“You get to redesign school as we know it from the ground up. Will you do away with reading, writing, and arithmetic? What skills and knowledge will your school focus on imparting to young minds?”
From the Daily Post
If by “school” we mean university, higher education, college, etc., then the only structural pillar that I would set happily ablaze as a neo-arsonist and rebuild is the “big business” attitude that many have seemed to duplicitously adopt in the US. They are not meant to foremost be a lucrative business opportunity for administrators and sports coaches and textbook sellers. They ought not be meant to cost a year’s salary or a young person’s sanity. It is a place for education and the opportunity for young adults to build marketable skills and acquire better ways of thinking and learning.
If we’re explicitly speaking of the reformations needed to K-12 schools, I have a few ideas:
- Make teaching an incentive for teachers: although I don’t believe a sharp increase in salary would be easy, feasible, or economically sound, prospective and current teachers should be respected for the job they do and for doing a a good job. Reward teachers for not just preparing their students for the next dreadful standardized test but for educating students in creative and empirically-successful ways.
- Continue to provide a wide range of traditionally academic courses (maths, english, history, science, etc.) for students interesting in university and professional schools and technical courses for students that have less likely chances of pursuing higher education.
- Expand useful education outside classrooms: provide homework that is not laboriously long and tedious but challenging and succinct. Encourage direct reading from textbooks, classical and contemporary literature, and reputable online sources. Then, encourage them to write critically and think independently.
- Provide students with reasonably healthy meals. I understand this is not an easy endeavor for schools districts, but students deserve the right to proper nutritious meals. Also, I will not allow teacher and school board members to fraudulently enlist their child(ren) in free lunch programs.
- Provide schools with adequate funding that will fully provide the means for students to learn and teachers to teach. That means no siphoning thousands of dollars to failing school districts without full accountability to where that money is going. Also, absolutely no preferences should be given to private schools in terms of state funding when public schools IN THE SAME TOWN are crumbling from a lack of resources (I’m looking at you, Lakewood, NJ…..And the state of NJ).
- Rebuild dysfunctional family structures and communities to encourage learning. This is obviously a pipe dream. But we can’t deny that a lot of problems with failing school districts originate from the socioeconomic status of…yeah, I know, I won’t blabber on with this.
These are all fairly obvious and redundant points for what makes a successful school, but it really comes down to looking at the numbers to see what works and what doesn’t. Numbers don’t lie.