Efficiency in Education: What Does That Mean?

How many times have you heard a politician publicly push the concept of efficiency in education reform?

But thanks to the ever-growing strength of education business lobbyists and the laws they have promoted, the result has been that our public schools have progressed towards privatization in leaps-and-bounds for the last three decades. Where has that “progress” towards efficiency in education really gotten us?

Grinding forward or to a halt?

Grinding forward or to a halt?

Many have been sold on the idea that you can’t change the system; the entrenchment of the system itself is proof of that, right?

Many believe they can’t improve their own schools and, unfortunately, in some places this is true. But that is exactly where we need our representatives to put forth policy that promotes real school improvement practices. We need laws that protect and serve the learning needs of children. We need a system responsive to their needs. That is where efficiency in education begins.

Why do we keep doing the same things over and over —higher standards, “better” tests, and new accountability systems— and expect different results?

Maybe it is just easier to have someone else take care of our kids. Kids can be tested, sorted, categorized, graded, funneled into programs deemed appropriate, and the outcomes can be efficiently made to fit the predicted needs of corporations. Is that what we call an efficient system? For a free society based on justice and opportunity, is that the type of standardized education system the people are asking for? It is what we are getting.

Efficiency in education means putting our dollars and human resources where they can do the most good for the students. What we are doing instead is working to standardize minds.

The system — since Brown versus Board of Education — stands to promote quality education and provide a way to deliver on the promise of equal opportunity for children. Efficient means “working well.”