My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Education Reform That Matters, part VI 


If you begin with the premise that EVERY student who enters a public school has the potential to become somebody special, then you have to alter the look of the school a little bit, don't you.

The current wave of "reforms" are all intended to make every child who comes out of the schools look, essentially, the same. All the same classes, all the same competencies, all the same skills.

And, to a degree, there are some skills that EVERY student MUST have. I am not one of those that thinks it's okay to turn students out of the schools without minimums.

But there are many skills that not every single student needs. And many passions that not every student possesses. If it is our intent to maximize the potential of every student, then we need to recognize that every student is different.

THEREFORE, a greater emphasis needs to be put on tradescrafts in the schools. Not because every student needs them, but because those students who walk through our doors who are not headed for college must have some useful skills to take with them out into the real world. My transmission guy makes more every year than I do (with two college degrees), and he was able to get started early in life. So should our current students have choices and skills.

A greater emphasis must also be put on the Arts. We could be very effective teachers of geometry, but if our students have no idea of what Beethoven, Shakespeare, Picasso or Gerschwin used for inspiration, then we crank out soulless automatons who can solve a quadratic equation but never realize WHY it ever matters.

And then, for the college bound, we need to increase the rigor and the expectations for everything we and they do. They, too, need to be prepared for life after high schools, and colleges are getting pretty tired of teaching them 7th grade stuff so they can keep up.

More thoughts on this tomorrow.

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