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Nullo's avatar

How would you redesign the American public school system?

Asked by Nullo (21944points) October 6th, 2010

It’s often agreed that the American public school system sucks, both in terms of environment and education. What do you think would make it better?

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12 Answers

iamthemob's avatar

I would FUND it.

CMaz's avatar

More beer and pot.

GladysMensch's avatar

I wish there was a way to change society. Many kids don’t care about school or learning. Many parents don’t care about it either, or don’t hold their kids responsible for their education. My wife works in an elementary school (in an affluent neighborhood). The kids know that the educators can’t touch them, and the threat of a call home is meaningless when the parents don’t want to be hassled by problems at school.

I’m not saying that this is even close to the majority of kids/parents. But all it takes is one or two bad kids to really mess up the learning for the remaining students.

tedibear's avatar

These are just some random thoughts:

- Understand that students learn different subjects at a different pace. Help the kids who need extra help, but don’t hold back the kids who get something quickly and can move on.

- Integrate subjects. Use music as a tool to teach math. Use literature and history together. Put math and science together. Put science and history together. Put… well you get what I mean.

- Make sports programs less important that academics. Not make them unimportant, just make them secondary to academics.

- Quit giving tenure to teachers. Put them on a semi-annual review process many of the rest of us.

Seek's avatar

No religious doctrine outside a comparative religions course, that gives equal time to each of the five major world religions. This includes but is not limited to “moments of silence”, “abstinence-only sex ed”, and creationism taught as science.

Standardized tests will be straightforward, and not set up in such a way as to require the school to spend time “teaching the test”.

Separate students based on ability – don’t hold back the entire class from pre-algebra because five kids can’t figure out how to do long division.

Integrate subjects. History is so much more interesting when the humanities are added in.

Pay teachers what they’re worth, regardless of “tenure”. Get rid of ineffective teachers. When a teacher has a 98% failure rate, and that includes the Valedictorian, one might want to take a look at his methods.

Strauss's avatar

Pay teachers and administrators wages that reflect the importance of the job they are doing. As a society we pay CEO’s millions for making a lot of money for a company, but we pay our teachers a very small fraction of that for teaching our young be functioning members of our society.

GladysMensch's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I agree with your ideas, but the problems lie in implementing them… especially determining a teachers worth. What factors should be considered? Is it test scores? Teachers will teach to the test and keep their jobs. Is it student/parent approval? A good teacher could get on the bad side of a vocal parent and lose their job? Is it peer review? Most teachers don’t have (aren’t given) time to witness and assess their peers. The devil’s in the details.

Hobosnake's avatar

fluidity between classes. The simple truth is that people learn at different paces, and that’s a big part of why people hate school. Anyone who is outside a certain range of learning speed will either be bored out of their minds or discouraged to the point of giving up. While I sadly don’t have any ideas as to how to actually accomplish this, the rigid system we have in place in most schools that leads to faster students stuck in a slow health class or slower students stuck in a fast-paced calculus class could use a bit of change. I think my least favorite part of college so far is the lack of AP classes.

I also think math and actual applications for math (i.e. physics, chemistry, programming) could be taught together to avoid viewing math as useless and to avoid putting people in a class they don’t yet have the math for (and trust me, that happens. I had to tutor my younger sister in conceptual physics; she had no idea what was going on).

YARNLADY's avatar

A lot more one on one teaching. They don’t have to be credentialed teachers to work directly with the students. I had my sons and grandsons in an outreach school for several years. This is a school where the student goes to class twice a week for about four hours, meets with a teacher who checks his work, gives him his test and arrange for his next assignment.

The student chooses when he will complete the assignment, and works entirely on his own. If he needs help, the teachers are available for drop in or phone call help.

Hobosnake's avatar

@YARNLADY That is a genius system for self-pacing. I didn’t think it could be so simple.

incendiary_dan's avatar

I would get rid of the industrial model, which from its outset was explicitly designed to turn children into good workers, and to preserve socio-economic class lines, and not to teach them to think or do anything useful (unless you think being a drone is useful). Of course, then we’d maybe have no schools at all, in which case the money could be put to better use in libraries and other public resources that have more real potential for education without killing childrens’ natural love to learn.

mattbrowne's avatar

Teach students the virtue of delayed gratification. Make people think long term, not short term.

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