Monday, July 25, 2011

Free market principles at work in education

A pretty interesting article... thoughts after you hit the jump, jump (Kriss Kross style)

Okay, so here's the thing. After reading this I started thinking about how we use the free market principle of choice to get kids/parents to decide where they go to school. However, this article brings attention to the idea that after years of this choice, it becomes harder to "pull oneself up by the bootstraps," so to speak. It can deny kids the opportunity to achieve great things, because environment is a huge factor in continued success. In essence, we are slowly but surely creating "smart schools" and "dumb schools."

There's hypocrisy in this system. How is it we believe a CTT class (Collaborative Team Teaching blends high achieving kids with students with IEPs to help push their potential) is an integral part of a school when we don't believe the blend of high and low performers should exist in the overarching school system culture? We are creating homogenous schools in our system by this "choice" system. In a class, I generally have a breakdown of 20% amazing/high performing students, 20% difficult behavior/low performing students, and 60% is the "mob" or middle ground that can swing either high or low. In our school system, why are we stacking the decks so the mob will fail? If I have a class that has 5% of high performers, 45% low performers, and 50% the mob... guess which way the mob will go?

We obviously need interventions for the low performing and behavior issues in a school (that's why I dig the RTI training), but we also need that "special blend" of high performers in the mix to influence school culture. Without it, we lose a majority of our students to behavioral issues, crisis, and at-risk peers. 

1 comment:

  1. Does free-market work for anything? Growing up, I knew which middle school and high school I would go to, based on where I lived. There was no shuffling at the transition times, unless a family moved across the county or such. The only possible change was if I had chosen to go to a magnet school for MS or HS. Because of that degree of stability, parents could focus on ensuring high performance levels of their local schools, not getting their kids into a better school. I think it's no coincidence that the schools in my county are very highly rated, and have excellent poverty-adjusted performance and disadvantaged-student performance.