Friday, November 06, 2009

New Education Fellowship in Michigan

I read with interest an article on Mlive/Bay City Times concerning this.

Public education received a boost today when Governor Granholm announced a new Michigan teaching fellowship thanks in part to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

The new teaching fellowship, valued at $16.7 million, will benefit 20,000 public school students in the state. The program will retrain 240 new math and science teachers to teach in middle and high schools across the state that need teachers in those subjects.

“Over a period of five years, almost 20,000 Michigan public school students will receive high-quality education in science, technology, engineering and math from these new teachers,” said Granholm in a release.
Unless these teachers will somehow be tethered to the state of Michigan I don't know how she can say that 20,000 in state students will benefit from these new teachers. However much I like to see foundations support education, I'm afraid this endeavor will do little good to increase the quality of education in this state, even though it might make receiving a college education more affordable to a significant number of fellowship recipients.

Unfortunately, I don't see this money making a dime's worth of difference in a system that demands that decisions be made in Lansing and DC.

We have a broken system folks, and the fact that 80% of all teachers are excellent and the fact that the goal of every school district in the state is to do a good job of educating our youth, will make absolutely no difference until those teachers and those school districts regain control. Teachers become tired of bucking a system that makes it hard for them to teach. Administrators become tired of dealing with the same problems every day because permanent solutions to most problems are not allowed. Too many good students are kept from learning because numbskull deviants and disruptors are almost impossible to remove from the classroom. It really is remarkable that half the kids do get a decent education.

Give districts the power to toss out the 20% of teachers that stink, allow effective teachers to receive merit raises, let districts boot out 20% of the students that have no desire to be in the classroom other than to disrupt (without financially punishing the districts,) and give local parents the ability to shape vocational curriculums and set policy. I could go on and on and on, and so could everyone else.

In my humble opinion, the $16 million would be better spent in legal efforts to change the way things now operate than to inject more teachers into a failed system.

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