If you read about education, you are sometimes tempted to think that all common sense has departed this nation, its leaders, and its mass media.

They keep looking for quick fixes, miracles, turnarounds, and magical answers as “solutions” to education problems.

Here is Ray Strabeck, a retired school superintendent in Mississippi, who reminds us that there are still people who know what they are talking about and who are willing to speak up.

He reminds his readers of the fads that came and went over his 50 years in education.

He reminds them of the limitations of standardized tests.

As for all the weeping and wailing about how “our schools are failing,” “we are losing the race to nations with higher test scores,” Strabeck has a few wise observations about the goal of “beating” other nations:


I find such a motivation ridiculous. Who first landed on the moon? Americans trained in American public schools. Who has orbited Earth more times than any other nation? Americans who were educated in public schools. Who has probed deeper in the sea than anyone else — maybe excluding Jacques Cousteau? Again the answer is Americans who began their learning in public schools. Solar energy, fossil fuels, electronic technologies, social programs, jurisprudence — and the list goes on and on.

If history is to be examined regarding Common Core, it is a program that might last some four to eight years. Having been involved in public education for nearly 50 years, I have watched this timeline remain fairly constant across the years: both politicians and educators finally conclude that the latest fad is not working, and something new arises they want to try.

What, then, assures good schools and higher student achievement? Economics, pure and simple. Find me a good school, and nine times out of 10 there will also be found a flourishing economy in that school community.

Our plea that good schools bring good industries is a misnomer, a case of getting the cart before the horse. Make sure that parents have good jobs, that small businesses are flourishing in the neighborhood and that people take pride in where they live and one of the unfailing outcomes is good schools.

And he adds:

If we would spend the money currently being spent on Common Core on economic development and sustain that kind of effort for, say, four or five years, we would soon see “good” schools emerging. 

Please read the whole article.