(I need to dash out of the house. I've been in denial about Christmas for too long and I really need to buy some gifts, but before I brave the highways and the malls, I want to point you to an excellent article by Andrew Rotherham in Time Magazine.)
Rotherham writes that it is time to sensibly examine and reign in the costs of education.
He says that we should examine where resources are going and spend wisely. For example, small class size is appropriate for at-risk kids in the lower grades, but might not be appropriate in other situations. Perhaps we should do more with online learning. I would have liked to see other suggestions.
The biggest issue is why education funding is so poorly managed. It's because education is largely a state and local matter. Arne Duncan really has no control over what my school district spends money on. There isn't anyone overseeing expenditures in local towns. School boards spend money and release complicated and misleading budgets, which parents and other taxpayers can't understand. Parents and even school leaders have very poor understanding of what education programs work and what don't.
On Tuesday, I had a very frustrating conversation with school and parent leaders this week about how money would be better spent on writing workshops, rather than on more money for technology for the classroom, when we already have tons of computers and smart boards that are gathering dust in the back of the classroom. FYI, when someone tells you that they "love your passion," they are really saying that they think you are crazy.
We need leadership on education. Someone to provide guidance to local schools about spending priorities and smart education policy. They are overwhelmed, misinformed, and confused.