More changes must come on top of all of this. As PZ Myers says on his blog:
One additional requirement, besides diverting reasonable amounts of money into education: demand improvements in quality. Not this misbegotten accountability of No Child Left Behind, but shakeups in how school boards manage budgets; remove the elected officials from the business of dictating pedagogy and content, and let the qualified professionals design curricula that actually works. I listened to the video and just felt a sense of dread at the thought of the Texas Board of Education suddenly flush with new money and deciding to buy Bibles for every child, or something similarly absurd.
School districts are slashing budgets left and right across the country, firing thousands and thousands of teachers in the process, removing any trace of creativity and choice in the schools, and destroying the quality of education that students receive. This is ridiculous. This is not the answer. An article in the New York Times examined the current educational “catastrophe”:
Districts in California have given pink slips to 22,000 teachers. Illinois authorities are predicting 17,000 job cuts in the public schools. And New York has warned nearly 15,000 teachers that their jobs could disappear in June.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan estimated that state budget cuts imperiled 100,000 to 300,000 public school jobs. In an interview on Monday, he said the nation was flirting with “education catastrophe,” and urged Congress to approve additional stimulus funds to save school jobs.
The key to leading the developed world is not by flexing military might, but by continuing to produce a population that innovates, creates, solves problems, and understands – the acquisition of knowledge and the ability to put it to good use. Please, America – it is time to get our priorities straight.