The next big language; Theory, practice, and the killer app The end is nigh; Trying to look at all angles and always concluding that Obama needs to win
Oct 16

Education: Vouchers is throwing money? Early childhood education

Personal, Politics with tags: Add comments

The last question in the debate yesterday was the one that I was very interested to hear about. My wife is a teacher by trade, and has a masters in education, so I get to hear a lot about it :)

What I heard from the candidates was this:

Obama

He talked about the importance of education, and how this pays it forward for everything, from economy to national security. He discussed early childhood education and how important it is. Emily say a lot of data on this and was jumping up and down :)

McCain

McCain on the other hand talked about vouchers (which is exactly throwing money at the problem even though he said that isn’t the solution!) which I am totally against.

And then he focused on gimics. Teach for America? Troops to Teach? The kicker here is that he talked how troops should NOT have to take any “exams” and should be able to start teaching when they come back. Are you freaking kidding me? “Oh, you were in the forces? You must be a fantastic teacher! Come and teach our kids!”

Of course, there will be some fantastic teachers that come through T4A and the armed forces, but with nothing in place to support them we are destined for a lot of failure. The idea that you can take someone “smart” and throw them into a class room after a few months of “training” is nuts. Educating is tough, and is a science. We need to go the other way and really support teachers and incent them in a variety of ways.

There is so much that can be done here. I know that the economy if on the forefront of the brain, but this is huge if you want to bet long on the US. The world is changing.

3 Responses to “Education: Vouchers is throwing money? Early childhood education”

  1. Justin Says:

    Actually, you’d be surprised what the evidence has to say on the efficacy of Teach for America teachers. A study from Mathematica Policy Research, a nonpartisan research institution focusing on social issues, states that “Even though Teach For America teachers generally lack any formal teacher training beyond that provided by Teach For America, they produce higher test scores than the other teachers in their schools—not just other novice teachers or uncertified teachers, but also veterans and certified teachers.” You can find more details here: http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/Press%20Releases/Past%20Releases/teach4amerrel.asp

    I can’t imagine Troops to Teach would have the same effectiveness as TFA (TFA recruits a very impressive group of students through a very difficult screening process), but I’ve found that some radical thinking is required to improve American schools. See the efforts of Michelle Rhee, chancellor of DC public schools (who was name-checked in the debate), in this Atlantic article http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200811/michelle-rhee . Note that Ms. Rhee, who rose through the ranks of TFA, is ambivalent about vouchers and prefers to fix existing schools.

  2. Mike Says:

    Hi Dion,

    Even though McCain’s idea is not very good, the Obama’s much worse. What he’s trying to achieve is nothing but a system where kids are taken away from their families as soon as possible. Earlier education, which is I wholeheartedly agree is very important, belongs to parents. It is a parents’ responsibility, not of the state.

    In USSR they would take children away from their mothers as young as just few months old and then educated them the way they wanted to. The whole state childcare/education system was aimed at growing the New Society members.

    Was it good? Do you need it in your country down there? Those are questions to answer.

  3. K Says:

    Mike, I find your comments a little ridiculous since there are many American familes that are unable to educate their children on their own at home especially when they need to go back to work, even part time. You are probably one of those people that have this idealistic view that all Americans live like you and have the same resources that you have. Palin is a working mother who leaves her children (all 5 of them) to be Governer and will potentially have more pressing responsibiltiies, and be away from her family even more than ever, if she becomes the VP. How is this valuing the children and being a good :”stay at home mom” especially with a child with diabilities or is this OK”?

Leave a Reply

Spam is a pain, I am sorry to have to do this to you, but can you answer the question below?

Q: Type in the word 'cricket'