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National Vocational School

Armando Said:

If you could reform the public school system in any way, what would you do?

We Answered:

1 - Obligatory participation (of various sorts) by parents.
2 - No student moves on to the next grade without demonstrating conclusively that they've mastered the material for their current grade (this will prevent me from ever again having to witness an 18-year old complain to me that she "can't do math!" when what she really means is that she's lost her calculator and is UNABLE to do simple addition (amazing, I know, but true, and the young woman in question was clearly of above-average intelligence!)).
3 - Outlaw teachers unions - period.
4 - Merit-based pay for all people working in public educational institutions.
5 - Principals are given the power and means with which to succeed.
6 - Principals are responsible for the success of their institutions; no success = no job.
7 - Teachers are given the power and means to solve student behavioral issues (read: students preventing other students from learning). This means that problem students are removed from the classroom so the other students can get on with learning.
8 - Tracking is re-instituted (i.e., students are grouped into different classes by ability as determined by standardized testing (call it IQ testing, aptitude testing or whatever, I don't care - just get the kids separated by their native abilities to learn the subjects)).
9 - Teachers will have at least a bachelor's degree in the subject(s) that they teach.
10 - Educational personnel (teachers, principals, administrators, etc.) will have pay and benefits commensurate with what they would command in the private sector.
11 - Special education coding will be reduced SUBSTANTIALLY (e.g., no more coding kids just 'cause their parents are divorced) and to a level at which funding issues are insignificant.
12 - No high school diploma will be conferred upon students who can not demonstrate that, at a minimum, they are capable of performing (non-remedially) at the next level of each individual subject were they to continue on to college.

I could go on and on but I think you get the idea: I'd take the whole thing apart and start over by hiring capable people, paying them appropriately, letting them do their jobs, holding them responsible for producing educated students, and requiring students AND their parents to be responsibly engaged in the process. Those who do not wish to be responsibly engaged would be invited to participate in alternatives in which I'm not particularly interested.

Needless to say, the existing educational establishment is dead-set against most of what I advocate. As stewards of a (generally) failed model, I would expect no less of them.

Oscar Said:

any idea about "national vocational qualification"?

We Answered:

nwq what

Ben Said:

What would you do to reform the Public School System in America?

We Answered:

I went to school in New York state, where they typically have good schools. One reason why is the Regent's exam, a test given in every subject in high school on state standardized subjects. Those who do not pass the test, do not pass the class. This system encouraged standardized learning and prevented students from passing if they did not know enough to at least get a C.

Surely, this would be a good idea for national curricula.

Also, getting rid of students that serve as a distraction is a must. While they need an education, if they are reluctant to take advantage of it they should not be allowed to distract someone else that does.

Discuss It!

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