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  • Morning Bell: Where Will the Accountability Come From?

    Speaking in Dayton, Ohio, yesterday, Barack Obama hit the right rhetorical notes on the current state of education in the United States:

    If we want to keep building the cars of the future here in America, then we can’t afford to see the number of Ph.D.s in engineering climbing in China, South Korea and Japan even as it’s dropped here in the United States. We can’t afford a future where our high school students rank near the bottom in — in math and science among industrialized countries, and our high school drop-out rate is one of the highest in the industrialized world.

    At times he even voiced conservatives themes on education reform, including:

    We need a new vision for a 21st century education — one where we aren’t just supporting existing schools, but spurring innovation.

    And:

    Now, one one of the things that we’re going to have to do — and this is something that I know sometimes is difficult — but teachers who are doing a poor job, they’ve got to get extra support. But if they don’t improve, then they have to be replaced.

    And finally:

    This leads me to my final point. As president, I will lead a new era of accountability in education.

    As great as all this rhetoric is, the details on how this “new era of accountability” will be brought into reality are extremely vague. For example, Obama criticizes standardized tests, saying: “I don’t want teachers to the — teaching to the test. I don’t want them uninspired and I don’t want our students uninspired.” But what alternative does Obama offer to measure success? He says: “[L]et’s help our teachers and our principals develop a curriculum and assessments that teach our kids to become not just good test-takers. We need assessments that can improve achievement by including the kinds of research and scientific investigation and problem-solving that our children will need to compete in a 21st century knowledge economy.” Got that? Obama wants accountability, but not based off standardized tests. Instead he wants accountability based off some unidentified mechanism that has not yet even been invented.

    Obama was 100% right about one thing: “In the end, responsibility for our children’s success doesn’t start in Washington, it starts in our homes. It starts in our families.” That is where accountability in education has to come from: parents. Conservatives have long understood that the key to reforming education is expanding parental power in education.

    Research shows that when families are allowed to choose their children’s schools, academic achievement rises. Researcher Patrick Wolf writes: “The high quality studies on school voucher programs generally reach positive conclusions about vouchers…. Of the ten separate analyzes of data from the ‘gold standard’ experimental studies of voucher programs, nine conclude that some or all of the participants benefited academically from using a voucher to attend private school.”

    To help equip parents everywhere with the tools to better take advantage of the educational options currently available, The Heritage Foundation released a “Parent’s Guide to Education Reform” this week. In most American communities, students are assigned to schools based on where they live. Because lower-income families can’t afford that choice, they have little power to decide where their children will go to school. As a result, there are essentially two education systems — one for families who can afford to live near good public schools or pay for private school (after paying taxes to support public schools) and the other for families who can’t afford to choose where they live. In recent decades, a growing number of states and communities have given families greater freedom to choose their children’s schools.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to Morning Bell: Where Will the Accountability Come From?

    1. Firoz Mistry -- Bato says:

      Writing about Academic Achievements and Children's Education, Patrick Wolf "of ten analyzes …" demonstrates the very problem.

      Shouldn't this word be Analyses? I doubt, that it was purposely inserted to illustrate some mute point. If so, I don't get it.

    2. Frank Roberts, Gaine says:

      Reagan wanted to do away with the Dept Education because he could see that it removed the parents away from the schools and replaced them with beurocrats. Since then we have poured more and more tax dollars into a problem that has only gotten worse.

      Money is not the answer, local control is. Let parents feel like they make a difference to the schools and take the beurocratic handcuffs off the scholl boards.

    3. Mike, Lewisville, NC says:

      Obama and education reform is a sad sick joke!! Take a look at Chicago public schools in the neighborhood where he served as a community organizer and state senator, please, please tell us where this man has made a difference, an impact and did something beside help the CTU maintain their status quo while 27 kids were murdered in Chicago public schools during the last school year, where was obama, what was his response. Pretty words…

    4. Gregory A. Baumgartn says:

      With regard to Education, I say teach no graded classes other than Reading, Writing (including spelling and basic English skills),and Arithmetic for a students first four or five years of schooling. Until these basic skills are mastered, it makes no sence to teach them sciences, History, or social studies. If they don't have the skills to understand what they are being taught, nothing will be retained and they will quickly become bored and uninterested. BASICS FIRST!! Honestly, who really remembers much of what they were taught in 3rd or 4th grade science, or history, yet alone the earlier grades. Offer sciences and History as ungraded ELECTIVES and the students can choose to take them or not.

    5. MIKE, NEWARK NJ says:

      I ATTENDED SCHOOL IN THE 50'S AND 60'S. I RUMAGED THROUGH MY MEMORY, HIT THE REWIND BUTTON,AND TEACHERS WERE TEACHING TO THE TEST THEN. I RECALL WRITE THIS DOWN, YOU'LL SEE IT ON THE TEST. MAKE SURE YOU READ THIS , IT MIGHT BE ON YOUR EXAM. I'M SURE IF YOU GO BACK TO ARISTOTLE, HE WAS TEACHING TO THE TEST. TEACHING TO THE TEST IS NOT THE PROBLEM, READING AND UNDERSTANDING THE TEST JUST MIGHT BE THE PROBLEM.

    6. Danny in Cincinnati says:

      Wow he actually said something that i agree with. That is to get rid of standardized testing. These test do nothing but give us a false reading on the quailty of education. Back when I was in school teachers gave grades on the work accomplished and you had to pass multiple test to pass.

      Standardized testing is like taking a 16 year and giving them a drivers license with just one test and then letting them drive in Nascar.

      We need to improve education from the beginning

      start in elementary school and stop teaching all of the mushy feel good intitlement crap that they teach now. Require teachers to set goals and teachers must have the final say so on pass fail.

      Testing children consistently insures success testing once and only insure the ability to pass one test.

      Standardized testing does not make the SAT scores go up good teaching does.

      Judge schools on what the graduates do SAT scores college graduation/attendance.

    7. jim alexanderson hig says:

      If opec wants to screw us then let saudi's royal family go without our protection then when they get killed go take thier oil by force, oh I forgot obama can go give them a hug and talk it out and gas will be a dollar a gallon, talk to bin-ladin too and hug him and you will feel a knife in your back, if no muslum you are an infidel and must die.

    8. Pingback: Morning Bell: Where Will the Accountability Come From? : thegameoflove

    9. jim alexanderson highland in. says:

      We need obama to give everyone a hug then talk, Saudi’s royal family should not get our protection any more, obama can give osama a hug then pull the knife out of his back, and we should give degrees to people who are too poor/lazy to earn them, then hijack some tankers and we will have some oil, of coarse we cannot pump and refine our own because of ugh, ugh, the libs set our energy policy just wait and see what happens if osamabama (kennedy’s name not mine) gets elected you think we are at war now?

    10. Don in Virginia says:

      Face the facts,lets start with NO KID LEFT BEHIND! How can one not see the impact. No problem I will pass anyway,all I have to do is be there. The teachers are crippled,it is not their doing,just pass them through. How about that? This is what is going on in our school system, let us be sure there are no hurt feelings! This nation has always had an outstanding educational base. To use this as an election issue is the same bs as the rest of what I have from b HUSSEIN o, THIS SHOULD HAVE ALREADY BEEN TAKEN CARE OF . You can not blame the teachers if passing students through is required! The children have to grow up sometime. If a single parent with no time to watch and help the child, use some birth control. How about that? GROW UP!

    11. Don in Virginia says:

      OIL, get rid of the bankers and let all know we have options. May take some time,will not be as long as what you are being told!! If we start being what we are the group of bankers(federal reserve) will have our dept being paid off and then LOOK OUT! When this takes place and our President can kick them out and The United States prints our own money as required and not pay interest on money we now borrow(WHICH THEY DO NOT HAVE,WHY THEY PRINT THEIR OWN). The housing problem we are supposed to have would not be there. Just the moneychangers doing their thing to get all they can from our work.

    12. Sybil, La. says:

      How can you educate a child who refuses to learn? Sit in on some of the public school classrooms & watch what happens. Teachers are ignored and if the troublemaker is confronted, the teacher is threatened. I've personally heard from teachers, some of whom are my friends and relatives, about the nightmare of trying to teach these kids. Some are terrified of the students, some just quit because they can't take it anymore. The parents & lawyers are to blame. If you look menacing at one of these kids, they threaten to sue, and there are plenty of lawers waiting in the wings. The principles & school boards are scared to death of being sued. But lets just keep throwing money to the education systems & watch it go down the drain. If parents can't control their kids and give them incentives to learn & grow into productive adults, then the do nothing congress should pass some effective laws, prohibiting lawsuits from being filed on teachers, principals & school boards if they do the parents job. With the exception of extreme crulty, a teacher should be allowed to controll unruly children without the worry of a lawsuit. I've heard it time and again, "my child is a good child,he wouldn't do that. It's the teachers fault". We're too politically correct in this country. Always worried what somebody thinks of us if we say something that offends someone else. Bull!

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