11 Oct 2015

Keys to US Education Reform

Keys to US Education Reform

Shayna Pitrie published a article in the Huffington Post outlining why US Education Reform has failed thus far, compared to global education reform measures, and she outlines four keys to US education reform.

The four keys to US education reform are:

  1.  Highly Trained Teachers
In order to made the necessary changes to US education outcomes it all starts with the quality of the teachers and their abilities.  Public school employees are paid relatively low for the level of their education training.  The issues like with a stand pay scale that does not differentiate for high needs areas or levels of performance.  Most pay schedules for teachers see annual salary increases based on being one year older and for acquiring advanced degrees.  In addition, the pay schedule is such that entry teachers receive the lowest pay when in reality the discrepancy between the first year teacher and the teacher in the final year of service should not be so significantly disparate.  The greatest issues facing a school workforce are attraction and retention.  Attraction is based on reputation of the school district and secondly, pay.  Retention research leans towards satisfaction of the work environment, support and over satisfaction of the profession- not salary.
  1. Well Paid Teachers
Salaries for all public school employees must increase to achieve the attraction of top talent to the field.  In exchange, the contract must be changed to a 12 month contract and embedded with fair and measurable work performance outcomes.  In doing so, school districts would be able to have the flexibility to adjust monetary resources to ever changing areas of need to achieve student achievement growth.  In most states, a beginning teacher who is married and has one child would qualify for either free or reduced lunch subsidies.  This is unacceptable.
  1. Problem Solving Learning and Choice
The focus of what goes on in the classroom must shift from content recall in isolation to how it fits with other concepts.  Critical thinking, context connection, technology literacy must all be the underpinnings of a classroom whose primary goal is student understanding of relevancy through development of problem solving skills.
  1. Gateway Tests
 The over emphasis of stand alone content recall assessments must be devalued appropriately.  It their place should be developmentally appropriate gateway testes.  These tests would have the flexibility to be given at differing times depending on the students’ progression through their scope and sequence of their classes.


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