Wednesday, July 30, 2008

30July2008 Education and National Candidates

Viewing groups' ratings of presidential candidates and their v.p.s on education got me thinking today. I don't want a "pro" or "anti" education president! I want the national candidates to quit using education to try to get elected! The national government has tied us in knots, and it hasn't improved education.

What we need is for the national government to GET OUT of education. Give back to the states the billions they take and then partially dish back out with strong cords attached. Get out of our way and let us, the states and local people, do something WORTH doing - and NOT DO so many things of lesser priority that some national group was able to push through congress or the courts.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

15July2008 Competition

Competition can be quite a motivator when it is used as a means to an end. When it becomes the end in itself, it becomes quite destructive. For example, Alpine School District's knowledge bowl academic competition motivates participating students to learn as much as 6 grades ahead of where they are in school in a particular subject every year. Educators who think that competition is harmful to kids' are wrong.

On the other hand, some conservatives believe that competition is the silver bullet that will solve all of education's problems. They try to implement that with merit pay and/or vouchers. In these cases competition becomes destructive and interferes with good education. It turns educators away from focusing on the children. Instead they are forced to focus on competing - for money, for awards, etc. Competition then becomes the end in itself and defeats the purpose it was supposed to help.