Monday, December 5, 2016

An Anti-Trump Agenda For American Education | The Huffington Post

An Anti-Trump Agenda For American Education | The Huffington Post:

An Anti-Trump Agenda For American Education


It is not enough to be a critic. If educators, parents, and students, and progressive citizens are going to transform public education in the United States we have to develop an Anti-Trump Agenda and build an Anti-Trump social movement.
Periodically I am asked, somewhat suspiciously, “What would you do if educational decisions were up to you?” In the Wizard of Oz, the Cowardly Lion sings about all the great things he would do “If I were King of the Forest.” I am even less likely to be in a position to reshape education in the United States any time soon than let’s say Donald Trump was going to be elected President or the Cubs to win the World Series, but these things happen, so let me lay out what I see as a starting point for an anti-Trump education agenda.

These are twelve broad ideas to transform education in the United States as part of a broader movement for progressive social change. To borrow from Bernie Sanders, these changes would be “huge” and they will probably require a political revolution.
1. The United States needs a national educational system. Nations with the most successful schools, South Korea, Japan, Finland, all have national systems. A national system makes it harder to ignore the education of students from racial and ethnic minority groups, inner-city youth, and underserved geographic regions. This does not mean all local curriculum and teaching variation will be discarded. It does mean that states and localities that want to go a different path will have to justify decisions.
2. The United States needs a national dialogue about the purpose of education. The American people have had bad experiences with Common Core and high-stakes testing because they were imposed from above by politicians aligned with publishers, testing companies, wealthy corporate “reformers,” and hedge fund managers looking to make a buck off of kids and the schools. Democratic Party support for Common Core and high-stakes testing was one of the factors feeding into pro-Trump anti-federal hysteria.
Before we have another wave of “reforms,” bottom-up ground level education assemblies across the country must discuss what school should look like for our children. We should examine things like: “How do children learn to read?” “What does ‘college and career ready’ mean?” “What is important to know and why?” “What makes a good citizen?” “What are the 21st century jobs students are preparing for?”
Education assemblies can become models for all sorts of community-based decision-making. I would invite educators and require politicians to participate in the assemblies, but bar anyone on a corporate or foundation payroll who was not a local resident. I am not a big technology fan, but we could probably include live streaming and interactive programs.
3. The United States needs a universal school funding system. Right now in richer school districts more money is spent per student than in poorer school An Anti-Trump Agenda For American Education | The Huffington Post:


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