Attributed to Jacques: ” But you naysayers just pick things apart. You say “this is wrong, that is wrong”, but you have no idea of how to write a bill. You just want to tear down, never build, nothing is good enough for you. You don’t even know what you stand for, what you want; all you do is tear other people’s efforts down……”
Silence in reply.
So here is what we want….
1) Every child, black, Hispanic, White, poor, rich gets the opportunity to exceed to the best of their ability. No genius must sit on the sidelines because of his color or economic status.
2) Every child gets the opportunity to have a learning environment from age 2 to age 5. It may be at home, but if that is impossible, options are available across the state for certified pre-education to occur during daycare.
3) Geeks receive hero status equal or greater than jocks. (Reminds me of a movie, lol) Inter-school academic competitions need to be held as frequently and be supported as much as are sports events.
4) All of us remember high school. We know everybody is not equal when it comes to having enough brain power to go to college. This idea that all our students must be smart enough to enroll in college is unrealistic. It couldn’t work back then. It can’t work now. Some people’s brains develop in different ways other than absorbing unnecessary knowledge. And some people’s brains develop to be quite good at it. All other nations sort those who aren’t interested in continuing into college out of their top grades. Only the US educates everyone, even those who don’t want it. Putting someone who wants to learn, next to someone who doesn’t, creates two people who don’t want to learn. Scrap the unrealistic standard that every child must go to college. Either you will abysmally fail at achieving this impossible goal, or you lower the standard so low, it no longer means anything.
5) All kids get tested in the beginning, middle, and end of the school year. These tests are to be used as data to help students. Not to fire teachers. The teachers focus needs to be on teaching the curriculum. The teachers will use the data from the tests to critique their own performance, (how did I do this year?) but the tests will not be used as pressure to hold back students, to fire teachers, or close schools. All those actions destroy the veracity of the testing program. When the stakes are too high, the results are too high.
6) Accept that the argument of village versus family has a different answer in rural and urban areas. One philosophy does not fit all. In urban areas, more structure and therefore more funding is needed to develop children between the hours of 2 and 5. After-school programs are indispensable. Funding for them must be raised.
7) Instill exercise regimes in elementary school. Every hour have the children walk with their class through the halls for about 5 minutes. A) it breaks the monotony and helps with learning when they return, B) it develops a habit of exercising every hour; hopefully their bodies will get acclimated to it, thinking it is normal, and it will become a lifelong habit. Walking every hour can prevent medical conditions such as high blood sugar levels, slowing the rapid rise of childhood diabetes that has exploded the past 10 years. Very few kids are born fat and keep it on. They eat more than they burn off.
8) Restructure grades so they are not based on age. People develop at different times. Groupings should be based on ability. It is senseless to have a 5th grader doing division of 5 digit numbers, when he should be learning how to add with the 3rd graders because he missed that back in 3rd grade. If you can’t add, doing division is pointless. Instead of age, we should group children by their ability, as in a secession of steps. For example in math they should go: add, subtract, multiply, divide, fractions, algebra, algebraic proofs, equations, geometry, trig, complex equations, differentials, integrals, Galileo equations… One masters one before jumping to the next. Makes sense, if you can’t add, what good is taking algebra? Or for that matter, even subtraction?
9) Bring back mathematical memorization of basic building blocks.. Common Core is focused on the opposite of teaching that 2 + 2 = 4; they teach that when adding you have a handful of two things in one hand and a handful of two things in the other hand, and what are some ways you can figure out how many items you have all together…. The idea was that we needed to teach concepts. That may sound great, but two grades up when you are multiplying two three digit numbers and are totaling up the multiple lines of the product, knowing that a sum is the total of all parts, isn’t cutting it. That’s where for speed you need to know that 2 + 2 = 4.
10) Finally realize that children only learn when they want to… One of the greatest motivators of learning is fear that one will let down ones peers. That may not jibe with some people’s experience of high school. But patterns are learned early. If one can hide in a big classroom and get by, then he does. Every child learns differently. We are all created differently; none of us have the same genes. If one is teaching a class of 30, and 15 are visual learners, and 15 are hands on learners, depending on which way a teacher goes, 15 aren’t going to get it. The other 15 are. This has often been expressed: have you ever seen a pre schooler that doesn’t want to learn? Everything excites them! Our nation’s true failure is not in our test scores; it is in that we piss off so many students against learning at all. They have unlimited abilities in first grade; they’ve lost it by 12th. Somewhere along the way they lost their will. There is one solution. That is to have an eleven to one student to teacher ratio. One could accomplish it by having 2 or 3 teachers in a large class. But the point is that each student gets assigned a teacher along with 10 other kids. The point is that every single kid has someone who knows what they can do, and who cares that they do it. With multiple teachers in a class their charges can be divided up by their abilities. one teacher takes the top scoring 11, another the middle 11, and a third the bottom 11.. Each teacher can then push their charges as far as they can, which is further than if they drifted through a 33 person class, never getting called upon because they obviously did not know the answer.
This 11 to 1 student ratio, is the key to America’s education. None of the other ideals can be accomplished, without first fixing this one. More tests, stricter standards, high risk punishments, won’t help a child who missed a necessary piece way back when. A teacher who has time because she has only 11 students, will.