There are times when we stand at a crossroad. A road goes to the left. A road goes to the right. Both leading in the same general direction… Which to take?
We are currently considering how best to educate our children.. On one hand we have the business model, which is one size fits all and those who don’t make it, too bad…
The other is the spiritual (for lack of a better model). One that says the best education is one that challenges a child to be all that he can be, but accepts that child can take it any direction he sees fit to choose…
The proper terms for these two methods are Common Core, and Montessori.
In 2007, Common Core was pushed by the worlds wealthiest man, privately funding ($238 million) every think-thank that came up with a Common Core agenda.
In 1907 Montessori began experimenting in the poorest regions of Rome, literally among the poorest of the poor. Within 2 years, her single classroom had become world-famous. Something marvelous was going on there…
Today in 2014, Montessori schools flourish in nations on every continent. Her classroom has be copied to teach every nationality, every race. Today in 2014, Common Core has been refused only four years after its inception, by a majority of states and is facing increasing new criticism with every new school year.
Some Montessori schools are dirt poor, literally taught on dirt floors. Others charge $25,000 tuition per year… But in both, the same standards are being taught, a true common core embedded in every student who goes through the Montessori process.
The main difference between these two novel and innovative methods, is that Montessori did not create her educational theories and then work to put them into practice. Just the opposite! Montessori created her practice and then pulled out of that process, her educational theories.
She observed the children, experimented, recorded the results, and then she created her theories. Those theories were not conjecture for her, because they were based on observable data, the kids themselves. Not surprisingly, scientists have since verified nearly every theory she posited. And at the “core” of Montessori’s method was and is a simple maxim: Follow the child.
(You already know how well the Bill and Melinda Gates top down approach is working.)
So we are at the crossroads and ready to make a choice. We can choose to continue down the path we started, one of standardized tests, and forcing teachers to teach to that test to keep their jobs…. As other states abandon the Common Core, Delaware can continue onward and hope to be at best near the top of mediocrity. or at least try very hard to keep from being last.
Or we can scrap what we have and try to knock Massachusetts of its top spot as being the best. To do so means we have to try something different. Something time tested and something that works…
If Delaware truly wants to be the first state in education, it can readily do so. It simply needs to put resources in the hands of teachers and allow the focus to be on each child and nothing else… The formula for such as been stated over and over and over… We know how to do it…
A) 11:1 student teacher ratio across k-5 and 9th Grades in schools having 50% levels eligible for reduced lunch .
B) Tax the top 1% fairly to pay for funding of any increased costs.
C) Dissolve teacher accountability from test scores. Use standardized tests solely as a tool to see what a child has missed and what he needs to learn to fill in those holes. Then patch those holes.
D) Divorce Charter Schools from per pupil funding and pay for them directly per line item in the state budget, as has been done for vocational schools since their inception. A new Charter school opening should not impinge even slightly upon all others remaining in public schools!
E) Let teachers teach. Hold teachers accountable for getting their 11 students to perform at the best of their abilities. After all they too just as the DOE should be allowed to be rated based upon their fidelity of implementation…
There is absolutely no reason Delaware cannot be first in education… We need to pivot away from the top down imposed Common Core, and work with what has worked very well before….
We can be the best. We can do this… Unfortunately to do so, we need to get rid of our biggest hang up… And our biggest hangup is our current leadership… Poor leadership is sending America’s future into the spittoon.
The priority zone of 6 schools does not show good leadership.. It shows bad leadership. Good leadership would see what works and do that first. Bad leadership does what it wants and hopes it works…..