WHILE YOU'RE HERE ... what does your company, 17 million high school students and a golf putter all have in common?
The modern game of Golf originated in Scotland around the 12th century. Shepherds knocked stones into rabbit holes on the current site of the Old Course at St Andrews. Golf is one of the few ball games that do not require a standardized playing area. Instead, the game is played on golf courses, each of which features a unique design of nine or 18 holes.
Now, let’s take a quick look at the public school system:
An extensive six-year study by the Brown Center of Education Policy and the Brookings Institute, published in late 2008, concluded that K-12 school finance systems are burdened by rules and narrow policies that hold local officials accountable for compliance but not results. The study's final report recommended an action plan for overhauling state and local school finance systems to devolve decision-making, concentrate funds on low-income students, encourage innovation, and base accountability on performance.
In 2008, the School Finance Redesign Project (SFRP), with funding by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, published a report entitled, “Facing the Future: Financing Productive Schools." The report concluded that “Public school finance systems around the United States are outmoded, failing to support the effective education of America’s children.”
In practice, the methods used by state and local school districts to fund their schools is “like an old computer that has become so laden with applications, one added on top of another over the decades, that it can no longer do anything well.”
The authors criticized school finance systems because they are so burdened by rules and narrow policies that they commit dollars “with little regard for results, holding adults accountable for compliance but not results.” According to the authors, “We need to measure performance at every level—district, school and classroom—and let money and students flow from less to more effective uses. We need to experiment with new ideas and new technologies.”
Facing the Future offers a four-part action plan to overhaul today’s outmoded school finance systems:
-Drive funds to schools based on student counts—the money would be given to principals to allocate and manage within their individual schools. A weighting formula could be used to provide extra funds for disadvantaged students.
-Concentrate federal funds on low-income students—direct money on the basis of student characteristics right down to the individual student’s school.
-Redesign states’ school finance systems for continuous improvement—demand innovation and continuous improvement, keeping what works and discarding what does not.
-Base accountability on performance—make superintendents and the chief of state schools responsible for judging school performance and finding better options for children whose schools do not teach them effectively.
Now, if you analyze the public school finance system, one can easily see that money hand-outs alone aren't solving the problem.
But what if there was a new and unique sport which taught the public school system how to capitalize on a golf putter and bring it down to the local level -- a grass roots movement that, at no cost to the education system, could promise future financial assistance to budget strapped schools?
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