In my view public schools are already a lost cause.
However, if you insist on beating your head against the wall to improve them the only steps to take are the ones the lead to greater a greater autonomy and independence for each individual school whether or not part of a larger district. Here are a few of my suggestions:
Each individual public school should be more closely organized like a private school.
1. The school's community should be composed of the teachers, parents of the current students, and alumni/ae.
2. The Community should elect a board of trustees to guide and maintain the mission of the school, raise an endowment for it, and appoint its Head administrator(s).
3. The Head of School is then responsible for the hiring of the faculty, and administering the curriculum as circumscribed by the mission and direction the trustees have chosen for the school.
This kind of structural change is essential to any real, fundamental, and meaningful improvement in "public" education. Though politically these changes are unobtainable, so why not throw in the towel early and homeschool.
~ Engage in the war of attrition: http://pacalliance.us/redamendment/
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