You want to fix schools?

Discussion in 'Clean Debate Zone' started by Quantum Windbag, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. Quantum Windbag
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    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

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    Prove it, outline a plan of action that doesn't just involve spending more money. Describe what the biggest problem that you see with the public education system is, and lay out a solution.

    Right now everyone is thinking that the Windbag can't even do what he is asking others do, so why should I even try. Well, here it is.

    The biggest problem in schools right now is that they are designed to treat everyone the same. We like to pretend that exceptional students get the attention they need, but that only happens when someone works outside the system to throw them a little extra attention. We need to find the kids that really want to learn, and send them to a place that helps them as individuals. Different people learn differently, and we need to stop pretending that a one sized fits all solution is going to produce good results.

    If you have a kid that likes to read, and put him into a class where they watch movies all day long, he will not learn.

    If you have a kid that learns through pictures, giving him a book will not help him learn.

    We need to build an education system that is focused on the children, not on making sure everyone can pass a test.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 15, 2013
  2. syrenn
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    syrenn BANNED

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    first thing to fix schools


    is to get rid of the unions.
     
  3. TheOldSchool
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    TheOldSchool Diamond Member

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    Get rid of standardization. There is no standard for what individual students need.
     
  4. Saigon
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    Saigon Gold Member

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    I do agree with the OP about catering to individual student needs, but different learning styles have been known about and understood for 20 years or more, and are a part of curricula worldwide already.

    If the US wants to be the best, it could do worse than learning from others.

    Finland ranks #1 in the world in education, and I think we have a system here that others could replicate.

    Some key points:

    - The curricula are developed by teachers, without political influence

    - Teachers can adjust the curriculum to meet local needs and conditions

    - All education is free, including university
     
  5. Boatswain2PA
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    Boatswain2PA VIP Member

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    Competition and diversity make the best products. Unfortunately we have virtually no competition in our education system, and the only diversity most school districts offer is between atrocious and horrible.

    No Child Left Behind is not a great law (there are few great laws), but it did finally offer some parents a little bit of choice. Children would no longer be forced to go to horrible schools, instead school districts were FORCED to offer parents a choice for their children to go to (at least marginally) better schools. I know several people who are grateful for this.

    My solution for fixing our woefully broken schools is simple: Have the state's offer a voucher at 80% of the current cost-per-student statewide. Allow the vouchers to be used at ANY school the parents want, and the parents can enter a contract with the school. The "cost per student" used here must include the TOTAL cost per student - property maintenance, capital improvements, insurance, staff wages, transportation, overhead, bureaucracy, etc, etc. We would have to use the total taxpayer cost, not the cost that the teacher's unions typically advertise which does not include things such as bussing contracts and property/capital improvements.

    My local USD spends almost $11,000 total per student per year that puts out an increasingly poor product. Many of our high schools are drop-out factories that are simply designed to babysit freshmen and sophomores until they are old enough to drop out.

    Meanwhile, there is an active Catholic Diocese school system that spends an average of $6700 total per student that puts out an much, much better product. The two Catholic high schools have a very high college matriculation rate, and even those graduates who don't go to college can often get a job just by mentioning they are graduates of those two schools. The local Catholic Diocese pays the tuition to these schools for ANY Catholic family who is active in the parish (they tithe and go to mass regularly).

    There are three other "private" high schools in town that are at the same level as the Catholic schools....and perhaps even better. But tuition at these range from $10K-$20K per year.

    The Catholic schools prove that it is not a problem that we need to throw money at. They do a MUCH better job at educating children at about 70% of the price.

    So, why can't our public schools do that? Because there is no competition.

    So, let's institute a voucher system to completely break up the USDs. Give each family a voucher for, in my local area, $8,800 per student. The family would be able to take that voucher to ANY school, anywhere, and enter a contract with that school to educate their child.

    Overnight you would have an incredibly wide range of schools open up. Do the numbers...this is a LOT of money. A great teacher could open a one-room school for first graders and, accepting 20 kids for $8,800 a piece, would get $176,000. He/she could rent an office space/meeting room for about $2K a month for the 9 month school year, leaving $158,000. Another $20K or supplies leaves $138,000. That's pretty good money for the teacher! They could even hire a student teacher for $35K a year and still make six figures.

    A group of teacher's could come together and open a school that is based more like our current school's (K-5, 6-8, 9-12, etc).

    Some schools would contract with bussing companies to bus the kids, others would require parents to transport.

    Lots of schools would be set up within walking distance of residential neighborhoods.

    Some schools would just be in business to take the vouchers and not educate the kids so much. This is an ugly reality, but really no different that what we have in place today, and under my scheme, at least the taxpayer is saving 20%. Furthermore, this is going to be a reality in ANY scheme anyone things up simply because there will always be the kids who don't want to learn, and the families that don't care.

    Other schools will quickly excel in different areas. Vocational schools will pop up that will teach industrial work, administrative skills, health care, carpentry, sciences, fine arts, etc, etc, etc. The best thing is that ALL parents would be able to match their children's aptitudes with the schools...not just the wealthy parents.

    A voucher system would work, and it would work well.
     
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  6. Saigon
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    Saigon Gold Member

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    Can you perhaps give us 2 or 3 examples of where this has worked in other countries?
     
  7. Saigon
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    Saigon Gold Member

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    Pauli -

    If schools are failing because they are politicised, how is placing education solely in the hands of parents who may be even more politicised going to help?
     
  8. Samson
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    Samson Póg Mo Thóin Supporting Member

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    Yes.

    This was essentially the school system in every country on the planet until about 1900.


    Did it "work?"

    Well, that really depends on how we define success:

    On the one hand, after 1900, technological development boomed, and allowed for the mass destruction of Europeans.

    On the other hand, vaccines and agricultural improvements allowed for fewer deaths from disease and famine.

    I've read a couple of the replies to the interesting OP. As always, someone needs to make the ludicrous comparison between the USA and Finland, a country nothing like the USA. Then there's the contrast between private schools and public schools: another ridiculous comparison (hint: private schools CHOOSE what students enter and stay).

    The USA has no central school system. I'm always astonished in these threads to discover how few know this simple fact: You have a LOCAL school system. If you have kids in it, then you can can call the teacher, ask for a fucking appointment, and see them to discuss your concerns. If you're not satisfied, then you can see the principal. If you're still not satisfied, then you can see the local district administration. If you're still not satisfied, you can write the paper, create a local PAC, or see the school board.

    The issue of educational quality in the USA is not one that is solved by complainint to some huge Federal Agency or your congressman about why your school isn't more like a private catholic school, or one in Finland.

    The quality issue IS ONLY RESOLVED when parents organize themselves to make improvements at the LOCAL LEVEL.

    So if you are wondering why your kid cannot read, yet has made an "A" in reading, CALL THE FREAKING TEACHER!!!
     
  9. longknife
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    longknife Diamond Member

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    Unfortunately, what I'm going to say is totally opposite to my conservative/libertarian beliefs.

    Turning education over to parents IS THE WORST POSSIBLE SOLUTION!

    Far too many are "too busy" to become involved or, as is sadly too often the case, more involved in crime and drugs to care.

    I think the first step would be to allow school counselors to COUNCIL students. Evaluate their needs and direct them to classes that fit their needs and abilities.

    The next step would be to ensure that teachers are QUALIFIED in the subjects they're supposed to teach.

    Third, rid the school systems of the philosophy that ALL education is designed to prepare children for college and university. Return to the days when schools had shop classes where those inclined could learn trades. While I am generally opposed to unions, they should be able to provide master tradesmen/women to teach youngsters their trades.

    Finally, as we've become a visualized society, provide homework over the internet so that parents can see and, if they wish, evaluation the subjects their children are being taught. [Even the poorest household now has a computer or other way of viewing the internet]

    Needless to say, teachers' unions would fight this tooth and nail.:mad:
     
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  10. Saigon
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    Saigon Gold Member

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    Longknife -

    I totally agree with you.

    Even the best parents are simply too busy with work to focus on providing their kids with a balanced education, and realistically the number of parents who could adequately teach everything from physics to English and from Spanish to chemistry is around zero.

    One great thing about schools is that they force kids into contact with ideas that they might not hear at home. Through that mishmash of ideas they can find their own individual beliefs.

    What people like Pauli want is for children to be indoctrinated into extremism - and that means keeping kids away from books and teachers and other kids who might get the kids asking questions.
     

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