. 

Presidential candidates, Gubernatorial candidate, senators, representative, and school board members (to a lesser degree) are able to get away with such vague sound bites because most Americans believe "their schools" are okay.

As long as lawmakers aren't interested in change, neither will local school officials seek change. Why should they?

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