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Big, bold leadership (and more hours in the day)

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Thank you, Mr. Duncan, for saying clearly in your Time interview what needed to be said:
1) Lengthen time in school: You point out that many high performing schools have longer school days and Saturday classes, and many students do not have a home environment conducive to afterschool productivity. You highlight that our economic competitors India and China are going to school 25% to 30% more than we are.
2) Charter schools: You espouse choice, rigorous competition for entry, and greater accountability. Importantly, you stress that charter schools should be spared the morass of education bureaucracy. From the United Nations to the local school district, bureaucracy can stymie the legions with nothing but the best intentions.
3) No Child Left Behind: 50 different states, 50 different standards. Why not set a common bar, and give every district the freedom to achieve it how they deem best? Delightful.
4) Tenure: You dodged this a bit. Remind me again why primary and secondary school teachers have tenure? We need to have a national discussion on how tenure improves student achievement. Why should high-performing excellent teachers get booted just because someone lower performing has been around longer? Sure, New Hampshire's Teacher of the Year is an extreme case, even a fluke perhaps. But let this be a lesson to us that performance and authentic student growth matters the most and should trump the number of years someone has been in the district.

Mr. Duncan, I may not agree with you on everything, but I find your interview ideas compelling. The time for innovation and movement is now. Here’s to hoping your smart interview translates into bold leadership.

Readers: ‘Thanks’ or ‘No Thanks’ to Mr. Duncan’s ideas?

4 Comments

He makes a lot of sense! Btw, a nicely written blog entry. Crisp and thoughtful. Keep up the good work Jessica!

I agree with the majority of what was said. I must take issue with the first point.

If a school is performing poorly, then more time spent in school will solve nothing.

We must focus of quality rather than quantity, work smarter instead of harder.

1) Lengthen time in school: No! More of the same does not fix what's broken.

2) Charter schools: Yes! Choice and competition always help.

3) No Child Left Behind: Yes! A common NATIONAL BASIC bar, unchanging! Reading, Writing and 'Rithmatic do NOT change every year, so why are the state curriculums constantly being diddled with? ONE CORE basic for ALL, and the rest up to the INDIVIDUAL teachers. Basic History, Geography, and Science Methodology can be quantified up to a 10th grade level for ALL Americans, and all the rest up to the INDIVIDUAL teacher. Past 10th grade, give options for scholarship, college/high school combo, apprenticeships, vo-tech, travel or free time.

4) Tenure: No! It's reasonable for employees to have some kind of dependability, but not lifetime "no matter what you do" tenure.

Cindy,
Agree with you, except point 1. If we improved schools, would you still object to a longer school day? It seems there are charter schools that have longer days and some Saturday classes, and it apparently works for them. Again, if the schools are improved, do you still disagree with longer school days?

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Recent Comments

  • Patty: Cindy, Agree with you, except point 1. If we improved read more
  • Cindy Fox: 1) Lengthen time in school: No! More of the same read more
  • deviger: I agree with the majority of what was said. I read more
  • Patty: He makes a lot of sense! Btw, a nicely written read more

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