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Do we have the education leadership we need in New Hampshire?

What do you do with a Commissioner who talks about our schools only in terms of failure and whose education strategy for the future is private school vouchers?

Leading a large education system is a complex undertaking. It takes real…well…leadership. Is there another Commissioner in the country with such a rhetoric of failure? An education leader would normally convene parents and educators seeking engagement around a vision for what is possible. If math achievement is low, what’s our strategy? If our schools could do more to reach students with special needs, how do we support their efforts to do that? (more…)

New Hampshire’s badge of honor, an “F” from Michelle Rhee

Michelle Rhee, failed Washington DC school superintendent and renegade public school privatizer, has given New Hampshire and 10 other states F’s for not privatizing fast enough.  Rhee’s group, StudentsFirst, “advocates expanding privately run public charter schools, weakening teachers’ unions, increasing the weight of high-stakes standardized tests and, in some cases, using taxpayer dollars to fund private tuition through vouchers as the keys to improving public education.”  (Salon)  She is part of a national privatization movement that we began tracking last year when we traced the roots of the voucher proposal here in New Hampshire.  We listed some of the groups here.

The New York Times article on the report has a pretty good perspective.  The net of it is, no one in New Hampshire should feel that an F from Michelle Rhee has any meaning for our public education system.  Or, as Mr. Zeiger of California says below, maybe it’s a badge of honor.  Here are some excerpts:

In just a few short years, state legislatures and education agencies across the country have sought to transform American public education by passing a series of laws and policies overhauling teacher tenure, introducing the use of standardized test scores in Michelle A. Rhee says her group wants to create an “environment in which educators, parents and kids can operate.”

Such policies are among those pushed by StudentsFirst, the advocacy group led by Michelle A. Rhee, the former schools chancellor in Washington. Ms. Rhee has generated debate in education circles for aggressive pursuit of her agenda and the financing of political candidates who support it.

(more…)

Classes a la carte: States test a new school model | Reuters

Is this what’s coming?

(Reuters) – Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White has a problem with schools.

They’re too confining, he says. They trap kids in chairs, in classrooms, in the narrow bounds of an established curriculum. So White and a handful of fellow revolutionaries have begun pushing a new vision for American public education.

Call it the a la carte school.

The model, now in practice or under consideration in states including Louisiana, Michigan, Arizona and Utah, allows students to build a custom curriculum by selecting from hundreds of classes offered by public institutions and private vendors.

A teenager in Louisiana, for instance, might study algebra online with a private tutor, business in a local entrepreneur’s living room, literature at a community college and test prep with the national firm Princeton Review – with taxpayers picking up the tab for it all.

The concept alarms many traditional educators. They fear public schools will lose funding to private vendors and will end up with such crimped budgets that they won’t be able to provide a full range of academic classes, much less extras like sports, clubs and arts. That, in turn, could accelerate the exodus of students and the cutbacks in funding.

via Classes a la carte: States test a new school model | Reuters.