Those folks who oppose my political views think I’m some sort of a nut. That’s their privilege.
I am a real nut when it comes to education of our children. I’m not just an observer of our education system, I founded and am CEO of the Tools of Learning for Children nonprofit.
A recent article in the Daily Republic about the resignation of Tim Halloran as principal of Fairfield High School caught my attention. It quotes Mr. Halloran as saying the Fairfield-Suisun School District is managed by fear, intimidation and bullying. Secrecy is the norm. After only two years under the leadership of Mr. Halloran, Fairfield High showed significant improvements in graduation rates, dropout rates and students going to college, plus the likely accreditation of the school.
In a companion article, Kris Corey, the district superintendent, denies all of the negative allegations and wishes Mr. Halloran well.
When I read the articles, I had a feeling of deja vu. I witnessed a similar situation several years ago at a district elementary school. The principal had made remarkable progress is three years using innovative and imaginative strategies. Her school was the only school in the district and perhaps the county to work itself off the No Child Left Behind watch list.
She was released because she was not compliant. District policy seemed to be, “My way or the highway.”
Halloran was also creative and innovative and not compliant. I have never been able to understand why, when someone succeeds, their managers don’t find the reasons for success and use them elsewhere., Instead, it’s “My way or the highway.”
Maybe I am wrong and this is only a coincidence. I’ll ask for your help to find out a little later.
The truth is that public education in America is in disrepair. The university systems over the years have provided one failed experimental “research-based” program after another. Education should be success-based. Find something that works and replicate it. Set reasonable objectives and don’t accept less. No excuses.
The latest example of experimental education programs is Common Core State Standards, much of which has yet to be designed. It’s a one-size-fits-all system that probably doesn’t fit anyone.
It’s no secret why this is true. Education is personal. Each human being is unique. We each have a different learning style and strength. We learn at different paces. The best education environment is one-on-one. Find what feeds the child’s curiosity. Let the child experience the joy of discovery. We are all children in that regard.
Common Core is about as far away from being personal as it can get. It is designed to create “workers.” It prepares children for junior college. The ACT and SAT tests have been altered to test for this objective.
School districts have had the program mandated upon them, so they have no choice. Parents can choose private schools or home schooling as the only ways their children can get a “personal education.”
Christel Swazey has posted a letter on the website www.whatiscommoncore.com from a teacher at the Los Angeles Unified School District. The letter tells of the elimination of special education programs and the removal of all advanced placement teachers. One size fits all. Go to Swazey’s site for the full letter and a comprehensive history of Common Core.
Back to the condition of local education: I would like nothing better than to find that I am wrong, that our district is not compliance- and fear-driven, that there is no bullying and intimidation. You can help. Tell me what your experiences have been and what you believe. I don’t really want names if anonymity is your preference. My telephone is 427-0744, email email@example.com and my mailing address is 1006 Longspur Drive, Suisun City, CA 94585.
Murray Bass can be reached at 427-0744 or firstname.lastname@example.org.