Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Either/Or Reforms

I've frequently lamented the fact that education reform so often seems to boil down to either/or propositions. Either you're for smaller class sizes or you're for curriculum changes. Either you're for market-based reforms or you're a status-quo-loving-teacher-union-defending-failure-to-kids. That's the way it's always played out in the media at least, but I never quite bought it. But now I may be changing my mind a little.

What's gotten me to readjust my thinking a little bit is that Florida is going to be spending $200 million to revamp their math curriculum, even as budget cuts hammer education across the state. And that got me thinking. These reforms actually cost money. Want to revamp your curriculum? Pay the curriculum companies. Smaller class sizes? Pay for more schools and more teachers. Better teachers? Pay for more recruitment and professional development. The list goes on and on.

Philosophically, I think that we can't afford to focus on just one effort. Instead we need to focus on an array of reforms that will improve entire schools and communities. Pragmatically, I see that we might not be able to afford more than one thing at a time. Until we can address that, either/or may be here to say.

No comments: