The Education Party.

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Schools in America are in trouble.

And I’m not talking about academically.  At least not in this blog.

I’m talking about financially.

We could argue about what has caused this gigantic monetary mess, but I don’t have that kind of time.

Ahh, who am I kidding.  I’ve got nothing but time (as these endless blogs prove over and over…).

In my mind, two groups are to blame for this mess.

Politicians and

Politicians are number one on my list because they are simpletons.  They are incapable of making a single rationale decision on behalf of the people they represent.  As a group, they are more “me” than “we” (I just went Obama on you… or if you’re old school, I just went Jesse Jackson).

Number two on my list?  Voters. 

Why?  Because we continue to send the same geniuses back to our local, state, and federal governments. (and by geniuses, I don’t mean geniuses).

We don’t need term limits, we need a clue (although term limits wouldn’t hurt).

There is something else that will help keep both groups in line.  We need a 3rd political party.

And it should be named The Education Party (I kind of gave that away in the title didn’t I?).

It will be “The Party for Our Future” (I really should copyright that..).

Every political party needs a mascot and ours will be an Apple.  This means we will get free advertising from 84% of elementary teachers who already own a sweater with the party symbol on it (I briefly considered going with a Snowman because 99% of elementary teachers own sweaters with those on them).

The party will stand for the following:  children.  Yes that’s right, children.  Period.

We will believe in: not lying, playing fair, no bullying of other countries, not spending money we don’t have, and all of the other values good parents and educators try to instill in our kids.

As our party name implies, we will be pro-education.

But not pro-education in making things easier for administrators and teachers.

Pro-education in making things better for students. 

Longer school days?  Maybe.  School on Saturday?  Possibly.  Year-round school calendar?  I hope not, but we have to be open to anything.  Keep tenure?  Only if it’s good for kids.  Higher pay for school employees?  Yes, but it will come with higher expectations.  Open enrollment to make districts compete like businesses?  Count me in.  Placing students at grade level based on ability, not age?  Definitely.

Most importantly, we will run on a platform of teaching our students the basics.  But the basics for this century, not the last one.

Reading (and lots of it), Math, Science, English, History (and just not our version), Foreign Languages (in elementary school), Technology (current, not Microsoft Works), Health and Nutrition (like PE, but not just whiffle ball), and last but not least… Personal Discipline and Responsibility (after all, we don’t want our kids to grow up and be like our present politicians).

The Education Party will be the party of change.

Not the party of yesterday, but the party of tomorrow (more Obama/Jackson).

We will endorse candidates who demand schools look toward the future, while still understanding we need to base our beliefs in our more conservative past (like the Andy Griffith show, but with laptops and the ability to speak Chinese).

This financial crisis could be the best thing to happen to education in the last 100 years.

But it may not be enough to just change education, we may need to change the people who make the decisions on education.

As an added bonus:  all of The Education Party Conventions will be held in San Diego.  I like it there.  It’s warm.

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22 Responses to “The Education Party.”

  1. Tom McMahon
    on Jan 23rd, 2010
    @ 6:12 pm

    Excellent post – sounds like you are beginning you political career. I 100% agree with politicians putting our children, our future, first. With term limits for legislators, they may become more interested in accomplishing something than holding on to their seats. Both sides of the political aisle may even find time to collaborate on solving issues than becoming so partisan.

    P.S. I recently found your blog and as a student for a M.Ed. in administration, I find your blog educational, inspiring, and amusing.

  2. Jenny
    on Jan 23rd, 2010
    @ 7:37 pm

    Will the Education Party not only support kids through education, but also through measures that help students at home? Anti-poverty measures and stronger parental accountability for mistreatment and neglect? I’d be a total supporter. I’m an elementary teacher without an apple sweater, but I’d get one.

  3. Lyn
    on Jan 24th, 2010
    @ 6:24 am

    If more of our current educators with vision turned to politics, we could start a revolution. Then again most of our current educators with vision who love doing what’s right for kids would never in a bazillion years abandon what they do to take on the political world. I often wonder about those working in our departments of ed. – they began as educators, no? I know some of them did. They were teachers, principals, administrators… many of them are parents. You’d think these people, who at one point in time were in the “trenches,” would have a clue. Sign me up for the Education Party! I, too, do not own an apple sweater. I have a pin, though. I could wear that.

  4. Harold Shaw
    on Jan 24th, 2010
    @ 6:38 am

    Who are we kidding the parties in power would simply pass a law once we got too popular, saying that public school employees couldn’t run for public office, much like they did for the military (Oh I forgot that was part of the Constitution)

    But just think of the changes we could make to NCLB and standardized testing. Putting the kids first, that is a novel concept, maybe we can do more of it even without becoming a political party.

    Anyway, what would happen is that as we became established and the initial leadership changes, it would be subserviant to those with money, because everyone wants a house in the Hamptons, junkets to wherever, then you would have to be careful of the “grassy knoll” and conspiracy theorists who would wonder how you gained so much power so quickly.

    The Education Party has a nice ring to it and would do great things, but unfortunately, it sounds more like something that happens on Friday night about 4:00 P.M. at a local establishment. Oh I forgot we don’t do that anymore, someone might think we are organizing a political party. :)

    Love the idea, I’m in.


  5. jim belcher
    on Jan 24th, 2010
    @ 6:44 am

    Michael and all, I’m with you.

    It’s revolutionary to think of re-making education for students, future leaders of the 21st century.

    What are the value for the 21st century? Freedom? Community? Collaboration? Creativity? Peace with all beings? Care for the planet? …what?

    What are the basics for the 21st century? Peace studies? Environmental science? Creativity? Collaboration? Community building? …what?

    I am with you. I am working on it at my college.

    jim, professor of biology, creativity and environmental science

  6. rose
    on Jan 24th, 2010
    @ 8:32 am

    I’m for a political party that would be able to moderate international as well as domestic issues. Do you folks need some windex to clean your unifocal goggles? Certainly we need a political party that promotes education as one priority. But…? Sigh. I guess I shouldn’t wonder that educated citizens posit this nonsense. Afterall, we educated them. (Sobbing and berating self but accepting full responsibility.)

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @rose, The point I was trying to make wasn’t we should just concentrate on domestic issues.

    Obviously, the world has gotten smaller and we are tied in with all of the other countries.

    My point was if we just focused on how our decisions effect our children and their childred, we would be so much better off.

    Until things change, we are stuck with a system where politicians make far too many decisions based solely on what is good for them and their political friends.

    I liked John Edwards, but he obviously was more for John Edwards than he was for his family or the nation…. and he’s just one of thousands of examples.

  7. Diane
    on Jan 24th, 2010
    @ 8:44 am

    I’m in. But only because of the San Diego conventions. :)

    Best post yet BTW.

  8. rose
    on Jan 24th, 2010
    @ 10:10 am

    With all due respect to the point u were trying to make: sir, your post did not make your point. Yet everyone who responded was quick to assume what you meant! Why would that be? Is the internet contributing to sloppy thinking skills and, worse, to poor writing ability?
    What does Edwards have to do with the price of tea in Boston? If you didn’t know about his errant habits, would you have tried harder to get him deemed electable? Do you now subscribe to the National Enquirer?
    We are a nation of bleating sheep (tweeting sheep seems oxymoronic) since the year 2000. Govt realized it can pull anything over our eyes: we’re too content and too complacent to fight back. We wouldn’t know how to organize ourselves out of the proverbial paper bag. We allowed the electoral travesty of 2000. Hate to pull a bad analogy into this but we deserve what we have in education, in budget, in internat’l relations etc. We are not the portrait of popular representatives of democracy. Do you think Norman Rockwell would’ve been moved to paint his ‘freedoms’ now?
    Somebody please tell me what “the people” have changed recently? What substantial difference has any group made politically in the last 25 years? Please? I can’t think of any impact the people have had on our government, its policies and its decisions that represent a substantial change or correction. Given that so many of us are willing to grumble discontentedly, show me some positive impact. Thank u for making it possible to engage in dialogue.

  9. Dave Meister
    on Jan 24th, 2010
    @ 12:25 pm

    The delegation from Illinois, home of the principal’s page, and various other scoundrels(scandals), does happily (cause it will get him out of town) and formally, put in for the consideration of nomination to save the nation (Obama-ish?) the one, the only,………….BUDDY!

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Dave Meister, Since Buddy is napping… again… I will speak for him.

    He accepts.

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Dave Meister, Sorry, I spoke to soon.

    He woke up and said… and this is word for word…

    “I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party to save the nation.

    Mainly, because I’m sleepy.”

    Your friend,

    Buddy the Dog

  10. Dave Meister
    on Jan 24th, 2010
    @ 12:29 pm

    BUDDY! BUDDY !BUDDY !BUDDY !BUDDY! BUDDY! BUDDY !BUDDY! …..oh shoot, I just knocked of my unifocal goggles…..

  11. David
    on Jan 24th, 2010
    @ 12:30 pm

    Hmmm, sounds like rose has an ax to grind with just about everyone, or just having a bad day. I think you can go back further than 2000 to find solid examples of how we have been a “nation of bleating sheep.” There were other times in history when Washington trampled on our freedoms (Lincoln and FDR come to mind).

    I believe Michael represented his point well in his blog with his usual sense of appropriate humor and cynicism. It makes perfect sense to base future decisions on the effect they will have on our children and their grandchildren. Better than the political decisions that are being made right now, which mostly reflect a “me” attitude.

  12. Christy
    on Jan 24th, 2010
    @ 6:36 pm

    Great post, I’m in!

  13. Dave Meister
    on Jan 24th, 2010
    @ 9:28 pm

    On a more serious note…..we need to have a return of statesmen and women to public service. Today we have politicians who are always engaged in the campaign to be re-elected. I have spoken to several local representative who have told me they know what needs to be done, but they can’t vote for certain measures and get re-elected. Yes, they are there to represent their constituency, but too many times the big money is what controls the vote. A new party that focuses on what is best for children, best for the long term good of the state or country is an idea that is long overdue! I am so tired of the partisan politics that are prevalent today! Count me in!

  14. Pam Franklin
    on Jan 24th, 2010
    @ 11:44 pm

    Shouldn’t every political party be concerned about what is best for children? After all, children are the citizens of the future. It isn’t just education we should be concerned about; the entire world is going to Hades in a handbasket.

    I voted for Obama, thought there would really be a change, and it is the same old bi-partisan, crooked crap.

    I personally am ready for revolt! (You can’t take the radical out a child of the 60s /70s!)

    I am totally disgusted. Let’s storm something.

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Pam Franklin, “Let’s storm something.”


    You can count me in.

  15. Theresa Milstein
    on Jan 25th, 2010
    @ 5:48 am

    Right now I’m stuck subbing because there are no jobs to be found.

    I agree with your post. I’m tired of politics getting in the way of education, along with other critical issues. The emphasis on charter schools makes me uneasy because it sounds like a bandage on a gaping wound. If the debate over education goes like it has for healthcare, we’ll get nothing although we sorely need it.

  16. Karen
    on Jan 25th, 2010
    @ 11:20 pm

    I’ll Digg this – thanks!

  17. Jackie
    on Feb 8th, 2010
    @ 1:23 pm

    I know I am a little late to the party but I think you are on the right track. One thing you forget to mention that should be taught is civics. We expect people to vote but don’t teach them why it is so important to. I think somewhere down the line civics must have become “un – pc” if there is such a term. Today it seems as though we are “every man for himself,’ instead of “united we stand and divided we fall.” I hope your apple party remembers to promote good citizenship as part of its platform.

  18. Kathy
    on Feb 15th, 2010
    @ 9:14 am

    Michael, you have read my mind! I agree that we need candidates who understand the real needs in education today. It’s always bothered me that Laura Bush was a librarian for a couple of days 30 years ago and she was touted as understanding education! Thus we have NCLB and we know that is going to leave everyone behind because of the impossibility of every child meeting or exceeding. After all, it’s called special education for a reason! Anyway, we are stuck in a time warp. Districts are not willing to extend school days because of the cost and scheduling difficulties. Teachers want to keep their summers off (I like it too, but would be willing to do so) and are often inflexible to change. Today’s children do not have the same support and background knowledge that we have seen previously. The cultural diversity alone is mind-blowing! What we need are not just politicians who understand, we need politicians who are educators. I nominate Michael Smith. Go “Education Party”! Oh, by the way, I am a student of Pete Post @ Trinity. He says “Hi”.

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