As I enter my 34th year in education, I hope 2014 will bring significant changes for public education in our country. Behind the five items on my “wish list” is a single fervent hope: that we come together as a community and as a country to make sure every student has the opportunity to become a productive citizen.

1. Leaders at the national, state, and local levels will stop making education a partisan issue. They will work together to transform, not just reform public education in our country, and will begin to think about how to meaningfully redesign our education systems both structurally and in in terms of how we teach in the classroom. Accountability through standardized testing has helped, but we need to make substantive changes that go beyond accountability measures and will make a greater difference for students.

2. Leaders and citizens will see that investing in education is critical for our economic future and for our nation’s security, prosperity and success. We will begin to spend more on educating our children than on incarcerating our young adults.

3. Our culture will honor and value teachers in such a way that we purposefully recruit our top students to enter the field and pay them accordingly. We will celebrate our young adults who become teachers as much as we celebrate those who become doctors or professional athletes.

4. Eliminating poverty will become a national priority and a truly collaborative effort. Schools will play a critical role in ending the cycle of poverty for families in need, but all public and private institutions will share in the work.

5. Parents and local community members will engage with local school systems to support education efforts. Strong communities will build and maintain strong schools.

If they came true, these five wishes for the New Year would dramatically change public education for the better. It can’t be a race, but a journey. Let’s begin to take the first small steps together! Join me in advocating to protect the promise of public education.

Theresa R. Alban

is superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools

(14) comments

AnnetteCox

2014 has a lot to offer in education. It brings more advancements in terms of the learning systems of students. I'd like to buy custom essay online as part of my first goal for 2014

backroomfrederick

"Education wishes for 2014"

Make it mandatory for BoCC candidates.

amault

My suggestion for FCPS is to start teaching with the goal of enriching children's lives and truly educating them rather than to simply meet benchmarking standards. I have the utmost respect for teachers and I am not the type of parent to make excuses for my children, however from my recent experience I think we've gotten away from trying to instill a strong knowledge base of fundementals due to the new common core curriculum which seems to skip over some of the important basic concepts.

recon77

Here's what we wish for Theresa. Realistic teacher evaluations that remove subpar performers from the classroom. Merit pay based on performance not automatic raises (step increases) every year based on tenure. Zero-based budgeting with realistic goals for spending instead of unfundable wish lists every year. And discipline in schools that punishes perpetrators not victims.

thump1202

evaluating teachers isn't as easy as it sounds, a lot of it has to do with the demographics of the feeder areas. no surprise if the kids in urbana do better than hillcrest no matter how good the teacher is. it's a rough job as you pointed out they are given no teeth, very little license to go out of curriculum guidelines, parents usually aren't there to instill good values in their kids so they get to deal with the fallout of that as well. most people i know who went to school with education degrees passed on being a teacher and went to corporate world instead.

watson4sherlock

Money is what Alban knows best. That's want she did in her previous job.

She has spent her entire 30-year career working in Maryland school systems. Currently, she is the Chief Operating Officer for the Howard County Public School System where she is responsible for school facilities, technology, transportation, research and assessment, student information systems, and emergency preparedness. She is the first woman to have held that position.

See http://www.education.umd.edu/CollegeNews/2011/wnrSuptAlban110414.html

watson4sherlock

Howard County is the richest county in Maryland. Maybe they would take her back or she could retire and draw her pension before you drives Frederick County into banruptcy.

See http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomvanriper/2013/04/25/americas-richest-counties/

teacherdbc

"Education reform proponents, whose backgrounds are primarily from management, finance, technology, government—and not education—are trying very hard—to the tune of billions of dollars—to sell the public a rather interesting bill of goods. You will see, among other things, the championing of common core standards, standardized assessments, data-collection systems, and an expensive technological infrastructure to make this all possible."

But elite private schools are going in a different direction. Why shouldn't we? http://www.good.is/posts/why-america-s-prep-schools-aren-t-following-arne-duncan-s-public-school-education-reforms

thump1202

teaching effectiveness has more to do with parent involvement and the moral standards of a community than dollars spent per pupil.

jerseygrl42

Sounds like its all about more money and that is unfortunate considering the fact that we "invest" more money per student than any country in the world , how do you explain this and how is it you expect yet more money to turn things around?....also not a word about the ugly common core......there is more to life than money, lets talk about why all this money has failed to produce the desired results

japorciento

"We will begin to spend more on educating our children than on incarcerating our young adults." True. The problems are twofold: 1. The for-profit crime industry plays on fear, the most powerful emotion, rather than rationality. ALEC, for example, lobbies for "stand your ground" laws, three strikes and you're out sentencing, and so on. Privatized prisons are the worst of it, as they contract with governments to ensure higher occupancy rates--nothing to do with reducing crime but everything to do with making money for investors. 2. "Private" schools survive on government aid, but are free from compliance with many government rules and guidelines. They aren't required to educate all but may cherry-pick from among the least needful students, leaving the disabled and disadvantaged for further pressure on the public schools. And so it goes.

aceemily

Number 3, I agree, wholeheartedly. The rest, nothing but cut-and-paste pablum. I'm starting to worry that we picked the wrong person to lead the FCPS. Ms. Alban, along with Gary Brennan, have done nothing overt to better our schools. Demanding more taxpayer money is not leadership.

captainsuburbia

Well said!

president8444

Nothing new , we all want better education. for our children.Blah blah.

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