I recently had the pleasure of reading, Push Has Come to Shove, by Dr. Steve Perry. Dr. Perry is the principal of Capital Prep Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut seeking to educate students from poverty stricken neighborhoods. Also through books such as, Push Has Come to Shove and public speaking engagements on CNN and such, Dr. Perry is attempting to educate parents as well on how to demand proficient teachers and quality education. While I didn’t agree with all of Dr. Perry’s point of views, his overall message rings clear. Our society should solely concern itself with the best interest of our youth, there should be an accountability to school staff that assures no child is left behind. School choice has been in debate for years; school vouchers will give parents the option to choose a school, which best suits their child’s interest, beliefs and learning style.
With growing private and parochial schools surviving and/or struggling with tuition costs, school choice would provide vouchers that afford students quality education and qualified staff. Dr. Perry looks into the existence of tenure teachers, unions and teacher certifications and how he believes they hold back the progress of student achievement.
Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of Washington D.C. school district is discussed for her bravery in closing failing schools and firing non-productive school staff. Rhee was fired for her nontraditional tactics to improve the school district. “Michelle Rhee sought to institute a novel evaluation system that combined accountability and rewards…union fought this proposal because it gave too much power to the principal to determine who is or isn’t a good teacher.” There are so many issues surrounding our public schools and unfortunately the solutions fail to focus on the most important variable in the problem, the students.
Our public schools are designed to protect all staff and to educate as many students as they can. These unions fight for staff as they fail to educate and prepare our youth for college and/or society. Some people disagree with the methodology of Rhee by focusing on the numerous unemployed teachers and closed schools instead of increased achieving students and manageable class sizes. Just like the outcome of Brown v. Board of Education it is time for our education system to see radical change for the success of our future. I salute those in education such as: Michelle Rhee and Dr. Steve Perry; change is just as necessary for our future as it was for our past.