NOTE: This is UNDER CONSTRUCTION.
- You can't have progress without addressing all three components. Schools
must agree to ensure all 3 components (teacher, environment, system) will be
implemented with proven (qualifying) approaches, or funding will not be
granted. If these components are not achieved or maintained, funding will
not be renewed.
- if schools comply with all 3 components, funding will be renewed at a
level adequate to maintain the programs indefnitely
- some schools (such as those in poor districts or with old buildings that
need replacement) need more funding than others to meet all three
components; the federal and/or state government normal funding level plus
this incentive should supply the minimum $$ per pupil necessary to achieve
the program requirements for that school. Local funds can supplement
this and provide an even higher level of education.
- funding must be up front, e.g., school agrees to proven programs, and then
is given the funding for 1 year to implement it. If things go well, the
funding is continued. Without money up front, it's a catch-22.
- funding will only be granted if school can ensure all three goals can be
achieved in the first year. Therefore, for example, if teachers union
doesn't agree to allow principals to fire teachers, no incentives are
- there is a tiered system of curriculum and standards; federal and state.
Ideally, federal government supplies 80% of the curriculum and standards and
local school districts the remaining customizations. It shouldn't be
necessary to customize on a state basis. So teachers can finally focus on
- Since budget allocations will not be sufficient to allow all schools to
participate (nor will all schools be willing to sign up immediately), there
should be a match between the supply of funds and demand. If demand exceed
supply, then parents will pressure legislators to increase the funding which
is exactly how this program grows.
- States are encouraged to adopt complementary legislation and actually
administer the program (determining grant amounts, etc.) That way, the
federal government can just "match" the state incentive
- In many schools, a principal cannot even ask teachers to attend after
school meetings. Principals cannot select their on staffs. Tenure blocks the
removal of failing teachers. Principals spend a disproportionate amount of
time dealing with complying with mountains of state regulations. Principals
that are willing to put up with this type of environment often turn out not
to be strong leaders in the first place. A former teacher's union president
said that he will start worrying about kids when they become members of the
union. I'm concerned that this is about power and control. What kind of
incentives do you have in mind that can overcome these structural issues?
(Answer: with money and a win/win environment as the carrot, people are
willing to negotiate so that the school can qualify for incentives).
To improve the educational system in America so that it is the best in the
Create legislation at the federal and/or state levels that will provide
significant monetary incentives K-12 schools to adopt and fully implement any
educational systems that meets certain qualifying conditions. Incentives are
on-going and are based upon the completeness of the implementation of the
program aspects, as well as independently measured student achievement.
Qualifying programs would be programs (such as NCEE) that are proven to be
effective. In addition, each qualifying program would have to support the
national curriculum, standards, and assessments. These would all be set and
maintained through a non-political, non-partisan mechanism (such as CPRE).
The keys to success include adequate funding, sufficient time to implement
the system, a clear focus/vision on what is to be done, setting high standards,
aligning everything, challenging curriculum, qualified teachers and principals
who have the proper training and who can focus on how to teach, rather than what
to teach, and small class sizes.
A national curriculum is not strictly required, but it makes the process much
more efficient so that states and local districts can focus on teaching, and on
local enhancements to the base curriculum. Since this is an incentive program,
and not a mandatory program, national curriculum and standards should be
acceptable. The key is to delegate these standards to a non-political forum as
Qualifying Program (QP)
Only educational systems that are determined by the TA to meet certain conditions will qualify for the
incentives. These conditions are:
- Must be a complete K-12 educational system, such as NCEE's America's
Choice, and not a specific program such as an early reading program
- Must be adopted and in-use at at least 50 public schools within the US and in at least 4
states (at least 10 schools at each grade level: elementary, middle,
- Must have be capable of achieving at least an average 50% pass-rate
improvement over a control group of similar students.
- Must implement the national standards and curriculum
Qualifying School (QS)
Only schools that meet certain conditions will qualify for the incentives.
These conditions are:
- Must meet certain maximum class size requirements (e.g., average of
20 or lower in lower grades and average of 25 or lower in the higher
- Teachers must all be properly credentialed and prepared to teach the
subject(s) they are teaching
- Principal must be certified/trained and adequately compensated
- Teacher and principal salaries must be above a certain threshold
- Principal must be empowered and able to fire teachers who are not
performing, select staffs, hold meetings with teachers, etc.
- School must provide an adequate environment for learning: running water,
roofs that don't leak, textbook, teaching materials, etc.
The intent is to keep these requirements pretty simple since poor teachers
and/or principals will show up in a failure to implement or perform which
should put pressure on the district to attend to low performing schools.
Testing Agency (TA)
The Testing Agency is used to:
- Qualify the QPs
- Set the national curriculum and standards
- Provide the assessment systems used to assess the schools for the
purposes of determining the amount of incentives that the school is
eligible for. These including student assessments against the curriculum and
standards as well as assessments for determining implementation
compliance of the QP.
The incentives funds
Adoption (year 1 only)
You get $2K per student when you commit to adopting the program. This
funds the first year.
Implementation (years 2 and following)
Each QP has a checklist for each implementation year of the program. You get
$1K per student times the % of items completed on the checklist for that year.
Performance (years 2 and following)
You get $1K per student if your performance on exams is at the expected
level. The amount of the incentive is proportionally less than this if the school is not
improving its performance at the rate that is expected by a nominal
implementation of the particular QP. Because there is no incentive for overachievement,
there is no incentive to cheat on the assessments; it shouldn't be necessary.
Use of incentive funds
The incentive funds provided may be used for any purpose that is related to the
success of the QP. This gives a school a very broad latitude for the use of
funds. If the school spends the funds wisely, they will find that their
incentive funds each year continue at the same rate. If the school spends the
incentive funds without due care, the school may find that their incentive funds
with naturally get smaller over time.
Examples of permissible uses:
- pay the QP fees
- expenses directly required to implement the QP
- provided needed repairs to classrooms
- increase teacher salaries
- purchase textbooks
Example of prohibited uses:
A potential funding source (federal)
Today, our educational system is in virtual last place on an international
scale. The big problem in America today is that we are being short changed in
education, not overcharged on taxes. So instead of a $1.6 trillion tax cut over
10 years, let's skip the tax cut and funnel those funds instead into a special
lockbox fund to improve education in the US.
When Bush met with tech leaders from Silicon Valley, they told him the same
thing: "fix education." Putting more spending money in consumer's
pocket wasn't even mentioned as an issue.
President Bush has said education is the most important problem in the United
States. The $1.6 trillion could be effectively deployed to fix this problem. Funneling
these funds back to taxpayers over 10 years doesn't solve our top problem. It
solves nothing. Let's use those funds to solve our top problem. If we have funds
left over, then let's use those to solve our next big problem. And when we're
out of problems to solve, we'll return that money to the taxpayers in the form
of lower taxes.