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Old 05-12-2015, 12:34 PM
 
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What changes would you make if you could?
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Old 05-12-2015, 04:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by katie1215 View Post
What changes would you make if you could?

What an opportunity but I'll limit to just my top three, not in any particular order.

a. Eliminate Federal level initiatives -- return education to a more local control because local boards know their needs the best. This gets away from a one size fits all type approach and is more tailored.

b. Return to tracking (or whatever term) where the top students, who can be successful in college are placed into college/professional track and fully supported along the way. Those who show a greater tendency toward skilled work, then focus high school on preparing them for that career path rather than trying to force them toward a degree program. And we have to be willing to admit that for some kids, "do you want fries with that?" will be a stretch goal. Don't force the tracks into the same class or take the same tests out of some misguided social fairness mindset.

c. Change teacher education to require a BS/BA in a specific subject first and then add on a set of education courses rather than education being the centerpiece with a smattering of subject matter around it. IE reverse the focus. I know that may offend some, but here's the carrot -- now that they are taking the subject matter expert type courses, pay them a competitive salary compared to what a professional in that field with that education and experience will make. IE, if a person with a BS in physics can make $X in the commercial sector, the pay them $X to teach. Makes it more financially viable for someone to teach vs industry.
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Old 05-12-2015, 05:11 PM
 
Location: My beloved Bluegrass
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1. Return to tracking.
2. Get rid of the vast majority the standardized testing and all the test prep.
3. Move disruptive kids out of the regular classroom/schools quicker - disability or no disability.
4. Put the ownership for failing back on the student and parent, it is not just the responsibility of the teacher.
5. Bring back meaningful vocational ed.
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Old 05-12-2015, 07:01 PM
 
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Almost all exams should be open book/notes/computers. Having tests in "Vacuum" conditions is dumb, the real world is open book. Especially this day and age with lots of advanced computers and technology, the correct method to find information is often more important than the information itself.

No boss is ever going to tell and employee: "Here is a problem. You can't use your notes, your books, your computer, your colleagues, solve it."

Running the schools like this is not good preparation. Teamwork is an essential part of many jobs and considered a character strength.
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Old 05-12-2015, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Southeast Michigan
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I'd add a centralized, well researched, best-practices based curriculum that sets a solid base while still expecting the teacher to improvise and challenge kids. Not the current hodge-podge of poorly thought through methods that together form a very incoherent, disconnected educational system where every district marches to their own drum.
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Old 05-12-2015, 07:07 PM
 
Location: Florida
4,091 posts, read 3,067,695 times
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Originally Posted by Mandalorian View Post
Almost all exams should be open book/notes/computers. Having tests in "Vacuum" conditions is dumb, the real world is open book. Especially this day and age with lots of advanced computers and technology, the correct method to find information is often more important than the information itself.

No boss is ever going to tell and employee: "Here is a problem. You can't use your notes, your books, your computer, your colleagues, solve it."

Running the schools like this is not good preparation. Teamwork is an essential part of many jobs and considered a character strength.
Bingo! School is not preparing kids for real life, the way real life exists now. Innovative thinking and creativity should be what's getting kids ahead in school, not rote memorization.

I'd like to see more open options. Part-time schooling open to all kids, a healthy mix of in-school and virtual options, lots more collaboration, interaction with the community at large. No standardized testing (or very minimal) and if the kids are in school full-time, very little homework.
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Old 05-12-2015, 07:15 PM
 
Location: Southeast Michigan
2,839 posts, read 1,579,015 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandalorian View Post
Almost all exams should be open book/notes/computers. Having tests in "Vacuum" conditions is dumb, the real world is open book. Especially this day and age with lots of advanced computers and technology, the correct method to find information is often more important than the information itself.

No boss is ever going to tell and employee: "Here is a problem. You can't use your notes, your books, your computer, your colleagues, solve it."

Running the schools like this is not good preparation. Teamwork is an essential part of many jobs and considered a character strength.
I could not disagree more. The open books are for people who already have a solid, ingrained base of knowledge and are capable of knowing exactly what they need to do, rather than having to re-teach themselves every time. In the "real world" many important decisions have to be made quickly, based on prior knowledge and experience, without the luxury of spending hours on research. A person that can't give an answer in a meeting without looking something up first does not instill much confidence. And teamwork does not replace individual abilities, experience, and knowledge. These qualities come first, otherwise the worker is not really a team player but a leech feeding off the abilities of others. It's important to be creative, but it's equally important to have a solid learned knowledge base; it's important to be a team player, but it only works if the person is capable of working on their own. Otherwise it's not a working team, it's a train wreck in motion. Trust me, I've seen those

In college, I used to dread the open book engineering tests, because they tended to be extremely grueling and tricky and unless you knew your **** really really well and could act very quickly you were dead meat. You didn't have time to fumble through index pages or think what kind of solution to apply. You had to catch the professor's dirty little hidden land mine in the 4.5 minutes allowed per problem Closed book exams were far more straightforward and easy by comparison. At work, I often had to deal with urgent problems that had to be resolved quickly, when a piece of essential equipment goes down and you have the top management of one of the biggest corporations in the world calling your bosses' boss and you're called into their office unprepared, you better be able to answer questions on the spot without consulting documentation, or the next time they will call in someone who can. That's real life for you. The ability to look up things on the Internet does not equal knowledge and proficiency. Any dummy can do that, but it takes learned knowledge to be able to act with confidence and make informed decisions in a real world situation. Would you want your emergency room doctor to have an attitude like " I can always look it up, no reason to memorize anything ?"

Last edited by Ummagumma; 05-12-2015 at 07:44 PM..
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Old 05-12-2015, 07:57 PM
 
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As a teacher, I'm not sure I would call it "tracking" because of the connotations, but heterogeneous groupings for core classes (particularly math, English, and science) and even behavior should be eliminated after about 3rd or 4th grade. Doing this would far and away be my most important change.

Beyond that, I would find a way to equalize funding on a county or perhaps statewide level. In Ohio, at least, this is a big problem.
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Old 05-12-2015, 08:01 PM
 
3,283 posts, read 5,245,299 times
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Originally Posted by tnff View Post
c. Change teacher education to require a BS/BA in a specific subject first and then add on a set of education courses rather than education being the centerpiece with a smattering of subject matter around it. IE reverse the focus. I know that may offend some, but here's the carrot -- now that they are taking the subject matter expert type courses, pay them a competitive salary compared to what a professional in that field with that education and experience will make. IE, if a person with a BS in physics can make $X in the commercial sector, the pay them $X to teach. Makes it more financially viable for someone to teach vs industry.
At the secondary level, I think that this idea makes perfect sense, including the part of paying STEM teachers more in line with what they might get in the business/research world. However for primary school teachers (PK-3rd), I'm not sure a subject-specific major is necessary. However these teachers should have the rough equivalent of a minor in English and math.
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Old 05-12-2015, 10:07 PM
 
5,765 posts, read 3,045,580 times
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Originally Posted by Clevelander17 View Post
At the secondary level, I think that this idea makes perfect sense, including the part of paying STEM teachers more in line with what they might get in the business/research world. However for primary school teachers (PK-3rd), I'm not sure a subject-specific major is necessary. However these teachers should have the rough equivalent of a minor in English and math.
Oh, I agree, it wouldn't necessarily be a physics degree for first grade (though given some physicists I've known, they might get along perfectly with first graders). But even then I'd want them to have a degree in something solid, English, history, or even things like a foreign language or art. I'm not hung up on STEM as one size fits all, but would like them to have something specific. Heck in elementary, both my kids had this guy who was a huge bear of a man, looked like a lumberjack. To look at him you'd think he'd scare the kids to death, but they loved him. Did an outstanding job of bringing science into the classroom by linking his summer research to his school year lessons.
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