Lisa Nielsen attended the recent Education Nation conference and reported on the last panel, consisting of students. She reported on the students' perspective in the blog 20 Things Students Want the Nation to Know About Education. In response, a teacher and blogger wrote 20 Things A Teacher Wants the Nation to Know About Education.
So I decided I'd better write one to reflect the important part of the whole discussion - parents, community members and taxpayers. I listed 15 things leaving the last five for input from readers. Here's my list:
1. End the expensive, ineffective, and punitive high stakes assessment.
2. End classrooms environments that have been converted into test prep and testing centers.
3. Use the savings from #1 and 2 to return interesting and valuable electives - drama, art, home economics, computer skills, physical education, and vocational education courses.
4. Use the savings from #1 and 2 to maintain manageable class sizes so that teachers are able to meet individual needs.
5. Stop sending large sums of dollars to Pearson, McGraw-Hill and other companies for the purpose of implementing unfunded and unfundable compliance and data-driven mandates.
6. Use the savings in #5, to restore reasonable class size for core classes, vocational education, and electives.
7. Hold Pearson, McGraw-Hill, and these other companies accountable to the same degree as schools are being held accountable.
8. Apply greater transparency regarding deals and paid for "junkets" made with Pearson, McGraw-Hill and other companies jumping into the profitable education sector. Unsure on the "junkets"? Read about 10 state commissioners of education who traveled around the world on Pearson's tab, "When Free Trips Overlap With Commercial Purposes."
9.Ensure meaningful school-based accountability that meets the NUT principle (No Unnecessary Testing).
10. Use existing measures, such as NAEP, to give a snapshot of student achievement and to report on sub-group accountability.
11. Support local control via publicly elected School Board members.
12. Ditch the preschool through college longitudinal database and maintain parent rights guaranteed under FERPA, requiring consent for sharing of student data.
13. Ensure parent rights to opt out of any and all assessments, punitive-free.
14. Leave it to local control to implement teacher evaluation systems that are not dependent on students taking high stakes assessment.
15. Support communities and families so that all students are fed, housed, and receive medical care versus supporting runaway testing initiatives.
What did I miss?
UPDATE: Responding to a private comment on the importance of these views. Ed reformers, who share Chester Finn's view on local control, will no doubt find any list and input from parents, community members, and taxpayers disruptive to their plans. If parents and the public are excluded from decision-making in their communities and over the lives of their children, what is it that we have exactly?