How to Improve Education

Improving education is a topic that is getting more and more chatter.  Recently it was announced that the state of Indiana will be involved in trying to improve science and math teacher training at several universities in Indiana.  First, I would like to say that I do not think education has a problem that needs to be fixed.  Labeling education as a problem is just wrong.  The United States of America is still a world leader.  Are there other world leaders?  Sure, and there should be so don’t be overly concerned that the EU or Far East is doing great things.  That just makes our world better and not something to fear.  Here is my opinion on how and what we need to do to improve:

Layer 1:  Parents-The breakdown of the American Family is causing us harm in the school systems.  Too many single parent families or even two parent families with parents working 12 hour days and farming child raising out to pre schools and day care centers.  Kids need to be with their parents as much as possible.  Period.  Then parents need to instill learned skills in their kids that will serve them well for the remainder of their life.  Things like hard work, nothing comes easy, pull yourself up by your bootstrap type mentality.  We need to break the cycle of “I deserve”children.  You don’t deserve anything in the educational world except for the opportunity to learn.  You don’t deserve a high mark in class…..you earn it.  Until this mentality starts to subside the USA will struggle to make significant gains in education.

Layer 2:  University Training-I dare to say that the people that are training teachers to teach are not the best. The system does need modified.  I have worked with many student teachers in my career and have one coming for second semester this year.  When I meet with university supervisors I often find out that the university supervisor has never taught in the high school classroom.  This is the same supervisor that will evaluate the student teacher.  Something seems wrong with that dont’ you think?  Also, too much emphasis is on content knowledge.  Teachers in training need some management help.  A possible solution would be to team up with university business schools and teach some HR (Human Resource) skills to teachers. 

Layer 3:  Administration and Teachers:  The teaching profession is an honorable profession.  I don’t know a single teacher that got into the business for “June, July, and August” mentality.  But I do know many teachers that are in the business that probably shouldn’t be.  This business is a people business.  If you can’t handle the people part of it I don’t care how good you are at your specific content knowledge you are not going to survive.  Administration and Teachers sometimes start looking at this job as just a job and it is not.  It is a little more than that.  We do influence.  We do guide.  We do direct.  We do impact lives.  Not all of them.  Maybe not even most of them.  But the ones we do impact can swing the pendulum back to success of the system.  And isn’t that what we are really trying to do?

Layer 4:  Students:  See layers 1,2,3.  If those are working then layer 4 improves.

Maybe a little deep for a day before Christmas Break but my thoughts have centered around this lately.  I would love to start a discussion about this and hear others opinions.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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