Thursday, April 23, 2020

1889 Institute: Put education practitioners (teachers) in charge

Other professionals control their destinies; teachers should, too.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (April 22, 2020) – The 1889 Institute has published “America’s War for Effective Education Reform,” a synopsis of a forthcoming book, Saving Public Education, by former Texas State Representative Kent Grusendorf. He served as chair of the House Public Education Committee for four years (2003-2007) in addition to serving all but two years of his 20-year legislative career (1987-2007) as a member of the Public Education Committee. Grusendorf also served on Texas’ State Board of Education (1982-1984).

In the synopsis of his book, Grusendorf recounts the many reform efforts since the 1980s, in addition to how much spending on public education has increased. Yet, for all these efforts and treasure, arguably little to no progress has been made.

“I finally realized the problem was top-down reform,” said Grusendorf. “Most reformers, me included, had the best of intentions, but by attempting to impose our visions of how things ought to work, we were neglecting to take account of the knowledge and skills of independent individuals actually doing the work.”

Grusendorf decided one of the problems is that schools work like a dysfunctional doctor’s office.

“What if front office staff, which might include a doctor who hadn’t spent time in a treatment room in years, was telling doctors actually administering to patients what treatments, tools, and diagnostic equipment to use?” Grusendorf asked. “It would be chaos, and the obvious solution would be to put practicing doctors in charge. That’s what I propose for public education. Let’s put teachers in charge,” he said.

Grusendorf proposes to publicly reimburse the best teachers who can show the financial wherewithal to establish their own educational practices. This “professional teacher concept” would see teachers treated as other professionals like doctors and lawyers, who establish and are in charge of their own independent practices, and yes, take risks in competition with others. The result is a win-win for both clients and practitioners. Grusendorf argues we can accomplish the same in public education.

About the 1889 Institute
The 1889 Institute is an Oklahoma think tank committed to independent, principled state policy fostering limited and responsible government, free enterprise and a robust civil society. The publication, “America’s War for Effective Education Reform” can be found on the nonprofit’s website:


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