Thursday, March 17, 2011

Accountability in Education

This post is really inspired by the idea of Rafiq Kalam Id-Din about creating teaching firms. Thanks to Gideon Burton for putting the article up on Diigo.

I am not going to go into the details of what Rafiq's idea is; you can read about it in the link above. I just want to make a quick comment about why I think it is a good idea and maybe put some questions out there.

First off, I think his idea is great because it centers around accountability. I think one of the major disconnects in education right now is knowing who is accountable for what. It often seems that when problems arise people point fingers each other and say that everyone else besides themselves is accountable. It is a hard situation because kids are learning to be accountable and the transition to adulthood is not clear cut. I will say that I attribute much of my educational success to my parents because they help me accountable. I always knew that I would have to report back to them. Even now I know I have to do well in college or else I will lose the money that they provide for tuition.

So I would say that a break down in education comes when students do not have someone to be accountable to. If they do not have the support system they need at home it makes it very difficult to succeed. It is not impossible but much more difficult. If you look at some of the great success stories of education, the success came when the students became accountable to the teacher. (Erin Gruwell-Freedom Writers; Jaime Escalante ) The teacher became the support system when the home environment was lacking it.

I am not trying to say that having a teacher replace the home is ideal, good, or even appropriate in all situations but everyone should be given the best opportunity to learn and gain an eduction as possible. If this new teaching firm system can do that, I am all for it.

Now quickly for some questions. My first question is who will be funding these programs? Rafiq talks about teachers in these programs making upwards of 150,000 a year. Where will that money come from? Will these schools be private and the students have to pay to enter? If that is the case I am not sure that this system will work. The kids that need the help are the mainly ones that some from minority backgrounds and low socioeconomic level families. They cannot afford a private school. Is the money going to come from the state? I hate to say that I really doubt the states will jump to fund these programs if they cost more than the existing system. States are having a hard time funding the existing system as it is and we are seeing huge changes within all government programs right now. (Also quick note, I don't think that the federal government should step in on this. Education is a states right and I don't think the federal government should be heavily involved. Personal opinion.)

So that is my take on everything. I look forward to following this issue more.