Monday, May 28, 2012

"Forever Young" Take on Educational Reform

Paraphrasing Alphaville’s hit “Forever Young”,  Redondo Beach Unified Superintendent Steven Keller remarked about his district’s looming budget concerns: “We always plan for the worst and hope for the best.”  Our youth should not be stuck with the “forever” budget shortfalls of public education. Our youth are like diamonds in the sun, but they cannot wait forever. Voters in the South Bay will praise their leaders when they get in tune with cost-cutting reforms in public education.
Instead of floating bond measures and soaking taxpayers, school districts should drastically reduce overhead. Eliminate unnecessary administrative staff in public education. School districts with one high school and two middle schools do not need three assistant superintendents. Instead of large bureaucracies, dedicate more money to the classroom.

 Replace school boards with a board of trustees. Instead of politicians’ positioning with abstract proposals, parents, teachers, and community leaders can implement curriculum and instruction in the best interests of the students. They can invest the time and energy in designing policy and evaluate its effectiveness.

 Entitlement reform must be enacted. School districts disburse the majority of their depleting funds to off-setting pension obligations. Teachers’ unions must embrace reform or forfeit their collective bargaining rights. Merit pay for exceptional teaching, along with flexible contracts will permit districts to evaluate teachers and dismiss unqualified staff more efficiently

 Above all, student choice through a voucher system would ensure that districts compete for funds and spend taxpayer dollars effectively.

We have the power to make education better. Never say never!

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