How We Can Change Our Failing Education System

What kind of person could you get to run a small business if you told them that when they came in they couldn’t get rid of people that they thought weren’t any good? Not really great ones because if you’re really smart you go, ‘I can’t win.’ – Steve Jobs refering to public schools

The only way to change our stagnant inefficient education system is through innovation and competition not protectionism. We need to remove the government shackles from the innovators – even if they are non-degreed dropouts like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Michael Dell – and allow them to fix education.

Watch this brilliant video of Sir Ken Robinson (Ph.D) talking about how schools today kill creativity.

How the Public School System Crushes Souls is the most popular post ever published on this website, and the latest comment from Ian is the most common rebuttal, so I am going to take this opportunity to counter Ian’s main points which are (dare I say) the mainstream arguments against ending the current government school monopoly.

In his comment, Ian did not mention the best solution (in my opinion) to our education problems– small entrepreneurial schools.

Please read this fantastic story about people dedicated to improving education and how the government thwarts them. If you care about education, read this today, I don’t care about your current opinion on the issue, just read it – it’s inspiring, especially part 2. These are stories about people making a difference – people that are ending our education nightmare.

Legalizing Markets in Happiness and Well-Being (Part 1)
Legalizing Markets in Happiness and Well-Being (Part 2)

I will address Ian’s comment – in its entirety – in three parts.

Part 1:

First of all, 2 cases doesn’t make something a common problem. Never has, never will. The same isn’t true here, either. Though I do agree that there are kids that get screwed over in the system that is school, there are far more kids that benefit severely

Ian is partially right. I will agree that the severity of Christine’s and my experiences are not the average public school experience, but they aren’t as uncommon as Ian would have you believe. I can name over a dozen people in our school that had worse experiences than we did.

But here is an important distinction to understand – if you are having a good experience in public school. Great! I am happy for you. But if your experience is pure torture, like Christine’s, I believe you should have alternatives. Lot’s of alternatives – not just Catholic School.

Three facts:

  • 33% of American public school students drop out
  • 50% in many major cities
  • 78% in Detroit

While this evidence doesn’t empirically prove large numbers of kids have a poor public school experience, it certainly suggests that it is quite common.

Part 2:

I want to address Ian’s point about giftedness. I poorly communicated what I meant in the original post and Ian is not the only one that misunderstood what I meant about giftedness. This is what Ian wrote:

Though, the biggest offense I take from the article is the fact that you give Gifted kids (which is a perfectly acceptable name, despite what your personal values are. Not everyone can be gifted, or else it really isn’t a gift, now is it?) the label of a disability. I may sound snobbish, but I honestly doubt anyone really wants to be labeled with a disability, especially those who excel in learning and comprehension.

Gifted and Talented children learn faster than other children, and as such need a faster paced course, lest they get bored and occupy their time with other things. That’s it. We have few other needs then that, and each of those needs are based on the individual, just like any other person. I know as I was born and raised as a gifted and talented child, and i turned out no worse than most of my friends, besides the fact that I’m usually horribly bored at school, and feel like my time could be spent doing much better, more useful things, thus hating school like no one else I know. Do some more research before showing disdain at something, as it’s not wise to insult people, especially those who form a piece of your argument, however small.

I don’t have a problem with the gifted and talented. Me, Christine, my son, several of my brothers, my parents, and many of my friends fit the ‘Gifted and Talented’ label. The problem I have with the ‘Gifted and Talented’ label is that it is yet another way of alienating and driving wedges between people.

The government should get out of the business of testing, categorizing, labeling, numbering, segregating, and institutionalizing our children. We should be free to decide whether accelerated courses are for us, much the way we freely decide everything else in our lives. We should be free to decide whether our child attends a disciplined structured school or self-directed democratic school. What is good for one child may not be good for another – even when they are gifted. But the government system rarely makes that distinction; they herd them like cattle into segregated corrals with little regard for the desires of the parent or the child. We wouldn’t allow the government to choose the food we eat. Why do we accept government dictates concerning the food (education) that builds our child’s mind, character, thoughts, and personality?

In our society, being gifted can be a social disability. This article clearly demonstrates a link between high intelligence and social, academic, and economic failure. I knew a Valedictorian of a prominent Minnesota high school who was homeless. Did you know the columbine killers were gifted? Believing you are smarter than everyone else is a dangerous place to be.

I personally believe neither forced integration (denial of individual differences and learning styles) nor forced segregation (labeling, grouping, and separation) of gifted students will produce the optimal results. We will achieve the best results when we stop institutionalizing our children and begin to treat them as individuals capable of self-direction and self-discipline. Our current model of K-12 education was not designed to promote individuality and creativity; it was designed to crush it.

John Wesley recently wrote an excellent post about the dilemma of giftedness at Pickthebrain.com.

Part 3:

The solutions you offer are hardly solutions at all. Not every parent can home school. it’s impossible, and suggesting otherwise would be doing a disservice to single parents, and those who work full time.

As for the neighbor hood coop, you once again have the lack of time, and you have the lack of skill and available parents. Not every parent I know can teach advanced math, and just watching some of my substitute teachers stumble through biology notes *my teacher is sick quite often* makes me shiver at the thought of something like that happening every day.

Please note that Ian did not even mention the possibility of small entrepreneurial schools.

Again, Ian is partially right. True, not all parents can homeschool, but many that could, do not even consider it. Sometimes having a second income is not a matter of survival, sometimes it’s about having a Lexus and a McMansion while your kid falls apart in public school. For many people, choosing whether or not to homeschool is a matter of values and priorities, not survival. My family is an example, so far, we have chosen not to homeschool, but we know it is an option. It would involve sacrifice, but we could do it.

Contrary to Ian’s claim, single parents can and do homeschool. Nothing is impossible. Read Kyria Kalata’s moving story about 24 hours as a single working homeschooling mom. She’s also an entrepreneur. Maybe the nay sayers could drop her a line reminding her what she is doing is impossible.

196,000 children were homeschooled by single parents in 2003. 283,000 homeschooling families earned less than $25,000 annually in 2003. – so there’s 500,000 people doing the impossible.

Contrary to Ian’s claim that co-ops are unworkable, there are thousands of community based education co-ops operating successfully in the Untied States. Here is one example. I learned about educational co-ops from co-workers that praised the advanced material their children learned at co-ops, including college level (AP) Algebra and Biology. One homeschooled boy has earned over 30 college credits without ever stepping foot in a classroom.

Large government institutions like schools and prisons do not treat people like individuals. They can’t, the task is too complex and expensive. So instead of doing something about it, making education more entrepreneurial, we throw our hands up and saying – the current monolithic government system is the only way.

Why do we believe that only government can deliver educational services to children? It’s an outdated concept. Even modern models for universal health care don’t resemble our antiquated education system. They don’t propose that all medical workers in the United States become unionized government employees in government owned hospitals and clinics. Even socialists know such a proposal would be an unmitigated disaster. But that is exactly the model we have in American K-12 education.

We must start treating children and parents (the true consumers of education) like the unique individuals they are and allow them to make their own educational choices.

Contrary to what some people would like…
The government does not own your children…
Yet.

34 thoughts on “How We Can Change Our Failing Education System”

  1. Steve, one way I think our school system can change is by educating parents and increasing their participation. Perhaps making it a requirement. There is no one size fits all, but in a place where people abdicate responsibility for their children’s success, we are left to take what is given to us.

    My brother was complaining to me one day about the way his son was being taught to read and I had to remind him that school is a place where ideas are introduced. They have to be reinforced at home. You have to be involved in your child’s education. Almost to the point where you are learning with them (especially today).

    Beyond that, I think, once again, that it is a matter of consciousness. What is it that we want for our kids? We need to start concentrating on making that happen. Complaining about the current system is futile.

    In Spirit,
    Nneka

  2. While I agree that there is a problem, I disagree about the exact nature of it. The problem is not that schools are an institution, nor is it that the public schools are controlled by the government. The problem is that most schools, public and private, small and large, have an industrial age mass market approach and philosophy. ‘One size fits all’, or to quote Henry Ford, “Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black”. The barriers to better education are philosophical and structural, not a matter of which institution is doing the educating.

    Our children are all getting a ‘black car’ education, except for those few who can afford to buy a Maserati of a private prep school education. They need an education tailored to their strengths and weaknesses instead. The institutions in our society which offer education – government, church, private-sector charity, corporation – almost all offer only the basic black car. There are some which do not, mostly small ‘entreprenurial’ schools such as Montessori schools.

    Government is capable of adapting; one nearby school district has moved away from the ‘black Model T’ philosophy, and runs both a Waldorf and a Montessori school in addition to traditional education. Our local district runs a ‘back to basics’ high discipline school, in addition to the regular ones. However, No Child and blanket state regulations put substantial obstacles in the way of this kind of reform.

    The solution is not privatization and the free market – there are far too many people who will get a bicycle or pair of shoes for an education rather than a ‘black car’, and that would be very bad for the political and economic life of our society.

    Instead, I believe that the public school system needs structural reform. It needs to accurately identify a child’s abilities and needs and customize schooling for the individual child. One size fits all has got to end. Further, I think parents should have a choice of public schools to send their children to, and that the system should adapt to the choices made rather than making citizens adapt to the system. This sounds expensive, but is in reality far less expensive than breaking or crippling most of the children in the system, as it currently does.

    In the meantime, what do we do? I am homeschooling my kids, but it has financial consequences. We have chosen homeschooling over homeownership. Not everyone can make that choice.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking reading!

  3. TDaulnay,
    Thanks for the comment, but I completely disagree.

    Even if the government schools allow you to get a ‘green model T’ they will NEVER allow you to make the choice. They will decide who qualifies for the ‘green model T’ and if you don’t like it… well too effing bad.

    If the free-market was in place, and demand increased for ‘green model Ts’ supply would also increase. But a government system would always create a surplus of something and shortage of something else because they have no incentive to balance supply and demand.

    About some people getting a ‘bicycle’ or a pair of ‘shoes’ instead of a ‘black model T’ if the free market were in place might be true, but that is happening right now anyway – a third of the population of Washington DC is illiterate.

    A free-market system would not create equal results, but neither does our current system. We should be more concerned about freedom and less concerned about equality, because focusing soley on equality has historically resulted in people being equally oppressed. Didn’t you read Animal Farm in government school?

  4. Another home run, Steve. I would love to see the school vouchers come to light, or tax rebates for those who send their children to private schools, small entrepreneurial schools, or home school.

    I was discussing this issue earlier today with someone on an Open Diary board. In one of my replies, I noted that the public school system is called a great equalizer for a reason. The problem with equalizing is that some people can never be raised to the potential, skills, and ability that others may have. Yet other people have different gifts. Therefore, the only way to equalize is to crush the achievers.

    The only mistake you’ve made (in my opinion) is giving the institutions the benefit of the doubt that their soul-crushing is done by mistake. I contend that it’s a deliberate part of the socialist experiment that is taking place.

    Other than that I agree with you 100%, of course.

  5. Sorry, somehow I didn’t catch the John Taylor Gatto link the first time through. It seems that you already realized that it’s on purpose. So you’ve made no mistakes. :-)

  6. I produced a cliff notes to Gatto at http://www.odonnellweb.com/?cat=47 which might useful if you want to get the gist in about 15 minutes.

    No no no on rebates or vouchers for home education. Tax rebates or vouchers will come with strings attached. You’ll have to meet some standard of homeschooling set by the govt in order to qualify. Our freedom to educate is not worth selling out over a minor tax kickback every year.

  7. Public systems are designed to provide the lowest common denominator. Perhaps the problem is the expectation that there should be tailor-made education. Maybe it’s a matter of just providing funding for community schools. Then people get all up in arms because their community school isn’t as good as Nancy’s around the corner. Government then steps in to create so much criteria that there is grid lock and we have the one size fits all.

    On the other hand, if we actually took responsibility for what was taught in our schools there would be a different story. That requires a shift in thinking. A shift from government needs to solve the problem, to we need to solve the problem.

  8. Nneka,
    Yes they are designed for the lowest common denominator. That is a one big part of the problem.

    But in our consciousness all education is tailor made, right? We educate ourselves. We decide what input to allow inbound. So in the information age we are self-educating, because today information is free, no one can lock it away and sell it to us later. The answer to the education dilemma is in each of our minds… we just need to accept it. We all know how we learn, and we know it has nothing to do with the American concept of education, if we think about it. But to understand the problem, we must think about it. Few people do.

    You said it Nneka…
    It requires a shift in thinking…
    A shift away from delegation and exclusion and toward community inclusion. Daniel Brenton said it the best… it is time for us to just grow up.

    The entire government education system is exclusive. (at the employee, teacher, and administrator level) It is purposefully designed to exclude most people from becoming educators, when in reality, we are all educators.

    It is time to make it inclusive.

  9. Instead of outdated and misquoted study and a website by the
    “Prometheus society” — a site for self styled brights,
    why not look at people like the members of the Princeton
    Institute for Advanced Study, or the Pacific Math Institute, or Fields Medalists and Nobel Laureates?

    As it turns out, what TERMAN actually established was that
    gifted kids and adults are MORE healthy emotionally and BETTER adjusted than others! This was the opposite of the prevailing view at the time.

    Some gifted people, of course, do have problems–such as
    Borus S–but others do very well indeed. Sidus entered Harvard with other precious kids–one was Roger Sessions,
    emotionally fine and became a famous composer, the other was Norbert Wiener–who despite bipolar disorder ( which is biological) became one of the most successful mathematicians of the last century.

  10. What is more damaging for gifted kids and even for others is the nonsense that gifted kids are not very DIFFERENT.

    When you are nine years old and reading 1984 and Sartre,
    and your cadre are reading the weekly reader; and you are
    doing histology with your microscope and designing tesla coils, and learning trig and symbolic logic—-you DO NOT
    belong in the same classroom as most kids—
    THAT IS TORTURE.

    It is also harmful for the less gifted kids who can’t keep up.

    That was my experience–and I was in the “gifted classes”–which IMHO are usually not much better than the standard ones.

    The best thing for a very bright kid would be to get them out of school—homeschooling might work.

    And social skills are not learned by being forced into classrooms with those who hate and fear you. They are learned by finding and hanging out with OTHER very bright kids –found in chess clubs, science fairs, and music competitions, for example–the internet today.

  11. To go back to the topic of why the school system doesn’t work:
    It used to work better.

    When it did, it was because there were absolute and high standards–people failed!! Most people didn’t graduate college or even get an academic high school diploma. But people learned. The High school grads of the 1930’s knew far more than the college grads today–on the average.

    Did you know that Solid geometry and spherical trig was part of the high school course sixty years ago ( there were state exams in NY ) or that Chaucer and Milton were taught?

    If you look at the Mcguffy readers ( used even in one room schoolhouses); the standard sixth grade reader included selections from Paradise Lost, Pilgrim’s Progress, The Canturbury Tales etc.

    Today our schools have more interest in self-esteem,
    psychobabble, and clerk computer training than in EDUCATION. Job training begins in elementary school, which is disgusting.

    Bring back standards, and FAILURE, and the education for
    the arts and sciences–not for the clerkplace.

  12. One more thing:
    In a society where a construction worker earns more than a
    college professor of physics, where a pilot earns more than the designer of an airplane, where a plumber is paid better than an English Teacher or a research chemist–ask yourself why most kids don’t seem to care much about school? Especially when school is presented as “job training” and not as ” Stroke your curiosity”.

    If you claim to value intellectual things ask yourself two questions:
    1) Who is Paris Hilton?
    2) Who won last years Nobel Prize in Chemistry

    That ought to tell you what our society REALLY values!

  13. This is a terrific thread and I posted last night to comment but I must have done something wrong because I don’t see my comment here. At any rate, I think my point was to keep on talking up the idea of parents and families doing for themselves. We do and there are a lot of states that makes hsing very do-able. Or using the private school option like we do.

    Nance

    P.S. If you see my earlier post and can tell me what I did wrong, maybe I’ll remember not to do it again. Or maybe it is lost in cyberspace. . . :)

  14. Steve, this is one of the absolute best posts I’ve read since I’ve been reading blogs. I’ve written you a response on my blog. I’m a public school teacher myself and I agree with you 100%. Keep it up, brother. We need more voices like yours!

  15. Great post! Our education system is broken – no two ways about it! Think about what we learn first at school:
    1. Repeating is more important then thinking
    2. You have to obey and not to question a higher authority
    3. To be present is more important then what you do with your presence
    4. There is a learning hierarchy – some things are more important then other things
    5 Learning has a start and a ending
    6. Knowledge is more important then imagination
    7. You have to avoid mistakes in life
    8. There is only one right way for everything
    9. What you believe is irrelevant only what you know counts

    …that pretty much says everything about our schools! I´ve written about it earlier and if you want to read the my point of view go to:
    http://supercoolschool.typepad.com/blog/2007/03/the_education_s.html

    Glad I found your blog. Reading this gives me power for what we want to do with Supercool School :) Rock on! Steli Efti

  16. Pingback: Steli Efti
  17. Our education system definitely needs to change. With all the complaints posted here, I think that sooner of later it will give in and maybe we can start a new system which can satisfy the needs of every student in every level.

  18. It certainly needs a change. The future generation will be the ones who will suffer from this inefficient system. Our children faces this problem and it’s every parents right to protect and nurture the growth of our children.

  19. Yeah, free market principles would probably work. The only thing I would be weary about is the potential for outside influences to penetrate education. I mean that last thing you want is companies funding schools to promote “education” that is in reality job training. I want education to remain education, not just slap on the label “education” when it’s just job training. Currently the education system now is all out of whack. They place so much emphasis on the 3 R’s but neglect and cut funding for art programs, especially music programs.

    This reminds of a middle school experience in my math classes. I had a problem with turning in homework, but I would ace the tests. Because of the homework problem they refused to move me up to a higher level math course, and I think that was probably some of the reason I lost interest in schooling.

    Take care.

  20. Sorry, but “Free Market Principles” are what got us into this mess. The education system of the United States is geared toward making sure that our students are the best and brightest in the world. Unfortunately, we have no way of measuring this other than to give standardized tests, tests that are written by companies, with prep material provided by those same companies, and are graded and scored by, you guessed it, the same companies.

    So right now what we have are a bunch of schools that are so afraid of failure and of being the worst that they no longer take risks with the curriculum because making a mistake means losing federal funding.

    More to the point, when you teach people that success is important, you’re also teaching them that failure is bad. If failure is bad, then anything that promotes failure is also bad. “High Standards” is another way of saying “Low tolerance for failure”.

    We’re teaching our students that their successes are more important than anything else, and as a result, students are going to be highly unlikely to do anything that might not lead to success. If I get in trouble for failing, I’m not going to take any intellectual risks, nor am I going to try anything that’s truly challenging because it might turn out that I screw it up the first few times.

    Learning doesn’t come from successes. Learning doesn’t come from “High Standards” that can be easily summarized (and easily tested). Multiple choice tests are easy to prepare for (anticipate the questions and memorize the answers) and even easier to grade. No original thought is necessary, because there’s no room for “E) Write your own answer in the space below, making sure to thoroughly explain” on a Scantron sheet.

    You want students to learn? Take the competition out of the classroom. Get your students to stop worrying about where they are in relation to their peers by, you guessed it, not even making an issue of it. Stop worrying about which students are the best and get them to think, get them to work together and give them problems to solve, problems whose solutions require high-level thinking, analysis and synthesis of information in order to figure something out.

    You can’t test this in a 3 hour test. What you can do, though, is get your students to talk about it, and demonstrate understanding, and encourage them to try everything. They’ll figure out soon enough what they’re the most skilled at, and they’ll figure out how to use those strengths to shore up or improve their weaknesses, or even better, they’ll figure out how to find people whose strengths counterbalance their own.

    The problem is not that our system is inefficient – it’s brutally efficient and is working exactly like it’s supposed to: students are kept out of the home for 8 hours (or more) per day, and are forced to learn what basically amounts to trivia. Instead of teaching them how to build things, we’re teaching them the names of all of the tools. And that’s just fine, by most people. If our students aren’t asked any real, meaningful questions, and they’re never allowed to ask any real, meaningful questions (not that schools have the answers, but rather a good teacher should be able to help the student along the way of finding the answer, and in recognizing and dealing with the questions that come up with each answer), then what we’re going to have are a bunch of trivia-obsessed, ineffectual cogs.

    Because, in today’s public education system, that’s all that students are.

    I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have standards. I’m saying that what we should be doing is putting students into situations where they have to think, not memorize and regurgitate, and where they have to problem-solve and take in new information and maybe, just maybe, start making sense of the world. Or, I guess, we can treat them as tiny little barrels, waiting to be filled with knowledge, passive receptacles for the academic crap of the world.

    I dunno about you, but I’d rather my students (I’m one year away from being a teacher) go out and find that knowledge on their own. To use a metaphor, I don’t want to tell them about the landmarks and famous sights of knowledge; I want to give them a map that says “Here there be treasure,” and watch as they run off, shovels in hand. I want to smash the obstacles that keep them from learning, not do the learning for them.

    Steve keeps talking about self-actualization, and the ways in which he is in control of his own destiny. Seems to me that as a teacher, the greatest thing that I can do for my students is to show them that they, too, are in control of their destinies.

  21. I highly suggest reading the following collections of essays (all are fast reads):

    “Dumbing Us Down” by John Taylor Gatto
    “What Does It Mean to Be Well Educated” by Alfie Kohn

    Most of the points that I made above are made much better and much more eloquently by these two writers and educators.

  22. Andrew,

    I agree with everything you said, except that the free market got us into this mess.

    I would love for my children to attend the type of school you describe. I’d like to create the new education paradigm. Hell I’d love to own and operate a school based on the well being and happiness of children instead of the values we have today in our schools. But I can’t. Not because people do not want the thing you and I describe, but because entrepreneurs have been regulated out of the market in most states so we don’t get any fresh ideas.

    Strange that you and I love Gatto’s writings and I think he believes in a free market and you believe he is saying the free market is the problem. I thought he said that “Forced Compulsory Government Schooling” was the problem and that we should not be forced to be educated, but should be allowed to make our own learning choices. To me… that sounds like a free market. A true free market is not the government giving you three choices, government operated public school, highly regulated private school – that is almost identical to government school because of the regulation, and homeschool. A true free market would have as many educational choices as we have when we buy food or books. The choices should be as limitless as our imaginations.

    Are we communicating now?

  23. I agree and disagree with this article. I currently am going through high school, so I can give an opinion from inside the “Forced Compulsory Government Schooling” but I also don’t have the knowledge of how schooling leads to the rest of your life.

    So, let’s start with how I agree. I do think that school is too much about “trivia” rather than thinking and forming your own opinions. However, I happen to have the privilege to go to a very small public high school which is less like the forced learned many have been talking about. For instance, one of the major projects we do every quarter is to debate about controversial history subjects, which have no true answer. However many things are “forced”, an example was when I had a group with which I had to teach/discuss with the class about The Great Gatsby. On our quiz which we gave the class we had a interpretive question, such as “what does this symbolize and why?”, intending our classmates to analyze and make a logical conclusion, and back it up for the ‘why’ part of the question. However our teacher did not like this and graded us down for it. All in all, I feel that our school is progressively changing towards the direction this article wants it to be, providing a large amount of choices in a school with only 400 students or so.

    So this moves into how I disagree with this article. I believe that a completely free market, one with as many educational choices as there are books, would negatively affect the educational system. I believe there should be more choices, but I feel the amount of choices should not be in how to teach them, because that would only lead to standardized testing to make sure that everyone’s learning what they need to, and then everyone would be teaching children how to succeed on the test, rather than how to succeed later in life. The changes should be on what we teach. I think that diversity with subjects, especially with the arts, needs to be commonplace, but the thing which absolutely needs to be more commonplace is independent studies. I believe at least one needs to be done, and passed in order to graduate. Independent studies are when a student decides what he is going to learn, and what the finished product will be, be it a paper, a website, a song, or even a made-from-scratch robot. The student then finds a teacher to be their progress-analyzer and see how much they have done and make sure they have enough done to finish it on time. This is an option open to many high school students, but I think it should be available to middle school or even elementary school students. Also being approved for one is a hassle, because it deviates from standard teaching. So if we could implement a more interactive way to learn, interactive as in the student is teaching himself (and in a way the teacher), the current school system would be more efficient.

    Summing up, I feel that the current system could use some more changes and stop teaching students in the direction of the SAT and more towards real life. However the system isn’t all bad, otherwise everyone here talking about how education needs to be changed would be incapable to do so. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I’ll keep it there for effect.

  24. I really hope you are not advocating home schooling for everyone that can manage it economically. The very idea of it scares the crap out of me. I mean, think about it. It’s not like you need a license to become a parent you could be a complete idiot, a religious fanatic who thinks that the Bible is the only thing worthy of study, a psychopath, a junkie, or all of the above or worse, and still be a parent. Thank God most people don’t home school. The only thing scarier is corperate run schools. I can just picture it. “Sorry Mrs. Jones, your son won’t be accepted in our McSchool because you don’t qualify for government funding and you failed to pay your bill last month. When you are able to pay agian we will gladly accept little Billy back into our classes that are staffed exclusively by people that have our profits in mind. Thank you, and remember, ‘If it’s not McSchool, it’s the other guys.'” It seems to me that you are blaming schools for what you did or didn’t get out of them. Well, schools aren’t there to give you the experience of your life. They aren’t there to experiment on children to find out how to teach the next generation better. They are there to give you a foundation of knowledge that will prepare you to go to college. That is pretty much it. Some people will accept that, study hard and try to get good grades and others won’t but it is available to them and that is all that schools can do. Make the information that people need to get farther in their education AVAILABLE to the people who want it. They can’t force people to learn. I don’t care how inovative your ideal school would be, the quality of the education for the child learning the information would still be dependant upon the willingness of the child to learn. If you had a bad experience with your public school then I’m sorry, but maybe instead of blaming the school, you should ask yourself if you could have done better with the time you had there.

  25. I would like to know what steps would need to be taken to change the education system that is currently in place?

    Let us say that just one rule or regulation were changed, what agency would be contacted and what would the rest of the process be in getting an idea for change in the educations system?

    Could the school board make changes such as, the curriculum?

  26. Denise,

    The first thing we need to change is create a complete legal separation of education and state and then the parents, the students, the teachers, and administrators would be free to create the schools they desire. They would be allowed to be entrepreneurial and innovative. They would create schools you couldn’t even imagine right now.

  27. “Contrary to Ian’s claim, single parents can and do homeschool. Nothing is impossible. Read Kyria Kalata’s moving story about 24 hours as a single working homeschooling mom. She’s also an entrepreneur. Maybe the nay sayers could drop her a line reminding her what she is doing is impossible.”

    Please tell them to email me!
    I’m not the only one out here single and homeschooling. And many of the other single parents have 2 or 3 kids! When it’s about giving your children the best and keeping them on top of the educational world then you need to do anything to make it possible.

    Currently I teach other parents how to use the resources around them to get the most out of education no matter the school type.

  28. I almost hope that the educational system fails. It is the wrong way to go about things in my opinion. I am not sure what the right thing is exactly, I have a rough idea, but I know that the current way of teaching kids to adults, is wrong. People who don’t learn the subject get A’s, and teachers who don’t know a thing about teaching (and sometimes even the subject matter itself) are “educating” poor kids. In my city, they are “teaching” about the subject poorly, and not only that, with a political bias, that wether or not you are for or against, is wrong.

  29. Here is my idea on the school system, should anyone be interested. Im currently a Highschool student, and I see so many ways that the school system could be fixed, changed, etc. The school system is set up as a “one size fits all” thing and doing so will cause boredom and lack of interest. We get taught only general, redundant information all through highschool. My idea was, teach all the basic required courses through elementary, maybe junior high too but through highschool and college, set it up to where you study what you want. Like starting college early sort of thing. People could learn trades, or go after whatever career they want to pursue. I imagine there would be much less of a drop-out rate because people would actually be interested in what they are learning.
    Of course, this is just an opinion of a highschooler.

  30. now almost everyone that have written on this page have written well,i believe that the change in education depends on how a particular country see education, if they see education as a very important aspect of life they will put all they posible best on ensuring that the students in they country have a sound education baground which will help them to any level they get to in life,The lack brings about poverty and is one of the fastest way of absolute poverty, also the educational sector of every country should be number one priority…dennis orji founder UNITED STUDENTS ORGANISATION PROGRAMME.

  31. Im still at school and I came up with the perfect system. If we focused on teaching the basic english and math in the early years as normal. Then in year 7 upwards you can chose to learn sevral jobs like banking, flying ect. to suit sevral jobs you want. This will make the pupil a master of sevral jobs, also increesing jobs avalable by making more people teaching diffrent skills.

  32. My problem is that students sit in a classroom for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, 30 hours a week (a FULL-TIME job with NO pay!), to be educated and “prepared” to compete in a “global economy.” It’s the biggest contradiction I know. Imagine if a parent signed their child up to take music lessons, or to play a sport, and when they come to their child’s practice, they find everyone sitting in chairs writing down how to properly shoot a basketball, or to hit a tennis ball, or writing down 10 pages of notes on how to master Beethoven on the piano! Yet that’s exactly what teachers are doing in the classrooms, as if it’s the ONLY way to learn. It’s really sickening.

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