Day 26: If I Was In Charge #AprilBlogADay Challenge

-->Prompt: If you were in charge: What needs to change about education?

I put it out there to the Facebook Hive Mind.  I know a lot of teachers.  I also know a lot of parents.  I was curious to hear what others think about what needs to change.  Here are some of the responses: 

"Smaller class sizes~" -M.M. (parent, school administrator)

"I read a while back the the brain isn't fully awake so to speak early in the morning. The article suggested that kids could learn better if they started school a little later in the morning. Also, recess and naps are essential even after kindergarten. The brains need a quiet moment to recharge. Seating arrangements need to change. The square classroom set up is not methodical. Also, please get rid of the awful fluorescent lights. They mess up the vision and aren't beneficial. I'm very pro vocational schools too. Study what you'd like to study and place more emphasis on that skill opposed to a generalized curriculum." -U.S. (parent, works in higher ed)

" Honestly, pay teachers more. I think they have one of the most difficult and important jobs out there. Also, less worksheets and more creative assignments. Less standardized testing and more freedom to stray from the curriculum." -T.B. (parent)

"Do away with: arbitrary/contrived grades, grades, batching by age, frames around subjects. Incorporate: learning driven by intrinsic motivation. Teacher as facilitator, not expert single source of info. End goal of self-knowledge and actual path to career, not expectation of college. Opportunity to engage/intern with actual professionals in authentic application environments. More opportunity for creative interpretation / knowledge demonstration." -K.M. (teacher, parent)

"Fewer worksheets and more hands-on/project based learning. More discussions and fewer lectures." - S.D. (Parent)

 "Teaching to the test. School needs to be focused on learning and exploring and creating a well rounded individual. One of the things that made me decide to move into the library was that I constantly heard that my theatre class didn't matter. And because the teachers had that attitude I had a lot of students who started to develop that same viewpoint. There's a ton more that I think contributes to the behavior issues that seem so prevalent, but I'm going to get off my soapbox now." -C.G. (former teacher)

"Fund the damn education system!" -N.C (parent) 

 "Less time in the classroom and more time in the community. I think it's equally important to develop humanitarian interests and critical thinking with hands on experience...Actively debating, not discussions, that challenge them to provide fact based data so they understand that emotions are part of the debate but not a pass on providing facts to back their emotions. I think it's a skill a lot of people lack...How to balance an account and manage money. Another lacking skill for many..." -A.C. (Parent)

It's fascinating. Of the list above, two are/were NYC parents/teacher.  I often wonder about what is going on in other parts of the country.  I am on board with a lot of what is stated above: mastery based assessment, project based learning, smaller class sizes (the cap here is 34). 

If I was in charge, this is what I would do: Change needs to begin with teachers.  Teachers are the best source of information and insight into the needs of students, schools and how assessment should and can work.  All the answers are already there: ask us, stop making decisions for us. 


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