(Community Matters) Not a huge fan of Blow’s NYT opinion piece, Starving the Future [of US education] – too much reliance on projections of what the Chinese and Indians say they are gonna do and no acknowledgement of substantive improvements in US education over the last decade.
Admittedly the top level messages are correct – we under invest in education and the competition for jobs is becoming more acute.
I’m not in the camp that thinks cuts to education budgets have been all bad. The public sector doesn’t innovate very well*, though when it does seems in response to financial crisis. Combined with Race to the Top innovation grants, this hasn’t been a completely horrible three years for improvements in public education. And, I agree here, I’m not sure we can withstand more cuts.
We’ve got to spur more innovation, ferret out more waste, reward performance, and deploy better technology to educate kids (& in some instances their parents). I do like Blow’s call for attention to this matter. If we strengthen and prove up the value proposition, I think we can win back public support for this investment. It’s not so much win back as polls I’ve seen show support – it’s just not intense, I believe because of questions about the ROI.
The biggest threats come from some of the Grover Nordquist camps who would like to completely dismantle public education systems.
*this isn’t a dig to the public sector. As I’ve observed in the nonprofit sector, the feedback, rewards and penalties we’ve structured work against risk taking and innovation.