Monday, February 13, 2006

The state of the State of the State, California Style

Some comments on the California State of Education 2006. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell on Tuesday, February 7, 2006, in Sacramento, California had this to say. Friedman's World is Flat clamoring continues. I'll ignore the groveling at the Governator's feet. "Bodybuilding epic"?! Come on. How many of us would use Pumping Iron and epic in the same sentence?

There are two issues I'd like to take up in O'Connell's speech.

One, the historical implication that compulsory high schooling came first followed by the university. By 1860 there were 241 colleges granting degrees in the United States. This number began to explode following the Morril Act of 1862, an act that allowed for the proliferation of university-like units. In the 1880's the modern university existed in the form of Johns Hopkins, Cornell, Harvard, Clark, and Columbia. As far as the Secretary's suggestion about compulsory high school happening before the university was established, 19 States did not have compulsory school attendance laws until after 1900. And to this very day,
30 states require 10 or less years of attendance.

Two, the Secretary's comment about quenching the thirst for administrators with programs to recruit from the business community to should be proposed in addition to helping existing teachers with strong leadership skills enter the principalship. There is nothing wrong with a principal who is a former classroom teacher. To propose recruitment from the outside without proposing recruitment from within suggests more than the Secretary would be willing to say in a straightforward manner. I wager.
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