And the same goes for the “education reform” promoted by our current governor and those who are transforming education into a for-profit business.
As New Jersey abandons the NCLB model, we may lose all federal funding for education.
The education program for New Jersey that I will propose is shaping up like this:
1. Full day kindergarten (that is a reversal from my previous beliefs but I have been converted) with the regular school hours and year currently in effect.
2. Beginning with first grade, we will have longer school days and years; the latter up to 220 days. There will be no graded examinations until 3rd. grade but there will be periodic unannounced student-evaluation examinations. Students who under-perform in those examinations can be submitted to remedial programs in the deficient subject. Up to 3rd grade, all students will pass grade. Graded, passing examinations begin at 3rd grade.
3. A comprehensive placement examination at the end of 9th grade which will determine which students will continue in an academic program geared for college and which will be steered toward polytechnic and trade schools. The criteria for those determinations are to be developed by the New Jersey Board of Education.
4. Full state support for both higher education at university level and the alternative polytechnic and trade schools. In both cases, the state is to seek the advice and active involvement of corporations.
5. The cases of special education: This is my opinion and is not necessarily what will be done. Experts in special education will have the ultimate say in this issue. But I believe there can not be a one-fits-all rule when we deal with special cases. Some special education students may slow the progress of an entire class and at the same time feel outcast. Special education cases must be decided on a case-by-case basis whether they can attend regular classes or attend classes tailored to their needs and abilities.
6. Standardized examinations geared toward teacher evaluation are out. The primary form of teacher evaluation will be direct class observation.
7. Charter schools, vouchers, and other forms of public financing of for-profit schooling will be gradually phased out. However, state financial aid will be available for qualifying students wishing to attend private universities.
8. At the public university level, academics and research will be the predominant goals and thus will recieve the bulk of resources.