As many of you know, I have spent a good portion of my time over the past 20 years or so on public education reform, and recently I had the opportunity to assist and advise in a small way with the publication of a new book with fresh ideas about education reform, primarily in Texas, but applicable in many ways across the country. The book, recently released, is Saving Public Education: Setting Teachers Free to Teach, by my long time friend, Kent Grusendorf.
No one is more qualified to identify the current deficiencies of public education and recommend strategies to address them than Kent Grusendorf. He has spent much of his professional life in this pursuit as a ten term member of the Texas House of Representatives, including four years as Chairman of its Public Education Committee. His book reflects thoughtful reflection on this legacy, outlines a bold transformational response to the challenges we face in delivering quality public education to our children and our future, and restores the classroom teacher to the primary leadership role in this transformation. It deserves wide dissemination among education opinion leaders.
Danny Billingsley says
Sandy Kress says
Jim, I look deeply at achievement data over the last several decades and grieve. On the good news side, there were strong gains back in the 90s and 2000s, both here in Texas and nationally. I’m proud that these gains occurred while we were active and in response to many of our proposals. It gave reason for great hope. But the 2010s, when our reforms were largely gutted, saw terrible stagnation. Now we’ve likely fallen off a cliff during this pandemic. The system’s refusal to move to blended learning and varied choices has left it vulnerable to being especially hard hit. I fear that when achievement is ever measured thoroughly again it will show our young people extremely far behind, and our at-risk youngsters even much worse off. Our people will pay dearly for these awful decisions, yet I fear they won’t know or hold accountable those who are largely responsible for it. Indeed, some of the worst offenders continue to be feted as worthy and wonderful citizens to this day. It is a moment for great sadness.
James Windham says
I agree with all of this, Sandy. Woody and I searched high and low after the last session for anyone in a public or private leadership position willing to sustain our footprint in standards and accountability-based work, to no avail. We’ll pay dearly for this for decades.
Ken Williams says
Try the unions for the downward spiral because they refuse to eliminate those who pay union dues.
Al Furnace says
Jim, I learned a great deal about the “education system” during my eight years ( 1974 1982) on the board of Cypress Fairbanks ISD; graduating four during that time. Spent a lot of time in the field house and gym with my Aggie and Longhorn buddy coaches and instructors. When you wanta know whats going on inside, talk to “coach”.
I am sorry I was ” too busy” to work with you on reforms during the following years. Now I fear we may be over the cliff, and I am too old (90 in Dec.) to help. Keep up the work and I’ll pray.
James Windham says
Good to hear from you, Al. Stay safe.