"On June 1, 2013, I started a one-year stint as interim schools superintendent for Berne-Knox-Westerlo (BKW) Central School District located 25 miles southeast of Albany, NY.
"The first item on my list of things to do during that school year was to settle the teachers' union contract. The second was to settle the support staff union contract. Both had expired five years earlier. "Preparing for contract negotiations was tricky and time consuming (they had become acrimonious over those five years) and began immediately after I was hired. The school board knew their failed attempts to reach a settlement made them appear weak. What they didn’t know was that every day that went by was costing them money."
That's the opening of “Why We Failed: 40 Years of Education Reform.” Just released on Amazon (click here), the book is a collection of stories, real and inspired, that paint a picture of the last 40 years of K-12 education in the United States from Lonnie Palmer, who started as a science and math teacher and worked his way up to schools superintendent, all the while pushing back against a system that undermined the potential of far too many students.
In 1970, Lonnie Palmer graduated from college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics and planned to continue on to a Ph.D. program but was interrupted by a notice from the U.S. Government – a draft notice. Knowing his low number would preempt plans to continue his education, Palmer took a temporary position teaching high school science — and a reluctant education reformer was born.
His new book, "Why We Failed: 40 years of Education Reform" is his account of the past four decades of K-12 education and is interwoven with creative solutions to the Lonnie Palmer most difficult challenges faced by schools and school administrators.