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Prelude to an energy policy January 27, 2007

Posted by @Doc in Energy & the Environment.
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I have invited a lot of you into the process, and some of you have graciously accepted. The wagon has room for plenty more folks, so please, pile on.

One of our new teammates is my friend and colleague Brian Angliss, who has in the past couple years set about the task of establishing himself as a first-rate political, social, and economic commentator. One of his current concerns is our energy situation, and I have invited him to compose the energy policy plank to the Dr. Slammy in ’08 platform. The first foray has been posted over at the 5th Estate, where he and I are pretty active.

I expect a full-on plank to emerge in the near future, and the quality of it will surely force me to get more serious about my own offerings.

And away we go….

Tenure Reform in Public Schools January 16, 2007

Posted by Brian Angliss in Education.
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Teacher tenure, aka due-process employment, essentially provides teachers a guarantee that they cannot be fired for no good reason. At its best, this means that biology teachers are protected if they teach evolution, history teachers are protected if they teach about now poorly the U.S. government treated Japanese-Americans during WWII, and teachers in general who have personality conflicts with their administrators cannot be summarily dismissed without cause. At its worst, poor quality teachers who shouldn’t be teaching are permitted to continue because they’re careful not to give administrators cause to be fired.

We need to figure out a way to keep tenure’s protections for teachers who teach effectively while easing the removal of teachers who simply cannot teach. (more…)

Over-testing and the “accountability” dodge January 6, 2007

Posted by @Doc in Education.
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Another bit of the platform, and this time we’re talking about one of the things that’s really eating at the guts of education: thanks to people who can’t tell the difference between a symptom and a disease, we’re dumping brazilians of dollars into teaching our children to take tests. That these kinds of tests don’t exist in the real world, well, that’s not their problem, is it?

It’s our problem, though.

My theory is that if you fix what’s really wrong with education, then you no longer have to hide behind <i>faux</i>-constucts like “accountability,” which sounds great but isn’t really what it pretends to be.

Read more.

Teacher comp plank posted January 3, 2007

Posted by @Doc in Education.
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Today’s lesson: basic economics apply to teaching. There are a lot of incredibly talented people out there who’d rather be teaching, but when push comes to shove they’re simply not willing to sacrifice their ability to earn a decent living. So they take the better job for twice the pay, and the teaching job goes to the person who doesn’t have the skills and ability to land that higher paying job.

Happens every day. And it’s time it stopped happening. It’s time we stopped paying lip service, and little else, to the idea that teaching is important and noble. It’s time we started applying the basic laws of economics to the incomparably critical task of preparing for the future.

The teacher compensation platform plank is posted here, and can also be accessed off thePlatform page. As always, comments are welcome.

New plank – organization and administration January 3, 2007

Posted by @Doc in Education.
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While we’re going to talk about “throwing money” at things like teacher salaries, it begins with coherent organizational strategy that reflects current needs and dynamics. Without structural reform, my fiscally conservative friends are right – increased spending will fail.

However, within the context of a new administrative model, we can invest budget in ways that will show return.

To review the organization plank, click here. It can also be accessed off the Platform page in the sub-page menu to the right.

Campaign launches – platform statement posted January 1, 2007

Posted by @Doc in 2008 Campaign.
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Hi, and Happy New Year. May 2007 be the best year of our lives so far.

Today I launched the first article of my presidential campaign, the EducationF1rst Statement of Principle, which can be found on the education sub-page linked in the right column of the Platform page. (Press release here.)

As noted earlier, this campaign – our campaign – will build on a single, dominant principle: we have no problems that we cannot solve through education.

Over the coming days and weeks I will be posting my platform a section at a time. I invite your feedback and ideas, as I see this campaign as a collaborative process. The platform will be fluid and subject to revision as new wisdom emerges, and I encourage you to spread the word, inviting others you know into the process.

We won’t agree on every plank – that’s perhaps the only guarantee we have in this initiative. But if we pledge to work together in good faith, I feel certain that we will evolve a campaign that we can all commit to, because the sum of our shared interests will far outweigh our differences on tactical details.

Join with me as we work to shape the American agenda in ways that place the benefits to our culture, our nation and our children ahead of the self-serving, cynical interests that have ushered us to our current state.