The Atlanta Journal-Constitution confusingly reports that Georgia’s Clayton school district’s change to Direct Instruction (DI) this year is to blame for its substantial loss of teachers. Yet a few paragraphs down we learn that the teacher loss has been ongoing for at least three years.
Despite a relatively unregulated private school sector in the U.S., opportunities for innovation in education are constrained by the dominance of the government school educational standard. The matrix of curriculum, textbooks, standardized testing, and teacher training and certification form a standard, analogous to a computer operating system standard, which is essentially designed to the specifications dictated by government-run schools. Just as a dominant operating system is preferred by most consumers because of the ease of transferring data within a known system and the greater availability of software for the dominant system, so too consumers will prefer an educational approach with a known interface to existing educational institutions. Entrepreneurial educators will find it more economical to start new schools that are consistent with the dominant system in order to take advantage of available curricula, textbooks, tests, and teacher training, experience, and certification.
When I took office in 1999, I made it my highest priority to provide a quality education to all of Florida’s children. For the past seven years, I have had the honor of working with thousands of educators, policymakers, parents and students to make that happen by bringing true reform to Florida’s public education system. Five rules have guided our success.