07 June 2010

Education Reform = Send me to Hawaii

A couple weeks ago our Primary president at church announced that she and her family were moving because her husband, a Woodshop Teacher, was being laid off in the school district. They are moving south to live with family and find work. He loves his job, but programs like music, art, and technical programs like woodshop are being cut from school districts around the country.

Not that cutting woodshop is the end of the world, but I think it is a symptom that something is wrong with our educational systems that something like woodshop or music that was previously common , affordable, and an integral part of our curriculum is now being cut. On top of that, teaching is one of the lowest paying professions, which just doesn't make sense to me. If we value the education of our children, wouldn't we want to pay for the best and brightest teachers? What exactly inspired this nasty trend of budget cuts in education?

Supposedly, education reform is on the top of the country's to do list. Yet, from what I've read about Obama's Race to the Top applications, I don't really think it provides what our nation needs. I think what we need is a good review in finances and priorities. Though to be honest, I don't know enough about education administration to know what we need.

When my friend Jessica worked at a Utah charter school, I was so impressed with the quality level of education those kids receive and the amazing after school options they had as well! What can we learn from school districts that are effective? Somehow there are schools that still provide quality education, with all the extras included, and are compensating their teachers appropriately.

My coworker passed along this article the other day about how some schools are saving money, and successfully raising academic achievement by moving to a four day work week. It doesn't work for everyone, but Georgia has saved a ton of money and improved attendance and test scores. Hawaii has saved money by taking every Friday off (just ANOTHER reason why life would be much better in Hawaii). A four day work week sounds so much healthier to me, so I'm sure it's the same for growing kiddos.

I know you are all much more informed and opinionated on this subject that I am! What do you think is the solution to our education system woes?