Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A fix for education

Last week I was on vacation and entered into a discussion about the debt crisis. Discussion moved over to the topic of education and specifically some ways to "fix" education. A close friend, who tends to be more liberal than me, offered some ideas I found intriguing. I promised to post them here to see if I got any response.

The first suggestion was regarding pay and benefits. As an SC teacher, my friend is an SC employee and she feels that the people who make decisions for SC education should be on the same pay and benefits plan. This would be somewhat tricky as some of the decisions are made by federal employees (US Senators and US Representatives, Department of Education, etc.), and other decisions are already made by SC employees (SC State Department of Education). But this is a good idea for all areas of government, put them on the same pay and benefit schedule as the people they govern.

The second idea she had was regarding office term limits. Specifically, any administrator - from principals on up - should be limited to 5 years in a particular position. After that time, they have to return to the class room. I specifically asked if this included our local district superintendent (who is well thought of in both conservative and liberal camps) and she answered yes. The idea is to make these people aware of the impact of their decisions.

So what do you think? Would this help education? Would schools do better or cost less? What impact would it have in your area?


LL said...

I don't think that returning administrators to the classroom would do much to benefit the system. There are management skill sets that are valuable in and of themselves. (a great manager and leader might not even be a particularly effective teacher and the other way around)

Education should be about learning but at present it's more about pumping information into kids to pass the next milestone test mandated by the government. I'm not convinced that's an effective way to do it.

Randy said...

LL, I agree a great manager or leader may not be an effective teacher. However, a lot of these leaders came from the class room. I've personally seen disasters when a school superintendent tried to manage the district the way businesses are managed. It simply doesn't work.

How would you address the concern of administrators not understanding the impact of their decisions?