Education reformers advocate for specific improvements

What are the views of education reformers? The most important, perhaps, is that they strive to make decisions based on solid research, not conjecture. The preponderance of data clearly demonstrates that teachers are the most important school-based factor in student achievement. This is not to say that other factors do not matter — just not as much. Great teaching trumps everything else: curriculum, technology, even class size. –Kimberly Lasher Mitchell

It’s a given in education reformers’ minds that “education reform” is self-evidently a good thing. They reason that the K-12 system in this state, like so many K-12 systems around the nation, obviously needs reforms and move right on to advocating for specific ideas to improve our schools.

But there are plenty of people ready to push back on the very idea of education reform, let alone specific policy goals. Visit any education forum and you’ll see accusations that reformers are “corporatists” seeking to end public education, that they’re “lackeys for the Gates Foundation” and focused on tests, teacher firings and profits.

The positive work and honest motivations of education reformers are completely dismissed, and that’s too bad. That’s why it’s so refreshing to see this op-ed stick up for specific reforms and for the very idea that our classrooms can be vigorously improved through better data, proven reforms, and direct community involvement. I appreciated this summation of what education reformers believe:

Education reformers agree on putting the needs of children before adults. They believe that a principal should have a say in which teachers are assigned to his or her school community. They feel schools should be able to hold on to their most talented staff regardless of seniority when layoffs occur.

The entire piece is worth your time. Read it here:

— Rob McKenna

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Rob McKenna
Rob served two terms as Washington’s Attorney General, from 2005 to 2013. He successfully argued three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and negotiated three of the largest consumer financial protection settlements in national history, all involving mortgage lending and servicing. He is a recognized leader in the development of consumer protections on the internet, in data protection and privacy regulation.