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Can changes in D.C. help?

February 2, 2010

I know it’s not likely to mean much very soon here in Saline, but there are some fundamental changes coming down the pipe from Washington D.C. We are moving from NCLB (No Child Left Behind) to RTTT (Race to the Top).  Or, as I like to call it….. from education policy Texas style to Chicago style…..  which if we were talking about pizza, would be great!

It’s still too early to tell what it all means, but it is interesting as all of us in public education watch the process unfold.  Today there was an interesting OP-ED  in the New York Times about the issue. It talked about the transition and the promise any change process holds.  I am hopeful that we can shift the focus to deep understanding, 21st Century skills with an integrated/project-based approach.  The piece notes,

Imagine, for instance, a third-grade classroom that was free of the laundry list of goals currently harnessing our teachers and students, and that was devoted instead to just a few narrowly defined and deeply focused goals.

In these difficult times where most of our conversations are about what we can’t do – it’s exciting to think about a brighter future for us all.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Kelly Saiya-Cork permalink
    February 5, 2010 7:16 pm

    No. Fundamentally, DC has very little to do with what occurs in a school district like Saline. The ability of the school board, administrators and teachers to communicate and enforce a workable budget is the only true variable to changing our schools for the better.

    The money coming from DC is very minimal to school districts our size and of our economic status. Unless national standards are embraced for education in the United States, the federal government will never be the main source of SAS improvement.

    We’re on our own, and probably better off for it. It leaves us with more freedom. Reduce all salaries below $100,000.00 for at least 2 years, reduce the numbers of buildings we utilize and communicate the SAS needs effectively to the community at large and then we’ll be heading in the right direction.

  2. Matt permalink
    February 8, 2010 9:03 am

    I think to deny that Washington DC’s education policy has great effects on our school district is naive. The requirements of the Department of Education has had significant effects in the classroom – the importance of standardized test scores, the increased obligation of school districts towards special needs students (but not the high achievers), the close relationship with the national teachers union. I do not believe there will be a noticeable difference between President Bush and President Obama – both will be big government policies that take away freedoms from local school district to implement their own policies. As much as we’d like to say “we’re on our own…with more freedom”, look at all the legislation in place that gives us strict limits on what money can spend, where we can spend it, and when we can spend it.

    As for reducing all salaries below a certain pay limit – last time I checked, we live in America with a free market. I’m all for removing teachers who do not perform, but setting a pay cut undermines basic market principles. The last thing we need our school district doing during a budget crisis is trying to fight the market.

  3. Kelly Saiya-Cork permalink
    February 8, 2010 9:39 pm

    Well, there is naive, and then there is paying the bills and responding with the market. Through out the world top salary employees are receiving less money. Bonuses and perks have been taken back from employees at every pay scale. To think that there isn’t a limit to how much the tax payers of Saline Area School District can pay is naive. A limit must be made if accounts are to balance. The question is, at what level should we draw the line for the highest wage earners? Should the cap be $50,000.00, $75,000.00, $90,000.00, $100,000.00, $125,000.00, $135,000.00, $150,000.00, $200,000.00, $500,000.00? A line must be made.

    As for myself, I am surrounded by highly skilled and educated workers that have master degrees and PhD’s whom do not make over $45,000.00. There were promises of much higher salaries before the wars began and the economy went bust. But that was then and this is a different world with different rules. Belt tightening is a must in 2010.

    All school employee must be paid fairly. Not only does this mean that no one should earn less than $42,000.00 in the 2010 free market economy, it also means that there must be an upper limit to accomodate the market. To do other wise is fighting against the markets of 2010. In my opinion, when students go without books, no one should be paid more than $100,000.00.

    In my opinion, more attention should be paid to what does not occur in Lansing, than what little funds Washington DC can trickle up to Saline, MI.

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