The thoughts that were thunk and the goings on of my life.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Ideas for Fixing the Education System

America's education system is broken. We spend way too much money for way too poor of a product, and I don't think patching it up is really going to help. We need an overhaul. A fundamental top to bottom change.

Based on the inspiration from my own prior thoughts and some thoughts from this article (What Makes Finnish Kids So Smart? - By Ellen Gamerman) about Finnish school children I think there are a few steps that can really help everything turn around and quickly:
  • Abolish the Teacher's Union. They simply hold everything back.  They are more focused on keeping jobs for bad teachers than they are for teaching students.
  • Allow for vocational type high schools. There's simply no reason why most people should study algebra but not be taught how to decipher their bills. The main purpose of school is to train you for being an adult and our schools are not doing that.
  • Make all school funding come the federal government. This will raise income taxes, but will drop property taxes proportionally. This will also help to ensure that all schools receive adequate funding and help to eliminate disparities in funding between the rich and poor at least concerning educational possibilities.
  • Create a Teacher's Corps. This would be like a branch of the military. You get a free masters if you use their program and in turn you owe them 4 years of service in a facility of their choosing.
  • Require a master's to teach. And not a joke master's like most people I know that pursue education where they color for college homework (yes, they really did that at A&M). Make sure that our teachers are amongst the best and brightest instead of those most likely to perform poorly and 'not get it'.
  • Charge each family a set amount for each child they have in school.  There is no reason why a single person or childless couple should have to pay more for raising your children than you do.  People do not value what is given to them, and I truly believe that if a parent was charged for their children to be in school and fined when that child performs poorly, then it would give families a real reason to care and be involved with their child's success.
I think implementing some of these features will help point us in the right direction when it comes to education.  Of course there are lots of other little details, but when you consider that our education system is broken, that we continually ignore different learning styles and that the average teacher is intellectually subpar when compared to those studying for other vocations, and the fact that there is no incentive for a teacher to perform well, it creates a perfect storm of teachers that don't care, student's who don't care and parents who are uninvolved.

No comments: