Florida’s schools have shown consistent improvement in the last 10 years. How? By implementing reforms in their education system. They continue to debate vouchers, they are batting merit (or performance) pay around, they’ve adapted their curriculums, etc. Florida and California are looking at collective bargaining and its usefulness and impact on outcomes. They are considering joining 18 other states that forbid certain public groups to even have collective bargaining.
Ohio, Indianapolis, Washington D.C., and many other states are contributing to what is being referred to by many as an education revolution through charter school expansion and development, professional development, virtual education options, open enrollment and so many more reform measures. Teachers and administrators struggle to keep up with all the change. With each success comes greater demand for reform and change. It is a bit much for some [teachers/administrators] to handle, according to Mike Thomas in “Teacher merit pay: Show me the money!” But he also points out that even during this time of economic cutbacks that Florida has shown an upward trend in academic performance for the last decade they’ve been implementing reforms. Thomas suggests that our education system could lose many teachers if our economy advances such that the country really increases jobs because of these changes, as they will be enticed by competitive salaries in the business world. He also suggests that would be an exciting time to enter teaching, provided the profession is truly offered competitive wages in exchange for excellence.
So, what does that say to Missourians? We must not fear change as it is truly the only constant. Given we recognize that we must improve our academic attainment and outcomes for Missouri’s children, then change is necessary. We can learn from the successes of other states who have initiated successful innovations already. We are also poised to potentially join the leadership of the education reform movement, provided we actually do our home-work and study up.