Think CSUN: The State of Public K-12 Education (and Why We Should Save It)

Uploaded by CalStateNorthridge on 30.08.2012

(glass rolling on table, electrical sounds)
The American Revolution will always be always be unfinished
unless we really pay attention to American public education,
because a democracy can only thrive where you have
a strong, free, public education system,
and we don't have that currently.
If you look at per pupil funding, if you look at what we've done in
terms of education,
we are investing less and less of state dollars
and federal dollars in education.
And you can draw your own conclusions about the choices we're making as a society.
We're choosing to place those dollars instead into incarceration.
We've made several choices in the state of California that have
tied our hands on this front.
Three strikes is a great example of something where now we have people
serving major prison terms in a lot of cases for crimes that really don't merit that.
And those dollars to keep someone in prison are being taken out
of the public classroom.
We are not in the top 10 in terms of math, science or language arts
compared to other countries,
and so we're already losing that economic battle
by not investing in young people.
A franchise model of how we view education,
which is -- it's sort of like setting up a McDonald's,
and if the McDonald's or Starbucks is very successful,
we're going to open one on every block.
But what you come to find is that American education is not like that;
it's not able to be ported over to a franchise model.
The notion of choice is good.
Charter schools as incubators of experimentation --- excellent.
But it was never intended to have these experiments become the new norm.
Charter schools are very personalized.
They work in certain communities for very strong reasons.
They can't just be scaled up and ported all over the place.
We're very conscious of what lessons do you learn form a charter school,
and how can you apply that across the board to the public system.
There are pockets of wonderful instruction all over the greater Los Angeles area,
in L.A. Unified, incredible schools, incredible teachers.
What often doesn't happen because you have such a large system
is you're not able to do peer-to-peer facilitation.
So if I have School A. that has this makeup of kids
and School B. that's 20 miles away that has the same makeup of kids.
This school A. is having phenomenal performance. This one is really struggling.
Why aren't we partnering these schools together to learn from each other?
So to get teachers who are like-minded working with each other across schools
is a very powerful model that we don't exploit enough in United States education.
When you have a house that needs renovation --- which I think everyone would agree
American public education is a house that needs major renovation ---
there are two options.
Burn it to the ground or keep the pillars up and rebuild it.
And unfortunately I hear way too much conversation about "burn it down."
Burn it down and let it fail, or you know, wind up doing this as opposed to,
what are the pillars?
What are the things that work well in American education,
and how do we preserve that?
How do we keep those great teachers that get up every morning
and go into the classroom and are phenomenal
and light those fires of imagination in kids?
How do we keep those people going? And that's what we have to start with.
From my standpoint you have a great cadre of teachers already out there.
Great counselors, great administrators.
We need to feed them, we need to take care of them, because if you don't,
We are going to have to burn the house down,
and I shudder to think what we would have to do in American education if we did that.