Regardless of the unquestionable parallel course run by achievement and socio-economic status, the governor, his education commissioner, and some democrats in the legislature continue to build a house of cards with all the proposed reforms of tenure, teacher performance tests, and bankrolling private schools with public funds.
Searching for the inefficient teacher for this crowd of “Reformers” has become the equivalent of the search for the Loch Ness Monster.
Then we have “No Child Left Behind” which essentially puts the classrooms in convoy mode, holding the pace to the slowest element. The classrooms should aim for the stars and instead they are forced to aim for the lowest common denominator.
As the “Reformers” want it, New Jersey classrooms will become centers dedicated to pass standardized tests and schools will become nests of fear, insecurity, snooping, suspicion, and political patronage. The joy of educating will become a thing of the past, like the model T.
I do not believe that social programs eradicate poverty. Social program are a palliative like I take aspirine when my head hurts. I believe that eradicating poverty is a long process which begins with abolishing entire government layers, consolidating services, reforming our tax code to spur the economy, higher wages, and at the same time increasing the time students spend in school. The increase in schooling should probably be proportional to the level of deficiency encountered in a given group. But ultimately all students in New Jersey should study more – meaning longer time dedicated to education – every year.
There is no substitute for education but at the same time we should be able to discern which children should go on toward an academic and college education and which ones should move into technical and construction trades, apprenticeships, etc. Not being an educator, I hesitate to present a point of separation although some European countries do toward the end of the equivalent of our middle school.
Closing the achievement gap – and the economic gap – will be an almost generational process but I am willing to start setting up the foundations.
I want to end this article with a piece of good news. Let’s hope this continues: