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School choice and streamlining

March 15, 2008, 8:01 am

BusinessWeek’s TechBeat blog has this article about the federal panel report on K-8 mathematics instruction that I blogged about here. It’s good to see this report getting attention in the blogosphere and MSM. It needs more. One thing from the BusinessWeek article that needs a slight bit of correction, though — it says:

The sad thing about the report that despite the unanimity on a panel that represents a broad spectrum of the mathematics and math education communities, it will take a decade or more for its recommendations to be implemented. It simply takes that long for curriculum guidelines to be recast, textbooks to be rewritten, and teachers to be trained or retrained. And in that time, a lot more damage can be done.

That may be true of traditional public schools, where red tape and opposing political forces must be overcome at every turn, but it does not have to be true of private or charter schools where reaction times to changing pedagogical climates can be much faster. I think this report, and the dire consequences of ignoring it, create a prime situation for charter schools and private schools to lead the way to better education for our kids. If governments would open up schools to market forces to a greater degree, we might even get the traditional public schools on board once parents choose to send their kids to places that are getting on the ball faster.

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