Don’t Call it Change: A Response to the Obama-Biden Education Agenda

The words change and reform cannot be applied to the Obama-Biden Plan for education.  It just isn’t.

I am not saying that the plan is all terrible.  To see that our federal government is making a pledge to improve the educational institution is honorable.

But don’t call it reform.  It isn’t that.

Reform would call into question what the children are learning, and how they are learning.  People are so quick to say that the problems that schools have will be fixed by pouring money into all the right holes, but that hasn’t worked. We have over 40 years of data to prove it.

The plan calls for intensified focus in mathematics and science.  The legislators focus on specific subject areas, but they never call into question how those subject areas are taught.  They don’t ask the key question about how learning happens.  They don’t ask how to improve the learning, they just tell us to do better using methods of teaching that are proving to be ineffective.

We have this newfound interest in assessing students and teachers to make people accountable, but they haven’t even asked if we are assessing the right things.

The fact is, our model of education is still horrifyingly similar to how it has always been.  Students sit still in desks listening to a teacher fill their empty cup with knowledge juice.  They fill out worksheets. They spit out facts that were just fed to them.

I mean, even if we aren’t talking about reforming the learning model, are we succeeding?  We spend incredible resources on improving mathematics and language arts scores, and we STILL fail based on their standards.

We aren’t talking about what matters.  Reform will happen in the classrooms.  Reform will happen when teachers and students actively change how learning happens.  Reform will happen when we actually take the knowledge about how children learn and develop and truly apply it comprehensively.

If you are going to propose reform, then propose it.

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