“I have a dream”

I tried to watch the XQ school thing on TV.  “Tried” is the word.  I did not realize what it was at first.  Some sort of weird musical?  After a few minutes I realized it was a really weird comment on the US high school system.  A few more minutes and I realized it was a lot of very un-knowledgeable people making very un-educated observations of what high schools should be.  Yes, there was sort of a grain of truth buried in with the dancing and singing but it mostly seemed to lack realism.  Did I miss something or was this really bad?

Here is my list for improving American high schools.

  1. Train administrators to be leaders, not bookkeepers.  Many years ago I worked on an EdD in Education Leadership.  The “Leadership” courses were budget management and teacher evaluation.  No conflict management, no personnel management, no how to get people to work for you in a positive manner, nothing how to actually lead.
  2. Eliminate tenure. If someone cannot teach, they should be asked to find a different job.
  3. Raise teacher pay and make it a difficult profession to get into.
  4. Require a Master’s degree and at least a year of student teaching with a master teacher.
  5. Disconnect school funding from local taxes.
  6. Do not expect all students to graduate from high school. Some are just too lazy or unwilling to put in the work.
  7. Do not attach funding to graduation rates.
  8. Reward students for academic improvement and/or good grades. Do not just give a grade and think that is reward enough.
  9. Make parents responsible for their student’s grades.  (This would probably affect 1-8 above.)

I probably can come up with a couple more but most of these are unrealistic enough.  There is no way most of these could be implemented but it is fun to dream.



4 Responses to ““I have a dream””

  1. zamanskym Says:

    Nice list. I agree with most but not with ending tenure which is not a job for life in high schools – it’s due process rights.

    I know of many good teachers (including myself) who would have been fired by unscrupulous, corrupt administrators were it not for due process rights. If you could actually make administrators accountable and responsible in public education then we might be able to remove due process rights.

    I would require that municipalities hire enough people and streamline the due process so that you could either:
    a. get rid of a bad teacher in a timely manner
    b. determine that the teacher is bad and stop harassing them.

    Another great piece on the special:


    • gflint Says:

      Something has to be done to make it easy to get rid of the incompetent and the burnouts. I work at a school without tenure but we have skilled administrators that can be trusted. Public schools often do not have that to rely on as you have already experienced.

  2. gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

    “Disconnect school funding from local taxes.” California mostly did that—the result being that all the schools are underfunded, instead of just the inner-city ones, driving more parents into private schools and forcing the schools into endless fundraising drives (which, of course, are much more successful in rich neighborhoods, perpetuating the inequities that state funding was supposed to eliminate).

    • gflint Says:

      In Montana we get areas voting to not fund schools. Talk about under funded. Education funding is attached to property taxes. Rural schools will always be broke. City schools are well funded. It seems there should be a way to spread the wealth. Odds are, if California is an example, there is not.

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