Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

December 27, 2006

Scott Parks Public Education Wish List

Filed under: Accountability, education reporting, Sydney McGee — texased @ 7:33 pm

Scott Parks of the Dallas Morning News has a wish list for Texas education. Some highlights follow:

Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Education Columnist Scott Parks:

• Thought leaders in public education will abandon the zany notion that all children must be prepared for college. They will refocus on how to provide solid vocational education programs for students who want to start careers after high school.

And spare us new competitiveness initiatives such as 4×4.

• Every student will get a textbook as required by law. Secondary schools will stop withholding textbooks because they fear too many students will lose or damage them.

Maybe even in El Paso

• Lawmakers blinded by the computer hardware and software lobby will stop advocating the idea that laptops should replace textbooks.

You know what’s funny, as computer programmer I probably have more invested in books on programming than the related software.

• Parents will stop jumping to the conclusion that the evil teacher is to blame when little Johnny gets a bad grade or gets disciplined. Instead, they start with the assumption that the teacher is right and go from there.

Well, Parks is from Dallas, land of the wealthy suburban districts so I can see how this would play in his area. Around here I’ve seen too many cases of parents being intimidated by “professional” educators in accepting situations that should never be accepted. It seems to me the parents in question tend to be those expecting their kids to go to college and no teacher is going to stand in their way. The perfect example was the parent who came in to complain about his daughter’s failing grade in her German III class. The parent expected the teacher to change the grade because otherwise she wouldn’t be able to go to A&M. It didn’t matter that the student didn’t lift a finger all semester.

• School board members will reject Texas Association of School Boards brainwashing. They will regularly bypass the superintendent to visit campuses and to speak with teachers and staff to find out what’s really going on in schools.

Ohhh, like the Frisco Board members who never deviated from their support of Rick Reedy in regard to the whole Sydney McGee mess?

• School boards, the elected representatives of the people, will reject the TASB concept that they are on “a team” with the superintendent as “quarterback.” Instead, they will act like bosses and treat the superintendent like a valued employee. The conceptual difference is small but important.

I would argue that the difference is even more important when you consider the financial costs of having a superintendent that isn’t accountable for his or her actions. Or are lawsuit settlements just added into the personnel costs of superintendents?

It’s a good column, definitely worth the time to read.


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