"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Role of Education in the Next Election

EducationNext covered the likely Republican Presidential candidates and their record on education, where they stood on: school choice, common core standards, charter schools, Dept of Ed, per pupil spending, unions etc. The picture is foggy at best as GOPers search for a voice on the direction for education.

Allison Sherry reported, "Republicans face two quandaries regarding education policy: They need to distinguish their positions from Obama’s centrist education reforms, and they need to win over the Republican base, fueled by some Tea Party energy, that will push for the U.S. Department of Education to be dismantled altogether." There is no clear education platform among the candidates, but that may be partly explained by the fact that there is no consensus among the base as to what the basic purpose of public education is. Until we agree what it is supposed to do, it will be difficult to determine if public education is getting the job done.

Among the many elucidated purposes of education in this country are:

  • to prepare our young people with the highest possible preparation wherever they come from, wherever they are headed,
  • to ensure that all students graduate from high school ready for college and career and prepared to complete a postsecondary degree or certificate with value in the workplace.
  • to provide a thorough understanding of and facility with the tools needed for a lifetime of learning.
  • to provide US industry with a well trained workforce to ensure the continued growth of the US economy.
  • to provide instruction on being a successful citizen, able to meet all challenges: technical, civic, spiritual and community that can be expected in life.
The goal of education must be fleshed out so that candidate's can be evaluated on their position and record relative to that goal. What would you say is the purpose of public (k-12) education in the United States?

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