Friday, October 31, 2008

Fixing the hole where the brain gets in

Here are some of my suggestions for revamping education.

1. Eliminate all grades. Even down to first grade - gone. There would be some age appropriate general information classes that would cover some topics other than English and math. But English and math are entirely individualized education. It's not even about having classes put together. You have one skill at a time. You work on it until you master it. Much of the work would be individualized or in very small groups. Small like three or four at the most. That way you can have kids with several different skill sets in one room with one teacher. A lot of the work would be done with interactive materials, especially computers. Many of the basic foundations of learning don't need to be done creatively, to be honest. The kids don't need dynamic lesson plans at that age. They need regular individual attention. Under this idea, brighter kids could finish everything much faster than others. They might master everything in fewer years. So they move on to the next level sooner.

2. At the end of mastery of certain skill sets, which basically would mimic the general expectations we now have of elementary and middle school, you take your tests and decide what you want to do with yourself. Similar idea to other nations. You then go to a career path based high school,whether its college prep, trade school, sports or arts academy, whatever. No more of this "you can all go to college" crap. Let's stop lying to our kids. They aren't all going, and many that do won't survive.

3. Remove most of the barriers for teachers. The credential program is a waste of time and money. Using the changes I described above, classroom management is no longer necessary. If someone isn't on task, you remove them from the room so that they don't slow anyone down. Everyone is on his or her own, so if they miss stuff, it's their problem. Yes, even five and six year olds. Start teaching responsibility then. For training, use a partner or mentor teacher program for the first six months or year or so. Remember there's no such thing as quarters and semesters, so that's irrelevant.

4. If we want the kids to perform, show the teachers that we want them to perform as well. PAY them like they matter.

5. No grades. That's because there are no classes. You either have mastered the skill or you haven't. If you haven't, keep going.

6. Make standards and benchmarks rigid for learning to read and basic mathematics. Allow more flexibility later.

7. Children who continue to be a discipline problem don't get an education. I mentioned above that if they are off task, get rid of them and they will just go slower. if a child hits thirteen and still can't get his or her shit together due to behavior issues, you're done. You are done with public education for minors forever. Parents then have the option of continuing to educate the child at their own expense, getting them a job, or sending them to the military. Off to fight at age 13? Yes.

8. No one is allowed to make any rules regarding education (including determining the standards, testing, pay, time, schedules) unless they have been the teacher of record in a classroom for a minimum of seven years. That doesn't mean administration. That doesn't mean worked in the office. That doesn't mean assistants. Teachers. Seven, though preferably ten years. Everyone else, you don't know what you're talking about yet.

9. Parents are responsible for their children's education. They should be involved in some way in the mastery of every skill.

10. Parents do not know what is best for their child. Parents are often wrong when it comes to their child. The teacher knows what is best for the child when it comes to their education. Shut the fuck up and do what the teacher tells you to do.

I think that's a good start. There need to be more changes too, such as the return of corporal punishment. What would you like to add?

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