05 December 2010

Deregulation of Public Education Proposal


The link listed above is a proposal made in response to a request from the Utah State Legislature in 2003. It proposes structural changes to our system of public education, changes to the infrastructure, changes in teacher training, and a simplifying of the government intrusion into local schools to more fully empower parents and teachers.

The proposal includes plans for a trial pilot. Parts of it could be implemented separately providing measurable improvement, but the total would provide more than the sum of its parts. The magic of full implementation of this deregulation plan would be in the improvement it would bring to parents and teachers, which would bring greater advances to the children than any other reformation or restructuring thus far proposed. Rather than guaranteeing government-forced success, which doesn’t work anyway, this proposal clears out weeds that are choking success, making it much more likely.

11 November 2010

Saying smaller school results are mixed is inaccurate.

Recent media articles have given a mixed message about the successes of smaller schools. The trouble is two fold. First, smaller schools were never a guarantee of success. It only made success more likely – probably more likely than any other factor changeable from outside the family. Some studies say that the only higher predictor of success than school size was socioeconomics, i.e. the family. With smaller schools, success becomes possible for people who will work to create the right setting for learning to happen. Big schools make that much more difficult.

Second, most attempts at creating smaller schools have not been truly smaller schools or they changed other things in the process. Most attempts at creating smaller schools have been what used to be called “schools within a school.” These is where students continue to come to the same big school but are grouped together by a common theme in smaller “communities” within the same school. Though it has been called creating smaller schools, it is not. It is just another way of organizing a large school.

Some have even reorganized a community of schools so that, for instance, all of the sixth grade students go to one building with other grades also similarly grouped. This is also NOT creating small schools, because the magic of smaller schools is in lowering the grade level size. Smaller grade levels make it possible for all students of varying interests, at the same age to know each other well, and makes real collaboration between teachers less difficult and cumbersome.

A school of 600 6th graders would be a huge school because the grade level size is so big. A school of the same number of students grades K-6 would be a moderately sized school, because there would be somewhat less than 100 students per grade. If a school was a K-12 school with that same number of students, it would truly be a small school, again, because of the number of students per grade level rather than per building.

Conclusions that smaller schools have mixed results are not accurate, because they aren’t judging real smaller schools. They are evaluating reorganized large schools. Schools within a school are what have mixed results – not smaller schools.

Real smaller schools work. Pretending to create them confuses people. The research is already there. When will we listen and act accordingly?!

31 July 2010


In a big district, principals have little say in district policy or direction. District administrators that form the superintendent's cabinet make those decisions. In a community-sized district principals ARE the cabinet of the superintendent!

06 March 2010

All is not as it seems

Deseret News has done a poll showing over 3/4 of Salt Lake Valley residents feel that the Jordan District division and creation of Canyons School District was unfair. The poll result is not surprising when that's all the public has been told for the past two years by the media. If the media had done to our founding fathers what it has done to these modern day pioneers, George Washington, etc., would never have been able to split from Great Britain.

District administrators have also not been above arousing and inflaming the natural antagonism of one region against another to defeat any creation of a new school district. When it was proposed that Lehi split from the Alpine S.D., we were told Lehi would need a 40% tax hike while Orem would be able to lower their taxes. When Orem proposed dividing a couple years later, the district then said the opposite, that Orem would see a reduction in their funding.

Among many other things the public hasn't been told is that Jordan S.D. has MORE tax base per student than Alpine, Cache, Davis, Nebo, and Weber School Districts WITHOUT any extra! These districts are facing the same problems of growth with cuts in funding. Jordan administrators are using the current economic shortage to blame and scare people against dividing our huge Wasatch Front school districts, which would be the best thing we could do for education.