Tuesday, July 15, 2008

National Association for Public School Learning (NAPSL)

This is a call for a public discussion about forming a National Association for Public School Learning (NAPSL), an independent body to advocate for public policies to make public school learning more competitive with private schools and with other efforts for students to meet global demands.

While touring private boarding schools and colleges with grand daughters, I've wondered how public school students can compete with their graduates. These independent organizations offer focused academic based intellectual and life skill development intended to promote informed personal initiative in competitive national and international settings. Various market forces appear to hold them accountable for maintaining superior performing student bodies and alumni. Several associations of independent schools and colleges provide analyses and other supports to assist them to maintain their focus.

What forces beyond political discussions hold public schools accountable so that their students can compete with its independent competitors? Many special interest groups and examples of government legislation have asserted slices of accountability, but no single entity speaks for only for public school learning. Each of the existing advocates for public schools has a vested interest that competes directly with giving priority to improving public school learning.

For example, board of education members must consider the affects each board agenda item vote has on reelection irrespective of impacts on student learning rates. Each teacher union bargain with a school board results from compromises about budget distribution that arguably also compromises student learning.

A National Association for Public Schools could serve as an authoritative voice for public school learning the way a defense attorney advocates for a client in a legal contest.

NAPSL staff could assemble specialists who provide independent assessments about existing and pending public school practices and policies, including impacts of board of education member vote on reelection and union contracts on public school student learning rates.

Does anyone else have interest in exploring the idea of creating a National Association of Public School Learning as a voice for student learning?

What influence do you think a NAPSL could have on public school learning rates, including on teaching-learning processes and outcomes?

What about also forming a National Association of Public School Learners as a self advocacy unit of public schools students to address their interests with boards of education, much as teachers have unions to speak for themselves?