As we grapple with the minutia of boundaries and enrollment, here's some higher level thinking on education to challenge you.
From Ed Week, "What the Goal of Public Education?", author Tom Segal offers his and others' ideas:
Reform, however, has more to do with the learning experience itself.
What should we be teaching? How do we think about accountability? How do
we balance standards with the complexities of population diversity?
Undoubtedly, technology is typically an offshoot of this dialogue, a
tool through which much of this reform can be delivered and
administered. But they are not the same thing.
Reform is a big fancy buzzword that floats around one particular
concept: what are we trying to get out of this educational experience,
and how do we adjust the current system to reflect these changes?
In your opinion, what is the current goal of the American Public Education System?
What should be the goal of the American Public Education System?
(The US DOE has their own but it doesn't speak to the purpose of public education.)
From Ed Week's Finding Common Ground, "Do Schools Work Enough to Engage Parents?":
Schools sometimes send conflicting messages to parents. One day...they
hold one hand up asking them to come in...and other times hold a hand up
stopping them from entering.
School communication isn't perfect, and
parents aren't always perfect either. Every day a very diverse set of
parents send their kids to school; some of whom want communication every
day and others who could care less if they ever hear from the school at
They refer to a report by Public Agenda that talks about three different groups of parents:
• "Potential transformers -- parents who seem ready to play a bigger role in deciding how schools operate;
• School helpers -- parents who say they could do more to help out at the schools their children attend; and
• Help seekers -- parents who are concerned about their
own children's learning and seem to look for more guidance from their
schools on how to help their children succeed."
Which one are you? (Or, are you one but wish you were another?)
Also, did you know the pushback from parents on testing is because YOU (yes, you) are a union lackey or sheep? The conservative education blog, EAG News, thinks so.
When asked why they oppose the student assessments, “opt-out” parents
offer reasons that read like talking points from a teacher union memo.
Parents claim the standardized assessments are being unfairly used to
evaluate teachers’ classroom performance and that they’re leading to a
narrowing of the curriculum, commonly known as “teaching to the test.”
They also say the tests are evidence that K-12 reform is allowing big corporations to control the education process.
They left out using up classroom time to test, tying up computers and libraries, stress on students, all those things.
And uh oh, it's spreading:
What’s distressing about the “opt-out movement” is that it’s proof
some parents are falling for the unions’ anti-testing propaganda.
The AP reports that the anti-testing sentiment is popping up all
across the country – from Seattle, Washington to Providence, Rhode
Island. The movement appears to be growing, thanks to social media sites
which allow unhappy parents to connect and organize protests.
The AP also notes there are no consequences for parents who keep
their children home on testing day, which means this movement could keep
I can say only one thing. Baaa.
Remember that NY Times op-ed about wealthier parents in wealthier districts and how maybe we should share the wealth? A parent in San Francisco has taken that idea in another direction. From Ed Week:
And although California districts have received increased aid due to a
new state school funding formula this year, Todd David, a father living
in San Francisco, told the San Francisco Examiner in an article on Sept. 22 that parents alone still can't make up for years of funding shortfalls.
So David, along with other local parents, founded edMatch,
a nonprofit organization that asks private companies to match every
dollar raised by parents at local schools. Last year, San Francisco
parents at the district's 114 schools raised a total of $6 million. That
meant that edMatch gave each of those schools an additional $50,000.
For some schools, those edMatch dollars are a much-appreciated bonus.
Parents decide how the additional funds are spent and they report back
to the nonprofit to share their best practices.
Allowing parents to control how edMatch donations are used could
result in some interesting choices. Are San Francisco parents having
iPad versus kiln debates? Most local education foundations work with
school districts to identify which needs will be supported by the money
"The key to school success is more than just money," David told the Examiner, "it's parent involvement that makes the difference."