Why is it hard to talk about education policy? 3 key interlocking choices. 1. In one corner, weighing in at 98 pounds, Big Change Versus In the grey trunks, at 800 pounds, the extremely well-funded...Little-to-no Change.
Big Change case is obvious.
The case for little change (in schools): kids in suburban schools seem to do well. Kids in high-poverty schools don't need a much better education so much; they need to escape poverty. I.e., let's not make a big change in schools, let's do a little there and do big things elsewhere.
If you buy into Big Change, then...
2. Decentralized/less regulation/more innovation/parent choice Versus Finland/Best Practices
Decentralized includes KIPP, Florida vouchers, Teach For America, Khan Academy, Bell Foundation, $125,000 per year teachers, etc.
Finland is a highly centralized education system with top educational outcomes. USA is highly centralized with so-so outcomes. To achieve the Big Change in this category would mean an excellent national curriculum, and a standardized, clinical approach to change teachers so they're better at "teaching" and better with the kids.
If you lean towards the former, then
3. Decentralized/Innovation can bring rapid, massive change Versus It probably can't, but it's still a good idea
A greenfield perspective is skeptical that anyone can predict the future, and focuses on creating conditions where a diverse mix of problem-solvers with different visions are all beavering away.
The greenfield strategy is both more modest and more ambitious than the best practice approach.
It is more modest in that it doesn’t imagine we will “fix” our schools in the next few years—or the next few decades—but instead treats school improvement as an uneven, ongoing project. It’s more ambitious in that it does not simply seek to improve schools but envisions the continuous emergence of better ways to deliver and support teaching and learning.
If K-12 operated like a stock market, where you could make bets on trends, Skeptic Rick would bet against USA K-12 success and, alas "for the kids", probably make a ton of dough.