Fatigued by School Reform
New book by Jack Jennings available to order now!
by Jack Jennings
After a half-a-century of school reform, a majority of Americans consider the public schools as worse today than when they attended school. Those reforms missed the mark because they were not focused on the backgrounds of the students’ parents--by far the most important indicator of students' progress in school. The importance of parents was documented by the Coleman Report more than 50 years ago.
School reform must be continued but re-directed to over-come the power of low parental socio-economic status. The best way to improve the schools is to create a better, fairer economy providing parents with good jobs and decent wages. In the meantime, good pre-school, after-school, and other aids are needed to help students from low income families.
Teacher quality, although not as influential as the parents' backgrounds, is the second most significant indicator of student success. Teachers, like parents, have not been the focus of the attention their importance deserves. In particular, teachers should be fairly paid, and their verbal and cognitive skills improved.
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The current federal education law rests on the same faulty foundation as the last law.
If politics is considered foul, what kind of people are going to go into it?
tolerance is necessary for a democracy
When I worked on Capitol Hill, the congressmen and congresswomen would say that they used a “smell test” to determine the real purpose of a proposal. This meant that they looked beyond the words used to justify an idea and considered such factors as the record of the proposing organization or individual.
Insultingly low wages for many, more students needing extra assistance, and great pressure to raise student test scores and graduation rates. Meanwhile, politicians orate about the importance of education....
DC's public schools' progress is tainted by some phony "improvement" due to enormous pressure to produce higher graduation rates and test scores. Better education will come when the emphasis is on real factors such as teacher quality....
Teachers' views have not been accorded the weight they deserve in seeking school improvement. Just the opposite--teachers have been unfairly blamed for the lack of progress. Listen to John Thompson for some realism from the classroom....
State and national leaders were given a grade of D minus by Ed Week showing a lack of commitment to adequately fund the schools, despite rhetoric about education's importance. "Watch what someone does--not what they say," to see their real beliefs. Quality Counts...
Read the story here!
To win elections, it is helpful to have a disliked opponent. People are more motivated to vote against someone than they are to vote for someone, according to an old adage. The dreams of Democrats to have such opponents could not be better fulfilled than to...
Many children’s education will be jeopardized, the rich will pay less in taxes, and political revenge will be reaped. The new congressional tax bill is a disaster waiting to happen.
High school debaters learn about issues and also about democracy. For the school year 2017-18, two recommended topics are based on a book by Jack Jennings.
Yesterday, as usual, we talked now and again about President Trump and politics. As much as we try to avoid the topic, it sharply intrudes into our daily lives. We voted against Trump, and are upset about the direction that the country is taking. Living in Washington,...
Tolerance of other points of view and respect for others as fellow citizens must be a conscious goal.
I am honored to be part of this celebration of the life of Tom Wolanin. Donna, Andrew, Peter and other members of the family, you have the sympathy of everyone in this room. All of us knew Tom during his long career. We admired his talents. And, today, we salute him...
“(A)n education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.” President Trump broadcast this biting condemnation in his inaugural address. A short time later, Trump proposed cutting education spending by 13%....
The academic achievement of elementary and secondary students from the 1970s through to the current decade is shown through the unique Long-term Trend Assessments, but the usefulness of that trend line measurement is imperiled by a proposed delay of 12 years until its next administration. This paper argues for greater support for this assessment.
If the U.S. were to value education as much as military activities, the schools would be better funded.
This memorandum explains the methodology used to determine the total amount spent for primary and secondary education by the nations of the world. It also explains how much U.S. expenditures would have to increase to reach a third of that total.
In this interview, Jack Jennings comments on the new U.S. Secretary of Education and the national role in education.