kitchen table math, the sequel: what Brett would do with $1,000,000

Monday, February 4, 2008

what Brett would do with $1,000,000

I just remembered that I had not included my own answer to the question.

I would divvy it up into piles of $200,000 each so I could sustain my work for five years. I would identify a smallish district (10-20 schools) and begin a long-term, community-wide campaign to engage parents as customers of public education.

For some reason, talking about public education in anything less than uncritical terms has become taboo - which is ridiculous. It's our money and our kids - they exist to serve their communities.

Remind parents that they have an eminent right to demand accountability, performance, and responsiveness. With a five-year funded effort, you should be able to influence public opinion and ultimately the local elections process. Once you have a community and school board full of people with a consumer mentality, you'll see the public start to take the reins again of this public service.

Verrrry interesting.

Brett's right; speaking ill of one's school is taboo, or close to. The idea of putting some resources into engaging parents as customers rather than fundraisers and loyal fans -- yup. I'm on board for that one.


Tex said...

consumer mentality

What a novel concept!

Anonymous said...

Military people KNOW they are customers, and know they can't change the schools in the 1 - 3 years they will live in a place. People who don't move that often haven't seen as many schools to compare, which both fosters a consumer mentality and shows just how poor many schools are. Plus, if you don't move, you can delude yourself that you can change the schools. My military friends are the most rational people to talk to about all issues concerning education.

Anonymous said...

OK, I do have other rational people to talk to about education, and some of them are even current and former teachers, but as a group, military people are the most rational on this issue.

Catherine Johnson said...

That doesn't surprise me -- in part because military culture is the opposite extreme from school culture.

That's true for so many reasons, but if I had to choose just one I would choose the fact that in the military the consequences for not knowing what you're doing are often severe.

I'm constantly struck by the amount of analysis the military does of strategy, tactics, history, etc.

Also, the military seems to place a premium on liberal arts education.

Which is pretty much dead as a dodo out here in public-school-land.

OK, that's 2 things.