Where to Start

The information being disseminated about education reform  can be overwhelming. Many people want to take action, but are unsure where to start. This page helps break down the information in a way that is as concise and  user-friendly as possible. Readers are encouraged to conduct their own research to validate these findings and dive deeper into the issues that affect and/or concern them.

What is Education Reform?

Education reform is a national effort led by politicians and corporations with the goal of changing public education, due to misguided notions that public schools were failing. Although reform efforts have been around for decades, the current state of reform began with the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in 2001, which give control over education to the federal government and placed certain requirements on states in order to receive funding for schools to operate. The Race to the Top Fund was then created in 2009, which carried these initiatives further by providing more monetary incentives for states to implement them.

In 2015, NCLB was reauthorized as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA is lengthy, complicated, convoluted and was passed within a few days after congress was given the final version of the act. There are varying interpretations of the specifics, but it is generally accepted that some of the decision-making has been shifted back to the states. However, the federal government still maintains control in the form of approval processes, and many states (including Florida) will likely continue with the previously established reform efforts regardless of any flexibility provided by the act.

The basic premise behind education reform is that standardization of curriculum, high stakes assessments, accountability, educational choice and free market competition among educational institutions will improve public schools. Common buzz words that are components of reform efforts include Common Core State Standards (Aka CCSS), high stakes testing, school choice, privatization, charter school expansion, data mining, school grades, personalized learning, and pay-for-performance evaluations/merit pay for teachers and administrators.

What’s wrong with Education Reform?

Those who are advocating against these efforts are not opposed to standards, assessment or accountability. However, the current efforts were created and implemented mostly by politicians and corporations at the federal and state level who have little to no education experience or credentials. In seeing that the U.S. falls behind counter parts in other countries on standardized test scores, the reformers have taken drastic action to do what they feel is necessary to gain control and bring about change. However, studies have shown that standardized tests do not measure critical skills needed for success in life such a critical thinking, problem solving and creativity. Furthermore, to compare the U.S. to other countries is not entirely accurate given the stark differences in the educational structure and which children are actual tested in other countries. More information about international test score comparisons.

These misguided reform efforts (more information below) are not improving public schools. On the contrary, federal government control and punitive efforts on the part of the State have left schools and teachers will little autonomy or control over the classroom environment. As a result, quality teachers are leaving the profession, students are not enjoying school and many parents are left feeling like there is no other option.

It’s time for parents, teachers and education leaders to come together to take back our public schools!

Read more about specific aspects of education reform on our web site:
Florida Standards 
High Stakes Testing
Data Mining

What now?

A growing number of parents, teachers, school administrators, school boards and superintendents across the state are becoming more and more concerned about education reform each day. Now is the time to let our district, state and national leaders know how we feel and demand immediate change.

Visit our How to get Involved page for more information. Or, go straight to our District, State and National Resources pages to become a part of the discussions taking place and learn who to contact with your concerns.

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