Letter: Multiple ways exist to improve education

Published: Saturday, Oct. 13 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Three ideas for improving education: Have students grade teachers, consider home-schooling and increase writing in all subject areas.

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Your report on education ("Here's what's working," Oct. 1) provided useful information, even if it was drawn from just one magazine, The Atlantic, and covered just three ideas on improving the quality of education out of dozens that might be raised.

What is notable is that two of the ideas have to do with empowering the consumers of education, students and parents. The idea of calling on students to evaluate teachers is one that some critics might dismiss as frivolous. However, a Gates Foundation study has shown that if students are asked the right questions, they will give a good indication which teachers are effective and which ones are not. Plus, after the Chicago teacher strike shortchanged children so blatantly, the idea of students having leverage has gained appeal.

The real eye-opener was this: "Home-school your children." Much evidence points to impressive achievement within the nation's growing cohort of home-schooled children. Of course, not all parents are in a position to be full-time home educators. The good news is that the rise of home-schooling co-ops and hybrid schools drawing on technology has greatly enhanced parents' opportunity to have home be the center of their children's education.

Robert Holland

The Heartland Institute

Chicago, Ill.

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