Mitch Murphy, one of the cleverest men I have met, has the unenviable task of getting us through a major budget crisis. Politics is his enemy. On PEI the political debate is simple. School is good. Teachers are good. All we need is more money and everything will be good. Don't change anything or we will attack you.
Now Mitch as a teacher knows that the school system is not working and does not necessarily need more money but to be different. He knows that we have poor outcomes on PEI and that PEI is not alone. Most traditional schools are doing badly in that they are not producing the goods. Home schooling now has almost a million converts in the US. Well adjusted Kids who have the skills and the attitude to cope with life. Mitch knows that this is not all the fault of the schools but also of how we parent. Having taught Grade 1, he has seen kids arrive and within a week has been able to see how things will work out for better or worse for most of them.
How do we change the debate to get off the simplistic that all we need is more money or not less?
This graph shows the massive increase in funding in the US aimed at kids in trouble. The flat line is the attainment line. The rising bars are the money line. The brutal fact is that all this investment in a broken system has yielded no return.
School as we have it is not a sacred cow except in our memory. It does not need more money it demands a rethink. But how when all believe that it is a sacred cow to we start this process? More on this topic of the simple versus the complex when we talk about health in the same context.