Fixing Schools Will Take This Radical Reform

Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (Cheyenne, WY), August 9, 2014 | Go to article overview

Fixing Schools Will Take This Radical Reform


Suggested hed : Fixing schools will take this radical reform "Every now and then a man's mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation and never shrinks back to its former dimensions." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., "The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table," 1858 An open letter to the Joint Interim Educational Committee: I would hazard a guess that you folks are a bit stumped as to how to improve Wyoming's educational system. At least that's the only thing I can think of that could possibly explain this: "Members of the (committee) are looking at the state's current system of educational administration ... The panel is looking at how the different groups - state superintendent of public instruction, School Facilities Commission and State Board of Education - interact with one another. As part of the review, the committee is reaching out to residents for comments ?" (WTE, Aug. 4.) OK, fair enough. There's certainly nothing wrong with your admission that you need help and some input.

But observe that your primary concern appears to be the manner in which the various state educratic bodies "interact with one another" - not on whether those bodies should even exist or have any role of any kind to play in education.

My gut feeling, therefore, is that you will not truly be open to ideas that fall outside of those bureaucratic parameters at all. If that's true, then your quest for meaningful educational reform will fail as you will be unable to properly define the nature of the problem - and, hence, be unable to implement a functional, relevant and real-world solution.

Still, you asked me for my opinion, so I'm going to give it to you. What you do with it is up to you.

Our educational problems are, in essence, systemic in nature. They don't lie in a lack of good teachers, qualified administrators or educational funds.

No, we've got all of that in spades - and yet Wyoming still places mediocre or worse for results on any level you care to name.

These consequences, therefore, cannot be traced to the presence of bad resources, but only to how those resources are being managed and allocated. It's a problem, not with money or people, but with the system itself. Let me be more specific: with the bureaucratic system itself.

Thus, any effort to alter the fashion in which our educational bureaucracies "interact with one another" will merely consist of shuffling around the chairs on the Titanic. …

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