The lack of proper framing in education discussions serves to build assumptions that folks are talking about the same thing, when in reality, they could be nearly 180 degrees apart. I’ve taken a few pieces here and there from things I’ve read over the past few months to demonstrate how they were framed, or not framed, and some assumptions which may or may not occur.

Student Achievement, Testing, and Teachers

Some believe standardized tests are not a reasonable measure of students mastery or lack there or, yet point at standardized test results as to why charter schools and other approaches are not the end all solution.

Some believe that teacher performance or lack there is far from a large factor in a students achievement, yet at the same time find alternative teaching licensing programs dangerous and ill thought out.

Some believe that standardized testing is the greatest thing ever, so much so, that they dont seem to mind that 80%+ of the school years technology resources are tied not to education, but to testing. Some have even gone so far as to state more testing is needed.

Fairness and Inequality

Some believe that schools are tasked with solving societies social problems of fairness and inequality in addition to education. Others could care less whether fairness and inequality were addressed in a school format, much less being solved by it.

Some believe that students who dont want to be in school harm pull the entire classroom down, and as such mandatory attendance laws should be scrapped. Others believe that students who dont want to be in school should be kept there anyhow, such that society benefits by reduced crime in the future, no matter the cost financially, and to the other students in the short term.

Funding

Some see education as a way to make a fast buck, and get locked in to long term contracts favoring themselves via legislative action, thus spending money on lobbyists is nearly more important that the students. Others see any spending on politics whether it be via lobbyists or unions as a distraction from the primary focus, the student. Others go so far as to say it is wrong for a private entity to profit from public money, even more so if it takes money away from the classroom.

Some see vouchers as a way to save money, as in some situations, they provide K12 edu at 1/2 the cost of public education, but they dont consider what may be gained lost as a result. Others see any alternative methods of education as an attack on funding for public education, and as such is anathema.

I dont know what the answer is… but clarity and / or framing an issue with all the factors out in the open I think is key. Assumptions that folks are on the same page does not work out too well.