Looking back on the educational scene from about 1997 to 2007, it seems that while school boards and the state had their differences, the world operated fairly smoothly. School funding could be uneven, but in most districts it increased (being held to flat funding was the worst you could expect). Yes, the public and the state legislators demanded more accountability, primarily through standardized tests, but there was little real debate about school employee compensation and work structure.
There were pockets of schools with low achievement (there still are, especially in our poorer districts), in most districts. Overall, academic achievement was on the upswing, and there was a feeling of optimism about our education system.
Those days, Eden-esque as they now seem, are long gone and irretrievable. Nor should we try to go back.
Recently, after listening to a discussion about the 2 percent cap, a board member told me that we in education need to realize that the faucet of funds is not flowing like it once did. He is right. (more…)