Saturday, April 16, 2011

Conflict of Interest and Political Organization and Student Achievement

Readings #3
Conflict of Interest and Political Organization and Student Achievement

CMU EDU613
Saginaw Cohort

I found this article interesting in that the struggle between local control and state and federal level control was started back in the days of the 13 colonies. In the videos that we watch in the first week of class we seen educational reform as proposed by Jefferson.
The paragraph about discretionary insubordination as it relates to principals over looking what is being order of them and then allowing the locals to modify the orders to meet the needs of what is best for the student. I also found it interesting where the Chicago Public Schools administration did not want give any control to the local taxpayers, by allowing them to help in any part of the decision making of what students need as it relates to education and curriculum. This is a key component to No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and to the North Central Association (NCA) process for school accreditation to allow for public input. Part of the school improvement requirements talk about getting input from the public on school improvement planning. At Unionville-Sebewaing Area schools we use the Professional Learning Community (PLC) model . The PLC tries to tare down some of the long standing walls between education and community. It allows all stake holders to have a part in helping in the education of the children.
The National Education Association (NEA) and Michigan Education Association (MEA) did grow strong in power in the 1970, but its power has been reduced by the changes in the Political Action Committee (PAC) fund rising restriction of not allowing the Union to directly take money from Payroll as in Payroll Deduction and forces them to pay for the PAC out of there pockets. I find the statement to be very true as it relates to democrats and republicans. It seems that the platform for the democrats is more teacher friendly as compared to the republicans as far as it stands on most of the educational issues. I can also see the point of bureaucracy as created by some of the large school system across the United States. They are out of control as it relates to the multi layers of bureaucracy. I have seen it my self where if a staff is not on board they will tend to sabotage the program to make sure that it fails. They tend to have the, “this to will pass and we will be on to the next program”. If they wait long enough the systems will just change what they are asking of the teachers anyway. I think this is another reason that have try to not change to the requirements NCLB. I believe that many feel that the winds of the political machine will change again before the 2014 requirements. Many feel they will not reauthorize the NCLB bill. In conclusion of this article power of politics and personal agendas and ignoring change all take a big toll on student learning and achievement. I always try to make the best decision in the best interest of students and learning and try to keep my personal feelings out of my day to day decisions. I am not the highest paid person in my district but I enjoy working with the children and when I can make a difference in just one of there life’s it gives me great satisfaction, more then money can buy. I was a nontraditional student that needed someone to help me and guide me and push me when I needed to be pushed. I know the difference that it made in my life and would enjoy sharing that with others. I have work with and for a number of superintendents. I can tell you that they are all very much so politicians and the board of education do play a very large part in the winds of change. I was also on a local village council and always joked with the village clerk when the political pressure would start getting to her. I would say, “In a year or so there will be another election and the winds will change again”. I can see also when schools reach a tipping point with a school board members of the same ethnic background how that can change the dynamics of hiring. As the article describes having good leadership through out the systems from the principal on down into the teachers makes a big difference. I did not realize the roll that politics played with the fears of communism.
In conclusion politics have played varied roll in education and you can’t isolate education 100% from it. It is one of the strengths of this country. We have the right of free speech and the ability to influence decision in education and government. When we gather support for a majority point of view in most organizations we can make changes. Also the target of equity for all mankind is a moving all the time. Just when we think we have it nailed down there are changes in the systems. One example of this is changing segregation by bussing the students as we saw in some of the videos. Some of this reason is that we have the ability to make choices in government education. Even though we want to think that money plays no real roll in equity in education. In fact it still does, as parents with money that can get there children in to the best private or public education systems in the world. Even if this means that the family may have to move their family into another school district. These upper scale families have the means to buy what they need to make their students successful.

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I am the Director of Technology at a K-12 School system.