Thoughts on reforming American education
Regarding the April 24 article, "Schools fall short despite 25 years of reform": Our education system is guided by archaic unionism. Unionism, collectivism, holds the group, not the individual, as primary. Our largest local school district spends a huge proportion of its budget on staffing and administration and protecting those jobs instead of funding teachers and schools. Collectivism is protectionism and is the opposite of free-market thinking. Collectivism begets mediocrity. We can change this first by addressing the value of unions in our school system.
Regarding the recent article on education reform: Many educational reformers recommend better teacher compensation and training as key components to regaining lost ground in our competition with other industrialized nations. Reinstating federal tax deductions for required coursework for updating or keeping teaching licenses would be a start in addressing these components. Many states mandate that teachers earn a master's degree within as little as five years after beginning their teaching careers. Educators are taught that high expectations for achievement necessitate high support. This wisdom should be applied by giving tax deductions to teachers for required coursework.
Regarding the recent article on education: Since I started teaching in 1972, it seems that just about every year or two a new method is presented to the educational system that is going to "turn it around." At this point, nothing has been turned around, and the same stale arguments for improving education are offered like "boost teacher training and pay." When children graduate, they have spent only 9 percent of their life within a school setting and 91 percent elsewhere. It is the elsewhere that needs to be overhauled.
The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.