Solving America’s education gap: Idea #0008

Unrelated artsy photo: Click for full size.

Unrelated artsy photo: Click for full size.

Citizens of the United States know that it is the greatest, best country god has ever given man on the face of the earth. It’s a clear and indisputable fact. Therefore, when this country is in trouble, the earth is in trouble. As many have heard, we are in danger.

America is falling behind! Everyone’s heard the news. The U.S. Education system has become sub-par. It’s been mentioned by all major news outlets a number of times, and various sources have been cited. Few can remember which sources. At best, most viewers have a vague recollection of seeing a chart and a rank of the U.S. vs. the rest of the world. Those viewers likely remember that U.S.A was not number one, nor was it anywhere near that rank. Truly, that’s the only important datum. Who has time to be bothered with specifics about sampling methods, the difference between means and medians, normality curves and T-tests, and splitting the U.S. into more than one statistical population. That’s for egg heads. The U.S. isn’t number one. Nothing else matters, except who to blame.

When it comes to education, only one group of individuals is relevant, the teachers. Administrators are not at fault, and school boards are sinless. Their only purpose is to tell the teachers what to do. It’s also helpful if they change their mind every year, drastically overhaul the school’s classroom structures to comply with the latest trends, and schedule a week’s worth of professional development during school days to update all faculty on the latest changes and buzz words.

If your son or daughter is failing, it’s not his or her fault, nor is it yours. After all, your child isn’t in control of his or her actions. Parents, put down those arithmetic flash cards! Once your child comes home, school is over. Remember, the person that has the biggest impact on a child’s education is the teacher. Let go. Try not to think of them as your children anymore. Don’t worry about who they’re hanging out with. Friends have no influence on your child’s zest for learning; only the instructor can motivate a student. If a student fails, the only possible explanation is that the teacher failed. We need to be harsher, stricter on these ineffective educators. There are steps that can be taken.

You've been reading for a few minutes. The human brain wasn't designed to focus on one thing for so long. Look at the silly doggy!

You’ve been reading for a few minutes. The human brain wasn’t designed to focus on one thing for so long. Look at the silly doggy!

Teachers need more paperwork. Writing lesson plans and evaluations, behavior reports, grading papers, and preparing extracurricular activities, isn’t a large enough workload for a responsible, caring educator. They should be writing TPS reports, three research papers on their classroom, and attend and pay for four extra university credits of professional development style course work every school year. If they can accomplish all that, they need to be given more responsibilities. The workload must be increased until it is impossible for them to complete all of the tasks. As long as there’s a task they did not complete, there’s an excuse to fire them. Once these changes have been implemented, the U.S. can focus on classroom format.

We should treat all subjects exactly the same. The format in a mathematics classroom should follow the format of an English classroom, which should be identical to a science classroom, which should be no different than a history classroom, which should be the same as a home economics classroom. In all these different classrooms, teachers must not spend anymore than fifteen minutes presenting new material. Once the fifteen minutes are up, it’s time to begin engagement exercises. It’s important that students aren’t forced to sit still for anymore than fifteen minutes at a time. This will prepare them for all the hour long lectures in college. After fifteen minutes, they need to get up and walk around with different colored markers and write words on posters, or make lame pseudo-origami foldables with vocabulary words. All classrooms must be broken into the three time segments of you do, we do, and I do. Any other format is just crazy, and because all subjects are the same, we should have the same expectations for all teachers.

It's unreasonable to focus on one thing for more than 15 minutes. Take a gander at this artsy photo.

It’s unreasonable to focus on one thing for more than 15 minutes. Take a gander at this artsy photo.

Creating activities in an English classroom or a math classroom takes the same amount of preparation as in a science classroom. For every lesson, an English teacher needs to think about what kind of chemicals they might need, as well as which tools to get out for measuring volume, and mass. They also have to think about whether or not the school has those supplies, or if they must go to the store and spend their own money on them. Also they have to consider how long it will to take to set up, make certain the activity can be completed by a crowd of stumbling, bumbling students in the allotted time while factoring in the cleanup, consider the safety issues, and write a flawless sequence of numbered steps that leave no room for misinterpretation. Science must have activities every day, just like math and English. It’s only fair. We shouldn’t treat two different subjects differently, just as we shouldn’t treat different students differently.

It’s dangerous to proceed as if different students have different strengths and weaknesses. We must remember that all students can succeed in the same way, at the same things, at the same rate regardless of their intellect, background knowledge, or language barriers. As we all know from Charles Darwin’s origin of species, all individuals in a population have equal fitness in every trait and for all niches. Remember, only teachers can fail. Let’s grade them.

The best course of action to evaluate our educators would be to develop a rubric that attempts to apply quantitative measures to subjective qualities. We need to put a number on how well they anticipate student misconceptions, never mind the units. A scale must be devised to express the effectiveness in motivating students. Motivation is an easily measured quantity. We also need to maximize differentiation. If every concept doesn’t have a visual aid, and kinetic memory strategy, its not good teaching.

Finally, we need a constant supply of fresh new first year teachers in low income schools that adhere to the standards of the new teacher’s project. After the second year, they should rotate out to charter schools or administration, so more first year teachers can start at those low income schools. If this magnificent plan fails, we’ll have to try plan B, which I will post later this week.

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Whew! How can anyone stay seated for so long. Look at this artsy photo and then go walk around and write on posters with colored markers.

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3 thoughts on “Solving America’s education gap: Idea #0008

  1. In the ’90s, Anita Roddick painted a slogan across the sides of her fleet of Body Shop supply trucks: “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”

    • As I am actively involved in the heroism of saving the world, I must have a contingency plan for everything. If education is impossible, then the only alternative is ignorance. Indeed partial ignorance is costly, but if we try total ignorance, we would ignorant of money. If we are ignorant of money, it’s impossible for anything have cost, unless of course value is assigned to life and resources. To give those things value would just be silly though. It’s not in alignment with capitalism and unlimited growth.

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