Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Education Reform

by Richard Crews
In an Op Ed in the N.Y. Times today (Dec. 6, 2011), the authors (Frederick M. Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, and Linda Darling-Hammond, a professor of education at Stanford) write that there are four--and only four--areas of education in which the federal government can usefully intervene.

"First is encouraging transparency for school performance and spending.... States should be required to report school- and district-level spending; the resources students receive should be disclosed, not only their achievement."

"Second is ensuring that basic constitutional protections are respected...to illuminate how disadvantaged or vulnerable populations--like black and Hispanic students and children from poor families--are doing."

"Third is supporting basic research...[for example:] brain science, language acquisition, or the impact of computer-assisted tutoring."

"Finally [is providing] voluntary, competitive federal grants that support innovation while providing political cover for school boards, union leaders, and others to throw off anachronistic routines."

All else, Hess and Darling-Hammond claim, deteriorates to confusing, counter-productive micromanagement.