Dear Senators McCain and Obama
Here are three suggestions for enhancing your education platforms. Steal these ideas if you dare!
Fix NCLB by delivering solutions not just sanctions Accountability is an essential but not sufficient step in improving schools. The on-going effort to make federal accountability systems more workable and fairer needs to continue by testing alternative approaches to determining adequate yearly progress. But most importantly more time, attention, and resources need to be aimed at developing and delivering solutions to schools identified by the accountability to be in need of the greatest help. Specifically the next reauthorization of ESEA should call for a coherent and comprehensive delivery system involving applied research, development, knowledge management, technical assistance, professional development, and evaluation. Priority attention should be aimed at turning around chronically low performing schools and addressing the unique needs of underserved and underachieving populations.
Unleash American ingenuity in solving the most persistent and significant education problems In many sectors such as medicine, agriculture, energy, and defense, research and development (R&D) has served as the catalyst for innovation and change. New products, services and techniques are constantly developed, tested and refined to address current and future problems and challenges. Education R&D should be reinvented as an incubator of breakthrough innovations and focused on translating research into action. The federal R& D budget in education should be increased to 5% (about $3billion) of the federal education budget with a significant portion dedicated to an innovation fund for research-based school improvement. This innovation initiative should stimulate a knowledge market and mobilize dynamic and robust relationships among researchers, developers, knowledge brokers, practitioners and policy makers..
Build the capacity for change and innovation
States and localities do not currently have the capacity in terms of time and expertise to undertake many of the transformative changes needed in our schools to meet 21st Century needs. The federal government should provide the needed additional support at the state and local level to develop human capital, build a useable knowledge base, and foster innovation. Specifically, the federal investment in the school improvement fund should be doubled to $1 billion and refined to include programs for sharing promising practices, testing innovative interventions, and creating data and knowledge management systems.
All the best,
The Knowledge-able Sourcerer