Friday, April 27, 2012

The South Dakota Education Debate Summarized

I don't know if P.L. Thomas has ever been to South Dakota, but he certainly understands how education issues were dealt with during the last session.
Inexpert political leaders believe in and act upon a faith in the effectiveness of their cult of personality. They say by their actions, "I can do this where others have not" -- triggering the American cultural faith in rugged individualism.
I didn't know every governor had a sycophant like Elizabeth Kraus, but that rugged individualism must make them irresistible.

Not only does South Carolinian Thomas understand the problem, he also has a great solution,
Universal public education needs a new wall, paralleling the wall of separation between church and state: a wall between education and government and corporate America. Power over funding and broad performance benchmarks can remain vested in political leaders. But granular operational details should be left to educators and local administrators, the people best suited to achieve these goals in their schools and classrooms. Education should be treated no differently than a civil engineering project: government provides funding and ensures the goals of the civil function, and then expert builders and engineers fill in the details, taking into account realities on the ground and utilizing a wealth of experience and training that is completely unavailable to most elected officials. Governors and presidents are no better suited to run schools than they are to run construction sites, and it's time our education system reflected that fact.[emphasis mine]
The bolded part of the quotation should be talking points in the campaign to defeat HB 1234, a bill premised on the idea that a governor knows more about schools than anyone else in the state and tears down any protecting wall that local control may have provided.

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