Politics in US Education

You might think- “I teach overseas, so why should I care?”

or…

“I’m not an American, so it doesn’t matter.”

Oh, but it does.  NCLB may not have fixed any of the problems in the US education system (arguably, it’s only created more), but it’s indelible stamp on education has been made:  accountability.  We’re feeling that here now!  It doesn’t matter that we teach overseas or that we intend to stay overseas.  Current trends in US education will effect us, whether we want them to or not.

So what’s the current buzz?  There are two pretty big topics for educational reform now in addition to accountability.  Below are some articles that highlight the issues.

Teacher Quality

Building a Better Teacher

This article is long, but worth the read. There is accompanying video that is not to be missed!

Some of the issues brought up in the article include:

  • Innate ability to teach vs. trying to teach people how to teach
  • The impact of teacher merit-pay on student achievement
  • Creating incentives to bring top caliber individuals into the classrooms
  • Evaluating current teacher-training programs
  • Does good classroom management ensure good instruction?
  • Rethinking the way we teach, and many more thought provoking issues are brought up in this article.

National Standards

Yes, the US is finally embarking on a mission to write National Standards.  For our colleagues from down under, this may seem a surprise (or not) that we have no national standards.  All those standardized tests you hear about?  Different in every state!

So what’s the big deal?  It’s a good idea, right? Maybe, maybe not.  The debate rages on.  There are lots of opinionators out there ready to weigh in, but, if you want to form your own opinion first,  you can peruse a draft of the standards here and then read a balanced article about the pros and cons.

To get a sense of how it’s all being received, you can check out this op-ed piece and some of the letters to the editor the NYTimes got in response.  And then, just for some variety, check out this piece from the Washington Post.  I know!  The Washington Post.  It’s actually my favorite piece in the bunch- I agree with the author 100 percent.

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