Archive for September 20th, 2007

Sep 20 2007

Education Reform

If I could wave a magic wand over our educational system, I would make some serious changes.  I would do a better job of making sure parents, teachers, and kids are all on the same page starting at the core:  preschool.  Until you have preschool teachers and parents knowledgeable on what kids are learning in Kindergarten, at toddler time, you will always have children falling behind.  

Testing has changed as the curriculum has become more advanced.  It is my belief that if each school took the time to have a meeting every year with parents and kids to discuss the curriculum for that year and handed out a sample report card explaining exactly what information they will be tested on, parents and kids would step up to the plate and become more responsible for learning this information. 

It is silly to expect parents and kids to just “know” what kids will be tested on before the kids are tested on it.  For each school to share this information before they begin testing just makes sense.  It would help empower both parents and kids so they would understand just how advanced the curriculum has become.  It would allow parents and kids the opportunity to become more involved in their education.

Another way to keep the fun in school is to change the way we view instruction.  Children should want to go to school and learn.  In the age of computers and technology, classrooms need to move away from the instructor in the role of lecturer at the head of the class, with the attitude that children need to shut up and listen.  I hate to tell you this but not all teachers are great teachers.   Great teachers realize the importance of involving children in the day-to-day learning process and empowering them in a creative and revolutionary way to keep learning fun.  Teachers need to realize that memorization studies show that unless the information is presented in a fun and interesting format, after the test, the information is not successfully retained. 

I would like to bring prayer and the morning pledge of allegiance back into schools.  For those that don’t believe in prayer, both sides will learn acceptance and tolerance for someone else’s belief.  I would like to end the political division in education.  It seems unfair that I know my superintendent’s political belief and yet my child is not allowed to pray in school.  Why is it okay for him to practice his belief on school time and yet my child is not allowed to pray in school?  Where is the union for my child, protecting her belief?

Our public school in Wisconsin has a $10 million dollar budget, the exact salary as the Green Bay Packers pay their quarterback, Brett Farve.  I am a huge Brett Farve fan, but the priorities of our nation say he is more valuable than one entire school district. 

In that district, 85% of the budget or $8.5 million dollars goes for teacher’s salaries, pensions, retired employee’s and health benefits and the remaining 15% is for the kids, right.  WRONG.  Of that 15%, the district needs to pay for school busing, heating and cooling the school and maintaining the school to the tune of another $1 million dollars or so.  So what is really left for our kids?  Not much! Show me any other business that caters to the employees rather than the customer and I will show you a business that was forced to close its doors long ago.  And of course, if you say anything about this discrepancy you have every teacher union president in your face screaming.  Why?  We live in a democracy where we are even allowed to bash our president but heaven help us if we question our educational system.  Why is that?  Sadly, because we have allowed unions to become the heart of education.  They are dividing education into two sides at the expense of our children.  I say, enough is enough; it is time to bring both sides to the table and re-negotiate for the future of education with our children becoming the top priority. 

Copyright 2007, Stacey Kannenberg, Author of Let’s Get Ready For Kindergarten! and Let’s Get Ready For First Grade!

What are your thoughts on the state of education today?  Are you happy with your school and/or district?  Have any suggestions for reform?

14 responses so far