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Education For All

November 7, 2012

I believe that a good education for EVERYONE in the USA is essential.  People complain about how our current education system is not educating our children.  I have witnessed our education system from a student view and from a teacher view.  Students are forced to take classes that they are not properly prepared to understand.  Teachers are forced to follow a pre-set curriculum that is designed to teach at a pace that bores most students and confuses those who have learning disabilities.  Some students are passed from grade to grade without learning the required information because their parents will not allow them to be “failed.”  Some students are passed without having done ALL of the required work and acquiring the knowledge expected of someone having completed that particular class.  Some students quit school and find laborer jobs with bleak futures.  Some students take the GED and move into college where they are mentally challenged but physically much younger than the other students.

I believe that MOST parents with children in school want their children to be educated. Children with learning disabilities by law are to get equal treatment or equal education.  The problem is, nobody looks at the part of the law that says “you have the right to …. UNLESS such action violates the rights of others.”  What about the rights to a good education of the brightest students?  Is it fair to anyone if you put the slowest learners in the same class as the fastest learners?  NO!  So, now there are “advanced” or “college prep” classes instead of “special education.”  And STILL, neither group of students is getting the education that they really deserve.

My solution:

1.  Do away with grade levels and use a system of Prerequisites.

In order to enroll in a particular subject a student would need to have completed the prerequisites for that class.

2.  Provide a continuous education location.

People in the “real world” are not separated by age.  All students would be attending school in the same location, from the youngest students to the oldest students.  Perhaps the oldest students taking “child care” classes might look after the youngest students in the latter part of the day when the youngest students are tired and unable to continue learning.

3.  Provide shorter subjects with multiple groups or speeds for the classes.

For example:  Group 1 would take 3 weeks to complete the basic class; Group 2 might take 2 weeks to complete the basic class;  And, group 3 might take 1 week to complete the basic class.  But at the end of the basic class, each group would have the SAME knowledge and prerequisite to qualify for the next level of class.  If a student found a particular group too fast or slow then he could choose a different group for the next level of that subject.  Since we do not learn each subject at the same rate, students would not be forced to enroll in any particular group for any particular class but would be allowed to join the group which will allow them to learn at a pace where they would learn ALL of the required knowledge for that particular subject.  A student might be taking Math classes in Group 1 but be taking Biology in Group 3 while another student might be taking Math in Group 3 and Biology in Group 1, and, both students might be taking English in Group 2.

4.  Provide Year-Round school.

The current basic school-year is archaic.  Students do not normally need the summer off to help on the farm or whatever they did in the past when the timeframe was established.  Students could still take “vacation” by simply not enrolling in classes for that period of time.  They might take their vacation in the middle of winter because their family likes to take a ski vacation.

5.  Provide a longer school day.

The current school-day does not allow flexibility for circumstances of life.  A student (or a teacher) may need to start school late, or perhaps may need to work in the middle of the day to help family members.  A flexible schedule would allow students to get the education they deserve without adding to other burdens in their life.

This is not an exhaustive list, just a few ideas.  I know there are many things to be worked out in order to implement such an educational system but I believe that it would do a better job of educating our citizens.

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