Senate How should Education be reformed?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Ghost, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    A continuation of this thread.

    It was a great discussion, informed and passionate, with many voices, and there's still a lot more to discuss!

    We talked about:
    *grade reform
    *charter schools and flexibility
    *advantages/disadvantages of alternative models like Montessori and International Baccalaureate.

    We didn't get a chance to discuss the merits of No Child Left Behind reform, Race to the Top, or the general political situation on education in different places yet. Education reform from places outside the United States should also be examined.

    Something else to discuss might be to learn which countries/states/provinces/cities are the highest-achieving in education. Then we could find out what they're doing that makes them give their students such a high-quality education, and how it can be replicated.

    So many other possible topics too... let's begin!
  2. PRENNTACULAR VIP

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2005
    star 6
    I really think that part of the problems in public education come from the fact that administrators get paid so much money and have so little power to reform their schools as they see fit. Either give them the power and expectations that their paychecks warrant, or take away some of that money and use it for alternative programs that will help the kids or teachers.

    Also, as pro-union as I am, we need union reform in the educational arena. The status quo is killing the system.
  3. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    Year-round programs for all schools, all regions.
    No religion or religious values forced into the classroom. You don't like Evolution or Sex Ed? Tough. Provide the children with the information so that they can make informed choices rather than blunder around in ignorance.
    Free lunches for all. Breakfasts too if necessary.
    Actually instil a cultural value that Education is good, even if it is Whitey's Way.
    Actually allow children to get failing grades, and to be held back if necessary.
    Allow children to learn at their own pace, rather than requiring everyone to work at the pace of the lowest common denominator.
    Rotate teachers so that they don't constantly have the same material.
    Teach foreign languages at a younger age. (Not just Spanish: Mandarin, Japanese, German, French, Latin, etc. If a student shows an aptitude for any of those, put him/her is a special program to develop that skill.)
    No special treatment for athletes.
    Put academic performance above athletics.

    Do not treat intelligence as a birth defect.

    Study educational models of other countries, find out what works, and incorporate into the system.
    Allow the best to rise higher, while allowing the lowest to become at least functional.

    Yes, I am sometimes an elitist A$$.
  4. WIERD_GREEN_MAN Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2010
    star 4
    Funding the middle class as well as the poor.
  5. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    Also: gut administration.
    My high school as a principal, an assistant principal, a vice-principal, an assistant vice-principal, 3 secretaries, an attendance admin, and student assistants. And the woman in charge of the copier machine who was over-worked. All for a school of 1200 students.
    Oh, and I love the fact that 10 years after I graduated, the new principal, who was reprimanded several times for unexcused absence, had to have a full-time substitute because she was so erratic, and generally failing to perform her job wasn't removed until after she fired (with cause) a popular football coach. She was fired, and the football coach (one of 5 football coaches) was hired back.
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  6. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    I think we need more choices for parents and kids. Great-performing public schools, public charters, and reformed public schools should all be a part of the competitive market for parents and their children.

    And, like consumers who make choices in the private market, parents should be able to vote with their feet by pushing for lesser schools to perform better and voting with their feet by choosing the better schools. That would incentivize all schools to try harder to perform and attract customers.

    Right now parents are part of a captured market.
    Last edited by ShaneP, Sep 4, 2012
  7. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    It's impossible to discuss anything without bringing race into it, isn't it?
  8. TheShinyLightsaber Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 1
    First and foremost there has to be an incentive to teach well, and to run a tight budget.

    In today's institutionalized public education system, it doesn't happen.

    "Human Action".
  9. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    Oh, Jesus Christ. I guess we know where you lie.

    I don't have a comprehensive plan or anything, but

    -Keep public schools public and keep the standard that students who live in a school's area must go to the that school. Magnet schools and the like, in my experience (with three) are just places where (mostly) wealthy people get yet another advantage over the poor.
    -Equal funding regardless of local tax revenue or performance.
    -Year-round. I'm wary of the idea, but I think that's mostly due to cultural preference. I can't think of a good reason not to.
    -Abolish private and home school for all except special needs children. :D

    I think tightening standards-- or something relatively radical for Americans like abolishing grades-- are secondary concerns at this point. I also think at least half the problem with education is that more and more kids are poor, so they go without adequate healthcare or nutrition and often have parents who work too much to spend a lot of time with them. I think those things (food and healthcare being relatively simple) should be fixed too.
    Last edited by Darth_Guy, Sep 4, 2012
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  10. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    Sure it is. But sadly, that is an obstacle that needs to be addressed and reformed. Sorry, but it is there. One of many reasons I stopped trying to get into teaching. Had too many classes where the students resented a "substitute (derogatory for white person)" for their usual teacher.
  11. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Regardless of tax revenue and performance? So if a school in a wealthy area receives the same amount of funding as one in a poor neighborhood, that's great?
  12. TahiriVeilaSolo69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2002
    star 5
    Why shouldn't every school get equal funding?
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  13. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    Yes. Wealth should not entitle someone to a better education, much less before college.
    Last edited by Darth_Guy, Sep 4, 2012
  14. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Why should they?

    Darth Guy, so what if the poor school needs more funding? Do you automatically give the same amount to the other schools just to keep it even?
    Last edited by ShaneP, Sep 4, 2012
  15. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    Yeah. If the school in the rich district wants more money, one or more of the parents just donate it. Same as now. At least, that's according to one of my gamer friends, who works in a "prosperous" school district. He thinks that is great. I think it is appalling. We disagree a lot. So we both choose not to discuss the matter.
  16. TahiriVeilaSolo69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2002
    star 5
    Shane, when I say "Michelle Rhee" what are some of the first things that come to mind?
  17. PRENNTACULAR VIP

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2005
    star 6
    IDK, I think that on some level education reform is a race issue. Last I heard, generally, white kids are doing better in this country than black or brown kids. Now, that's absolutely tied more closely to economic issues than race issues (i.e., it's not because whites are just smarter), but any honest discussion we have has to at least address racial disparity, because it's real.

    That said, I absolutely agree with you that if we are going to address education, we need to address poverty. The two go hand-in-hand, in my experience.

    Concerning funding, I don't think "more money!!!" is the answer. Aren't we spending more on education than we ever have? And aren't we getting the same (or worse) results? We need systematic reform, not financial reform.
    Last edited by MASTERPRENN, Sep 4, 2012
  18. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    The racial disparity is more complicated than just economic issues-- e.g., blacks are still experiencing the effects of slavery and Jim Crow, Latinos tend to be immigrants or the children of immigrants.

    I didn't say regardless of need. Obviously larger schools would need more funding, for example. Maybe I should have said funding per student.
    Last edited by Darth_Guy, Sep 4, 2012
  19. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Okay, per pupil spending makes more sense.
  20. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    However there's a difference between saying that race in education needs to be addressed and "Actually instil a cultural value that Education is good, even if it is Whitey's Way.'
  21. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Can I ask for a clarification on that point Koohii?
  22. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    Less government involvement would be a start, leave the teaching to the teachers and have curriculum decided by those who are qualified in the field not some suits who supposedly know best.
  23. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I think making sure all schools get equal funding on a state level is, overall, a great move. It can be done poorly but the idea is good. The point of state-based education, imo, should be to give everyone an equal playing field so that they can go on to make their own informed choices in their life that they would be responsible for.

    And the idea that education is a "white value" is ridiculous, racist, and offensive.
    Darth-Ghost likes this.
  24. TahiriVeilaSolo69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2002
    star 5
    Education is supposed to be the great equalizer.
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  25. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    I and the other student teachers I talked to ran into several variations of a common problem. People from another culture didn't want to be taught or learn from white people because they were afraid of losing their cultural/ethnic values to the perceived evil of the white/anglo invader/conqueror. We ran into a cases of "if the white people want us to do it, it must be evil." Other teachers were perceived as lackeys of the caucasians, or sell-outs. Education seemed to be synonymous with selling out. Was interesting to hear Edward James Olmos show up to a lecture to try to get kids to go to college. He played the stereotype and twisted it.

    And if you think I'm whiney, you should hang out in a teacher's break room. Wow. (another reason I got away from teaching)