Education reform: It's gonna hurt

As readers of Bridge and supporters of the Center for Michigan know, the Center is spending the next year hosting conversations around the state about K-12 education and how citizens can improve it. Without doubt, it is vital to get more citizens involved in the policy process. I'm going to indulge my curmudgeonly side a bit, however, to note that education reform is not going to be a matter of smiling consensus. Some decisions will need to be made that are going to gore plenty of oxen in communities around the state.

For example ...

What happens if we wake up one morning and discover that it doesn't matter how much money we spend on public schools? At least one researcher is arguing that the data shows a school culture is far more important than a per-pupil spending figure. There's going to be plenty for all factions in the education policy world to wrestle with here:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/12/everything-you-know-about-education-is-wrong/249722/

Michigan was not the first state to let the travel/hotel industry set the parameters of the school calendar. Michigan, meet Virginia. And just so we are all clear: I admire the hard work of everyone in Michigan's hospitality and entertainment industries, but come on! Using the political process to bend decisions about school calendars to the preferences of an industry is awful policy. The dirty little secret about education in Michigan is that most adults don't put children first. They put their child first, but their commitment to anyone else's children is, shall we say, fungible:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2011/12/why_do_virginia_theme_parks_determine_the_state_s_academic_calendar_.html

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