Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fixing Education

If we have a nation of non-readers (200 million or so) that is (by far more) also a nation of non-poetry readers (290 million? something like that), part of the blame has to be on the educational system -- granted, the lion's share of the burden falls on the inability of most American poets to write anything worth reading, but the soul-sucking monster that is compulsory public education needs to be addressed as well.

to wit:

G.M. Palmer's Plan for Fixing Public Education
a baker's dozen rules

1) Test all teachers on a standardized test (WISC, SAT, ACT, GRE, TAAS, FCAT, etc.). Whoever doesn't score in the 75th percentile or above gets fired (do you want people who aren't smart [not just "not dumb"] teaching kids?).

2) Increase starting teacher salary to at least 100% of local median income. Make 20-year teacher salary 200% of median income. Give salary adjustments of 10% for each graduate degree step (Master, Specialist, Doctor) earned by a teacher. Now you have a salary scale. Use it.

3) Recruit heavily in high schools and colleges, reminding potential teachers that we only work 196 days a year.

4) Create and employ a strict and permanent expulsion policy. If a kid comes to school just to fsck around, he doesn't need to be there. Which leads to. . .

5) Remove "compulsory" from public education.

6) Give credit for all classes based on nationalized, standardized competency exams. Make these exams available at all times to all students. Passing the exam (which I would hazard a guess to say means getting well over a 90%) gives you credit for the class, end of story.

7) Award various "High School Diplomas" -- General Education, Trade Education, Business Education, College Prep, Technical Prep, etc. All of these will be credit -- and therefore competency-test based.

8) Anyone 18 or under can go to any school at any time.

9) All classes are open-enrollment and capped for attendance solely at teacher discretion.

10) No school campus should have more than 500 students. When 125% of capacity is reached, the community must find and provide new housing (I hear abandoned Wal-Marts are readily available for conversion. . .).
11) All campuses will incorporate any grade-levels a teacher wishes to teach/the students wish to learn.

12) All campuses will incorporate any subjects a teacher wishes to teach/the students wish to learn. This includes all arts, trades, humanities, sciences, etc. up to and most definitely traditionally "extra-curricular activities" and sports. If a competent adult is willing to teach children how to do it and children are willing to learn and work it can be done.

13) This may be restating (5) but attendance in classes is not mandatory. We should care that students learn, not that they breathe the same air as us.


Kirby Olson said...

Pretty good. I don't make attendance mandatory but I do encourage it by offering an extra third of a grade for those who miss less than two classes per semester. This is because if they are there, they aren't missing explanations, so can get the whole semester intact. I think they then get more.

I will think more about this. I think it's good to have big plans, and try to get it all down.

It's something the left won't do.

Even when they do write it all down, they won't let us see it.

donny said...

The School Yard

Find the application that poets and sees do.
Construction of policy.
We regard a serious matter.
I don’t know what they’re doin’.
This is a menu,
Public education.
Of not only the people
But also the ideas.
Mr. Alison’s tough.
He writes on his brain.
I’m tellin’ yah,
Ignore the heart,
And society will lose its head.
I’m compulsory.
These are feelings in touch.
What a wounded school.
You’ll have to say goodbye
To so many of its students.
We don’t make you go to school.
Kid, do what you feel like.
Your whim is what governs here.
Ever held a teenager under a star?
It’s a reach they grow to
If it’s the star their soul is set to.
Here maybe teachers can learn to read.
Now where is our education’s plan,
Is that all to learn to read?
I’m looking at existence.
Is there a navigation’s sum?
High you’re the teacher.

Donny Duke

Alrenous said...

I'm almost completely sure #5 automatically creates #1-4.

Also, blah.

To the 90%+ test for credit, you need to add extracurricular guidance. Near 90%, it's not going to be worth taking the class itself, but it may be quite difficult to independently find the necessary books etc.