Traditionally, Republican’s don’t normally talk aboot education as one of their main campaign issues, and if you’ll excuse the language…it’s aboot fucking time they did. Set aside the fact that it’s probably the most important issue there is (maybe behind the economy), politically it’s ripe for our taking. Everyone agrees that education needs to be reformed, and even moderate Democrats are growing sick and tired of the teachers unions.
Slowly the R’s are starting to get the hint. Newt Gingrich is always full of ideas. Marco Rubio is following the lead of mentor Jeb Bush. Chris Christie is…well Chris Christie. Add Gov. Mitch Daniels to the list, and while he’s talking specifically aboot his home state of Indiana, some of us are hoping to hear him share his ideas on more of a national stage.
Some of them are your common conservative reforms…
Amazingly, and embarrassingly, our schools have been prohibited by state law from considering student achievement as even one factor in teacher evaluations. This must change, now. We must join the many other states requiring that student progress be a major factor in deciding what a teacher is paid, and which teachers will enjoy the greatest job protection. Our best teachers must be paid more, and be able to earn their tenure based on performance, not just by living an extra year.
Starting next spring, the State Board of Education will move to a simple A through F rating system for each Hoosier school, something every parent and taxpayer can understand instead of the gobbledygook labels of the past. Also in 2011, the worst schools in the state, those that have failed the most dismally for six straight years, will be transferred to new management. At long last, accountability for student results is coming.
This one I found to be more outside-the-boxy…
A high percentage of today’s high-schoolers finish, or could finish, their graduation requirements well before the end of 12th grade. As I talk with seniors on my school visits, they often tell me candidly that they are just marking time. We should offer students who choose to complete graduation requirements ahead of time the money, or most of it, we would have spent on their senior year, so long as they use it for some form of higher education.
The last one, along with Newt’s idea for iPad’s in lieu of text books, I find to be the most interesting because the party needs to, shall we say, rebrand themselves in the eyes of the younger voters. Which do you think would appeal to younger voters more, particularly those who are just turning of voting age: free iPad’s and a early release, or that the teachers they don’t like to make enough.
Here’s hoping once the primary season starts (probably in the spring), the party talks as much aboot education as they do the war on terror. More importantly, here’s hoping Mitch Daniels is one of the cats in the debate.