David Anderson for State Representative: Concrete Priorities for Education Reform

David Anderson, candidate for State Representative in Rhode Island’s 4th District (Providence), and opponent of House Majority Leader Gordon Fox, has presented some concrete ideas for reforming public education in the state of Rhode Island…

Given the large number of failing schools in Rhode Island I would not try to overhaul all of them at once. I would begin with the “basket cases” where less than 10% of the children are estimated to be at or above grade level as judged by the Nation’s Report Card. In terms of the NECAP examinations this threshold would approximately be 20% proficient for the primary levels and 10% for high school. Such schools would be closed at the conclusion of the academic year. All staff would be discharged. Such schools would be reopened as charter schools operated by a professional education management organization (EMO). The EMO’s fee would be performance based. The possible rehiring of former staff would be at the discretion of the new managers…
Once all of the dysfunctional schools of the preceding category are under new management, I would raise the threshold for reform upward in phases until all schools with less than 50% of children at or above grade level had been converted to the charter
Current and past practices that have been used to deceive parents and other stakeholders would be replaced by ones that provide an honest accounting of public school performance. This means rescoring the NECAP examinations to provide proficiency estimates comparable to the Nation’s Report Card. It also means withholding regular academic diplomas from all who have not achieved NECAP proficiency on the high school tests. Students not seeking a regular academic diploma would receive a certificate of completion that would show their respective proficiency levels in the subjects tested by the NECAP. In such a system diplomas would mean something.

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15 years ago

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.
Let’s complete this idea by acknowledging that some kids are effectively incorrigible – they are never going to take the opportunity to learn. Teachers who can inspire the hard core ignoramuses are so rare that Hollywood makes movies about them. Its unrealistic to think you can find enough such teachers to inspire all.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Charter schools, single sex public schools, magnet schools, absolutely. Just remember, until students and their parents recognize that a free public education is neither free nor educational unless they value it and work at it.

15 years ago

Wow, this guys is brilliant, lets fire all the teachers in Providence because they are below proficiency when absenteeism is rampant and many of the kids don’t even speak English.

15 years ago

You’re saying the job can’t get done, BillA? That there are roadblocks to education? Then the question becomes, why are taxpayers, Providence and statewide, spending so much money to achieve a task which, for whatever reason, cannot be accomplished?

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