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.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
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.
Posted by G. M. Palmer at 12:17 AM