Multifaceted approach needed on school reform

The executive director of the New York State School Boards Association is correct – we do elect the school boards. He is also correct about the statistics regarding degrees and experience of the members.

However, the elections of school boards are typically not at the time of our general elections, which does not encourage broad voter participation and best serves highest participation by special interest groups. The information upon which the boards generally act is prepared by interested parties: administrators and teachers.

Advanced degrees and broad professional experience do not automatically bestow upon the holders of the degrees wisdom and unbiased, disinterested judgment.

Our educational system is in crisis across America and in New York. We do not lead the world in scholastic achievement. The United States continues to slip in comparison to the world’s leaders. Sadly, we also spend the most money per pupil around the globe for less than diminishing returns. We are actually losing ground.

Reform requires cessation of the incessant self-congratulatory messages we receive from current educational leadership. The solution is multifaceted including, but not limited to, responsible and sustainable financial planning; ability to remove ineffective teachers (our leadership has us believe all teachers are dedicated and perform well); and return to disciplined “reading, writing and arithmetic” by skilled, reinvigorated, educational professionals.

Many of us don’t question the degrees and experience, but the results and our current path are not what we expect, and are not what our children and grandchildren deserve.

David Schiller