Dear future teachers, administrators & politicians,
1. Recognize the failure of de-segregation:
De-segregation did not fix racial issues and the racism that is inherent in the American education system. The mentality that black students can only learn in a predominantly white environment is a convoluted notion rooted in supremacist ideology. Schools have re-segregated, but more so based upon economic status. In order for children in high poverty areas to learn, we must first recognize that such children have differing needs when they enter the classroom.
2. Make schools a vehicle for social change:
Education is the best way to overcome poverty. Poverty stems from and perpetuates a wide variety of social issues. Not all children come to school fed; feed them. Not all children come to school with a full night’s rest; allow them rest during the day. It is possible to create an environment where family and social issues are dealt with in a non-condescending manner. Not all children start from the same place in life. Some children must deal with unimaginable circumstances & community based schools should be just that; community based schools.
3. Return to neighborhood schools:
Schools that operate in and directly with a community can assist in a variety of community-related issues.
4. Make funding equal:
Property taxes and local property values should never determine the quality of a school. Schools should receive funding on the basis of need & need only. It is not acceptable that such blatant class-ism exists within the education system. The current system ensures the failure of students in lower income school districts.
5. Adopt national standards:
This should be a structured system based on aptitude. There is no “one size fits all” standard. Students with disabilities should have more personalized standards. It needs to be a tiered system with some level of fluctuation allowed.
6. Get rid of the “grade” system:
Students are passed onwards from grade to grade even when there are obvious deficits in a given subject area. Students should pass through levels of a given subject. It is possible that a student is at a fifth grade level in math, but a third grade level in English. This should be reflected in how we structure learning environments.
7. Make the teaching profession more desirable:
Pay teachers better. Give them better benefits. Recognize that a student’s failing is not always a teacher’s fault. Universities should create an environment where education is a selective field. This would also involve making higher education costs lower so that the brightest minds of a given generation can become the educators of the next generation. Re-structure the tenure system so that is fair and balanced. Work with unions, not against them. There is nothing wrong or shameful about protecting the rights of workers. The blatant disrespect of teachers by certain politicians to should be insulting to every single American.
8. Schools are not prisons:
Students should be made to feel safe in a school. They should have tracking devices, metal detectors or any of these outrageous means of curbing behavior. A school setting should be one in which a child feels comfortable and safe.
9. Your new “learning” idea is just as stupid as the last:
Students learn at varying paces; that is a fact. In the entire history of human education, simple learning seemed to suffice. School is not easy. Education should not be a game or, really, even be fun. Our minds should be sufficiently challenged within the means of our abilities. Education should be viewed as an invaluable resource. Realize that every ten years some moronic “philosopher” comes along with some new “learning” theory that will revolutionize education. It won’t. It never has and never will. If you just teach, they will learn.
10. Technology has its place:
Cell phones and computers do not belong in the classroom. They are a distraction. We seemed to be doing just fine before Smart-Boards and IPads. Technology has its place in science and technology courses. Powerpoints are not for every teacher. Some teachers don’t actually teach when using powerpoint presentations. Just because the technology exists does not mean you are obligated to use it.
I am nearly unable to write. I can’t take notes using a notebook. I have to type. This made school very difficult for me until I was old enough that it became a non-issue because people thought it was ok for me to use a computer.
I also usually have to type in order to process what is being said and understand it well enough to participate, even in a discussion-based class.
I have to have a computer, or I can’t do most classes.
So it’s really scary when people say that computers and stuff don’t belong in classrooms, because if enough people think that, then people like me won’t be able to learn in classes.