Tuesday, February 5, 2008

It's all about the budget, or where the money goes reflects one's priorities

The President has announced his budget for the coming year, and surprise! Education spending is flat, healthcare (medicare and medicaid) is cut by $200b and defense spending is up $200b. While I understand we are in a war (much as I hate it), what this Administration is doing to public education and students is killing me. More and more schools are "under corrective action" and they are not getting the support they need to effect the changes that NCLB calls for.

I really have to ask (tongue-in-cheek, of course), where the nation's priorities lie? Test scores don't really tell us what students are learning, and they certainly don't reflect their ability to think critically or not. So many people are on the standards and testing bandwagon, but no one is talking about how students learn, the conditions in which teaching and learning occurs, etc. And few people want to acknowledge the fact that the schools cannot work independently of the larger social and economic realities that are out there. It's what Lawrence Cremin talked about in the 1980's: schools do not operate in a vacuum. They cannot be expected to ameliorate the ills of society alone.

4 comments:

D S Schwartz said...

Not to turn your blog into a political debate, but Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has been trumpeting the same claims as you. She wants to finally fund NCLB, so that state and local school districts can once and for all see if NCLB is good for student achievement or not. Personally, I think the unfunded mandates are what kills education from the ground up. If the state and federal government wish to regulate education, then they should also feel the need to fund the changes, otherwise, how can any new law be properly measured.

Its just like trying to figure out if test scores accurately reflect student achievement. If the funding isn't there, then the tests will ultimately be flawed.

Cherie Pieroni said...

What about mismanaged money? My mother in-law worked in an abbot district. She spoke of the amount of state funding her school received which was spent on computers and high tech equipment that didn't improve the rate at which kids passed or failed.
Is there a way to enact NCLB in every district? Can schools remove the politics and put leaders who care about the children. Can't money be used to fund programs that teach teachers how to inspire student learning. Instead of fundraising for athletic fields, shouldn't schools also fund raise for after school tutoring and enrichment programs.
I agree, we need a change!

KU99 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KU99 said...

I think you hit the nail on the head when you posed the question, where do the nation's priorities lie? Priority is certainly not in education and this probably will not change. New mandates will come and go but no real action to improve educational systems will occur. It may sound pessimistic and educators try to maintain hope but there is no panacea to the problems that exist in our public educational systems. Society must change before education sees any real improvement.