A Remedy for Failing Public Schools

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Our public schools are failing because they are operated under an antiquated system. Most are behemoth, bureaucratic bastions of inefficiency in which no one seems to be held accountable. It’s top-down management at its worst. The people who have the most contact with students in this over-burdened, under-funded system – the teachers – have the least input when it comes to “company” policy.

This makes this system resemble a widget factory in which management has worked out all the kinks, so it thinks, and dictates to production line workers how to pump out a “good” product.

But is our public education product really that good? Are the majority of today’s high school graduates – if graduation is actually in the picture – truly ready for college or possess the necessary skills to succeed in the real world of work and responsibility?

What is needed is a system that is operated like a successful business, and I don’t mean a widget factory either. I mean a business such as a medical or legal practice in which the professionals – the doctors and lawyers – do their professional thing and leave the operation of the office up to hired help.

But who ever heard of teachers being in charge of a school? How could that work and who would oversee them to make sure they were doing a good job?

It might be surprising to know but this is exactly what is occurring in some progressive public schools all across the country. Teachers are in charge of and held responsible for their school’s educational program and the academic and behavioral outcomes of its students.

There are three main factors in this new teaching/learning model that distinguishes it from the traditional public educational system. These factors are: 1) Advisory ...

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...not employ an administrator. Some schools that currently use this model have no administrators. In these schools, the duties of a traditional administrator, such as a principal, are shared among the school’s Advisers on a rotation basis. All other administrative and sometimes office duties are shared equally among the Advisers.

Even though this new public school model is radically different from the traditional public school model and many school districts and teacher organizations are inclined to oppose it, as the public becomes more aware that it is available through the creation of charter schools, parent groups, business professionals and political leaders, among others, are starting to support it. And, who knows, perhaps one day all public schools will be like this while the “traditional” public school as we know it will be but a distant memory of the past.

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