As the Olympic Games roll on I plan to watch my fair share of coverage and hopefully catch a couple Ohio athletes in action. The patriotism and competitive spirit on display these last two weeks has been inspiring.
But as someone who works closely with education policy, I wish we all exhibited as much attentiveness and passion for the performance of our schools and students as we do for our Olympians. I love the Games as much as anyone – and we have much to be proud of when it comes to our athletic accomplishments as a nation – but the reality is our students are missing the mark on key international benchmarks.
For example, since we know that the work our teachers do in the classroom is the most critical factor impacting how kids learn, policymakers should act to compensate teachers based on student performance – how much their kids are learning – and not simply on the years they’ve been in the system.
And as we work here in Ohio toward a statewide resolution for our school-funding model, we should support critical programs that help students achieve and adopt stringent accountability measures to make sure we’re allocating resources where they’re needed most.
The bottom line is we must seek greater outcomes in our schools by evaluating every policy that holds back or impedes student success. While our international rankings in math, science and reading are troubling, to be sure, what’s worse is the direction in which our kids appear to be headed.
By working together we can and will reverse this trend, and in the spirit of the Olympics and our dedicated athletes, I can’t think of anything more patriotic.