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My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
|and to two smart opinion pieces in the Rocky this morning.|
1. Early Education's Benefits Illusory
Gov. Bill Ritter's P-20 Education Coordinating Council is advocating an expansion of government into early childhood education to the tune of nearly $300 million . . .
. . . the preponderance of research on childhood well-being shows quite the opposite: Children are best raised by a loving parent, at home, and there is no benefit to earlier formal education. For example, the National Center for Education Statistics' study of 22,000 kindergarteners showed only small differences between half-day and full-day kindergarteners on academic achievement and, by the end of the third grade, that difference had completely disappeared. Other studies show a similar "fade out" effect.
Between 1965 and 2005 preschool enrollment in the U.S. soared from just 16 percent to 66 percent, yet test scores during this period have either remained flat or declined.
Once again, we seem to be headed--okay, when I say "we" I mean the liberals who are in charge right now--we seem to be headed down a road where we're about to make a massive investment in something that DOES NOT WORK. But it makes us feel good; it makes us feel like we're doing something.
Yeah, we're doing something--we're wasting money.
2. Don't Neuter the State's School Report Cards
Gov. Bill Ritter pointedly upstaged the annual release of the state's school report cards this week by holding a separate press conference to announce a package of education proposals for next year's legislature. At the same time he signaled his sympathy with longstanding critics.
We only hope his sympathy has its limits. Some of those critics, we regret to say, simply don't like the idea of providing parents with the information they deserve to make the best decisions for their kids. . . .
. . . The report cards were conceived as a weapon on behalf of kids and as an aid to their parents - and they should not be eviscerated in order to soothe the feelings of those who would prefer the public never be bothered with uncomfortable truths.
The governor would like to start the process of paying back the teachers' unions by reducing the accountability the public schools have to their "stakeholders;" fine. It's not as if accountability seems to have actually accomplished anything (evidenced by the lack of real improvement in our schools).
As the first article linked to points out, the best predictor of students' success is what goes on in the home. And given how few schools have actually felt any real consequences of the report cards, it seems safe to conclude that what goes on in the schools will continue to play second fiddle to the home--report cards or not.
Does that mean that what happens in the schools is unimportant, or that the efforts of thousands of dedicated, passionate teachers (and even a few whack-jobs) are futile and unimportant? Of course not.
Let's just not get ourselves thinking this is anything close to the end of the world.
When the Governor stops having charter schools' test scores reported because they make the Big Education schools look bad . . .that may be something to get worked up over.
Speaking of charter schools, check out what Denise has on the best school in the state, and the disproportionate population of charter schools on the nationwide list.