by Diane Ravitch
From a reader:
1, Dispose of Teach for America and alternative certification (except for vocational courses) or revise it completely as follows. Hire TFAs as paraprofessionals to work under experienced teachers for their first year.
2. Require a commitment of 5 years, not 2, so the schools get full benefit from them
3. Do not place them in schools with high percentages of disadvantaged and disabled students. Instead, put them in middle class schools and create incentives for the best teachers to go to the disadvantaged schools instead.
4. Expect that by the end of their second year they are taking education courses online or in person to earn certification if they intend to stay another year.
5. Charter schools: Hold them to the same standards as public schools and require them to hire ONLY certified teachers and to pay them at state rates and use approved curricula. Require them to provide full special education services including moderate and severe/profound/multihandicapped and autistic with NO quotas and taught ONLY by certified special educators (No first or second year TFA's) and to follow IDEA and Section 504.
6. Require that all principals be teachers with at least 5 years in the classroom, a Masters or higher in Education and special ed. experience
7. Require that all superintendents have at least 10 years of classroom experience and special educaton certification, (original or add-on) and a Masters or higher. This includes and especially includes the state superintendent.
8. No taxpayer money for parochial or private schools. None for charters that do not meet standards.
9. Schools with high percentages of disadvantaged, disabled, ELL, or 504 students get 10% in extra funding beyond what other schools in the district receive.
10. School Board will consist of parents, grandparents or siblings of students in public schools in the district and teachers or retired teachers only.
11. State governing board consists of 1/2 parents, grandparents, siblings or students in the public schools and 1/2 teachers or administrators from the public schools who have been or are certified teachers.
12. The Mayor, Governor or other public official has no role in choosing the State Superintendent or other leader over the schools. The leader is picked by the school boards. The exception is when the Mayor or Governor IS a teacher (such as Zell Miller was in Georgia.)
13. Eliminate most standardized testing. Any standardized testing is normed on students of the area where the students who are tested live. Questions include equal numbers that are regionally based. In other words, don't ask Louisiana children about mountains unless there are also questions about bayous. Include regional vocabulary among correct answers, i.e. "pocketbook" as well as "purse" and "soda" or "coke" as well as "pop" for a cold drink.
14. Include the teachers' unions in policy development and require local and state boards to show evidence of their inclusion.
15. Universally available pre-k held in the public schools and taught by certified early childhood teachers.
16. Deemphasis on "on time" graduation. Emphasis on graduating whether the student is 16 and took some courses on-line or 22.
17. Special education diplomas, state diplomas, for all students with IEPS even if they cannot pass standard courses as long as they complete the work required by their IEPS. NO Certificates of Achievement for students who have been in school all their lives---Real Special Education Diplomas and a Vocational Seal on those diplomas if they completed a vocational program, even with accommodations----as long as they know the material.
18. Require EVERY administrator and policy maker who is or was a certified teacher above the level of principal to go back to the classroom for 1 year out of every 7 and to spend one week of each school year as a substitute teacher. Require every principal to spend 10 days per school year as a substitute in their own or a nearby school.
Well, that is more than a few. If the schools do not comply the risk losing federal funding or being taken over by a compliant school.