The Five Great Reforms

Inventing the education system our children deserve requires five great reforms:
Goals: The Common Core Standards Initiative is a big step forward toward consistently high expectations for America’s young people.
Time: The short agricultural school year with groups of age-cohorts marching in lockstep through textbooks is giving way to personalized digital learning anywhere anytime any speed.
Choice: District-defined attendance boundary schools are giving way to a variety of quality options–not just school choice, but course choice and lesson choice.
Money: Funding adults is giving way to funding kids. There will be more choices and more time when money follows the student to the best learning experience.
Employment: The last great reform–the new performance-based employment bargain. Great starting salaries, performance-based pay, and multiple advancement opportunities will raise the level of talent in education and improve student outcomes.
On the last point, we saw a small but important step forward this week. With support from Gov Jindal, the Louisiana house education committee unanimously passed a thoughtful teacher evaluation bill that
incorporates student performance data. The common sense bill still faces a floor battle. WaPo summarizes, “having thwarted efforts to revamp teacher evaluations in Florida, teachers unions are now aiming
to block reform in Louisiana. An intense lobbying campaign is underway to defeat Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal’s ambitious education reform agenda.” WaPo lends their support to Gov. Jindal suggesting that “State lawmakers should follow his lead in standing up for student interests” and “Mr. Jindal is right to push for meaningful change.”
While the feds can help accelerate progress, the Great Reforms will take gubernatorial leadership. Jindal stood up for kids this week. Let’s hope he doesn’t stand alone.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Discover the latest in learning innovations

Sign up for our weekly newsletter.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.