This topic is huge and has been mulled over and discussed by all sorts of "experts". The Washington Post offered an intriguing article in this weekend's issue discussing some of the top notions by the top experts. Jay Matthews lists (and grades–according to his perspective), five ideas that have been presented by folks in the know. This list in the article included:
- Develop common American standards –he gave this one a C-, with the thought that setting standards for the country's students is fraught with political wrangling as it appears repeatedly difficult for the states to agree on anything)
- Provide data and information that educators, policy makers and parents can use.–he graded this option A-. It makes sense that in order to evaluate where you are, there must be some method of data collection and interpretation–and then the info needs to be in a form that people can actually change procedures as indicated.
- Conduct meaningful teacher evaluations–this one rated a C+ by Matthews. On the surface, this seems useful, but the creating a system of evaluation may be gargantuan and filled with pitfalls.
- Turn around low-performing schools –this possibility received an A+ grade. He proposed that with federal stimulus, this notion might actually make a difference.
- Help struggling students –(A+) by providing additional assistance to the lower-performing students, lengthening the school day and year utilizing the talents of "proven" teachers could make the biggest difference with a minimum of additional investment.
Click here to read the entire article. Want to voice your opinion? You're invited visit Jay Matthews' Blog to put the 5 options suggested by experts (in his column) and 5 additional options he came up with in order of how you think they could line up in making a difference.