10 education-policy (and a few grammar) resolutions for 2014

The holiday season has come to end, and mostly likely, you’re starting 2014 off with some New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you’re still trying to figure out how to program your Fitbit. Or maybe you’re waking up an hour earlier to make it to the gym. If your fitness, diet, dating, and money-saving resolutions don’t quite pan out (only 8 percent of us are successful), focus on these education-policy resolutions:

  1. Really publicize those Next Generation Science Standards hearings. Really. Three years from now, when the conservative backlash over these standards begins, you don’t want the Rick Hess–Mike McShane duo to claim there was no public discussion (as they’ve claimed for the Common Core).
  2. Understand how collective bargaining, pensions, and strikes work before you write about them. (That goes for the Netflix writers, too.) If you need a Pensions 101 primer, check out this video featuring Fordham’s Dara Zeehandelaar.
  3. Don’t ever let go of the serial comma.
  4. Don’t hold your breath on new education initiatives in the State of the Union. Or reauthorization of No Child Left Behind. Or a preschool-policy overhaul. I just don’t want you to get your hopes up.
  5. Stretch that dollar! Even with a $700 billion annual budget, we can’t fund everything the way some in education want. So we’ll have to make smart decisions. My top two choices for 2014: keep it to means-tested pre-K programs and right size the classroom (with higher salaries and more students for excellent teachers).
  6. All education-reform debates can happen one tweet at a time. There are no one-of-five, one-of-six, one-of-thirty-eight tweets needed. If you can’t say it in 140 characters or fewer, get off Twitter and write a blog post.
  7. If you are open to one new idea in 2014, make it one of E. D. Hirsch’s. In late January, we’re releasing an e-book on Hirsch’s great work. If you can’t wait until then, read everything that Lisa Hansel writes. If you can’t read everything that Lisa Hansel writes, remember this mantra: knowledge, knowledge, knowledge.
  8. This really has nothing to do with education policy, but—it’s “more than,” not “over.” The education budget is more than $699 billion. We can all work on that, right?
  9. Read one study from an organization that is outside your comfort zone.
  10. If you haven’t done so, read the Common Core State Standards—not how somebody graded them or what someone says about them, but the actual standards.

If you can’t do all ten of these, follow three, six, seven, and eight. (And yes, note the serial comma!)

Happy New Year!

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