In the perpetual battle to reform America’s defunct education system, it is interesting to see how “new” interests are entering the fray bringing with them millions of dollars and an insatiable taste for political paralysis. The Huffington Post article, “America’s Education Reform Lobby Makes it Presence Known at the Voting Booth,” details how Washington insiders, like former DC Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, are raising money to engage in local politics. While despising established groups like the National Education Association, they are essentially engaging in the same behavior, albeit, to a different end.
I believe Einstein had a word for doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result – insanity.
As a parent of two school-aged-boys who have, by choice, gone from elite DC private schools to public education in California the way we educate children is not serving them well at any level. While money can buy the illusion of “quality,” as a college professor at one the country’s top universities, my firsthand experience shows me that not only are more students unable to perform in the classroom, they lack passion, inspiration, and drive to do anything beyond getting a piece of paper and the high-paying job it will, supposedly, guarantee.
If we are going improve our education system, it will not happen in pitched political battles. Like the innovations that moved us from paper correspondence to e-mails, or from desktop computers to mobile devices, we will not “re-create” education by legislative edict – it will come from fundamental transformation that could easily begin by involving those iPod wielding, texting, and very educationally bored kids…I have no doubt that their innovations will look nothing like what is currently being debated and certainly couldn’t be any more crazy.