Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It's Education, Stupid

All the pyrotechnic issues, foreign policy, economy and energy get all the attention in the presidential race, but substantive discussion about education is treated like charitable work on college hopefuls resumes; expected and predictable but perhaps not all that original or genuine. The question is why such an issue that arguably does more to decide the course of a culture, including the aforementioned hot button issues, is not front and center, certainly in our domestic policy dialogue, but also in our foreign policy and diplomatic debates as well?

Enlightening education news:
  • Check out some of the latest education statistics, which shows growing diversity demographics and a widening economic divide as well. Note that we are now educating 3 million more kids in "special education" than thirty years ago.
  • The Washington Post editorial pages gives the education approaches of both candidates an "I for Incomplete," and challenges both campaigns to bring something more than party line policies to the schoolroom.
  • Read the great Salon.com interview with public radio personality Sandra Tsing Loh, who has written a new book, Mother on Fire. In it she tellingly recounts her journey through the process of choosing schools for her kids, recalling the angst and pressures that attend this decision, especially when you can't afford private education. Instead of bemoaning it, she decided to put her ideals into action.
  • I chillingly recall seeing the paddle in my Principal's office as an elementary school student. Corporal punishment is still a reality in many schools in the country, and a recent study has found that it has signs of being racially skewed, as well as misapplied to those with developmental issues.
  • Columnist Tom Purcell questions a school lunch policy that has expanded beyond its original mandate.
  • A mom writing in The Christian Science Monitor recounts how her son, though never the star student in math through his school years, causing her a great deal of angst about his prospects, still persisted all on his own to tackle the equation to carve out his own future.

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