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Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent asks:
Q:

What kinds of changes need to be made with our country's educational system?

Which one is the most important of all? Why?
In Topics: Choosing a school
> 60 days ago

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CreativeRachna
CreativeRac... , Child Professional, Teacher writes:
I think Education is more important today than ever with children competing against each other for top stops in Universities and jobs.  In order for the United States to hold a high standing, we must have higher standards in education.  It is my personal opinion that we need to have better access to free education.  It's unfair that in some areas public school education is excellent, and in others sub-standard.  With No child left behind, our nation is starting a trend where every student must pass a certain standardized test before moving up a grade, but is this enough?  We need higher standards that define what may or may not pass and or after school academic programs which are free and mandatory for students who are falling below standard.  This is just one example, and I'm sure others can come up with a few more.  Great question and one which begins an excellent debate.
Rachna
> 60 days ago

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hlevitan
hlevitan , Teacher writes:
Loddie,

Thatâs a million dollar question.  Our country has been trying to improve its education system for years.  In 1983 The National Commission on Excellence in Education published âA Nation at Risk,â and it brought attention to the need of improving the American educational system.  In 2004 âNo Child Left Behindâ highlighted the need to improve education in America. The response to both of these policies has been to focus more on standardized testing and core subjects, mathematics and language arts.  "No Child Left Behind" and "The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act" have been beneficial in improving education for students with special needs.  

Our public school system is a microcosm of society, and there are inequities in society; therefore, our public school system unfortunately has disparities as well.  Real improvement starts from within.  Each school teacher needs to commit him or herself to provide all children an equal and beneficial education.  

This article provides information on how education has changed since âA Nation at Risk:â
http://www.education.com/magazine/article/a_nation_at_risk/

âObama on No Child Left Behind;â http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Obama_Child_Left_Behind/

Best,

Hayley
> 60 days ago

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Louiseasl
Louiseasl , Child Professional writes:
This is a great question and very thought provoking! I can list a few changes that I think should be made. Although, others may have a difference of opinion. I welcome the debate!

1. Equitability. ALL schools should be well maintained, safe for children in their structure and environment, and stocked with the same materials as other schools in the state. A school is a low income area should have the same access to materials, school development and experienced professionals as that in a school located in an area of higher economic status.

2. Mentor programs and After school Programs. Monies need to be spent on giving students an opportunity to succeed and also to be safe after school. Sometimes a student will ONLY come to school because of what happens after the last bell rings, such as sports, dance, after school clubs, etc. Mentor programs can help a child who needs an extra dose of adult attention to help with academics and emotional stability. Also, the longer a child is in a supervised environment that is rewarding and engaging the less likely they are to be elsewhere unsupervised and participating in illegal or unwise activities. This is a change that needs to be made in many of our nation's schools.

3. Embrace diversity. Schools need to be open to diversity. Diversity can be anything from the student with learning differences (such as deaf, learning disabled, autistic, Down Syndrome, etc.) to social, economic, religious or racial diversity. The more students learn about how others live the more peaceful we all can live. (Or one can only hope)

4. My first choice for change..invest in our children. Our children and their education are a sound investment. Lack of good financial and emotional support for our students and their schools will only lead to further increase in drop-outs, school violence and lack of prepared students. Our federal, state, local governments need to invest in schools, their staff and their students. Invest equally and without all the political rancor. Schools that are equipped with well trained teachers (including in the areas of technology, special education and best practices for classroom management), a healthy environment, good programs and an active PTO/PTA are all worth investing! To make a great educational system will cost money. A lot of money. In my opinion, worth every penny as the students of today are our future. We need to make sure that our educational system graduates students and that they are ready for the world. The real world. There is no reason why our educational system rates so low in international rating scales when our schools should excel. We can and we should.
> 60 days ago

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ginaa
ginaa , Teacher writes:
That's a great question. Although US schools have much to be proud of, there's no doubt that there is an urgent need for reform to bridge the growing achievement gaps. One issue that I think might produce some useful discussion is the case for national standards.

Educational standards that apply to all schools across the country make a lot of people very uncomfortable and for some very good reasons. But the fact remains that there is huge disparity between what is expected of seventh graders in Mississippi and those in Massachusetts. Would national standards help address the problem, and make all school systems accountable to a certain level of student success? I think it's worth talking more about.

Here are some links to articles I found interesting. Thought you might like to take a look.

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1891468,00.html
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2009/02/15/ST2009021502025.html
http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1891473,00.html
> 60 days ago

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Wayne Yankus
Wayne Yankus writes:
We have learned over the last century that there are "all kinds of minds" and children learn differently. A rigid system based on memory is not working.  Children are ready at different ages e.g. boys are often not ready for kindergaten at 5 but girls often are.  The same is true for middle school. Why do we equate the sexes in education? Graduation from high school should not be by grade but by readiness and mastery of a skill level.  Therefore: change start ages, starting sexes, graduation and advancement requirements by skill not grade.

Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics
former faculty: The Taft School
Watertown Connecticut
> 60 days ago

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Marjie
Marjie writes:
The best answer that comes to mind is teaching well-being and curiosity.

The argument for teaching well-being comes from the book, Celebrating Strengths: Building Strengths-based Schools by Jennifer M. Fox Eades (2008 CAPP).
In the intro to the book, Anthony Seldon comments:
" They need to do much more to develop in their children resilience, powers of self-restraint and the habits of optimistic thinking.  Allied to this new thinking has been a far more systematic approach to the teaching of mental and physical well-being, with schools realising that they shoulder a major responsibility for developing the wholeness in each child... many others in politics, as well as in education and the media, are still highly sceptical about whether 'well-being' can or should be taught to the young."

Then he asks the important question, "If it (well-being) is not taught at schools, and is not adequately covered at home, when will it be?"

An important part of well-being can be found in the new book Curious? by Todd Kashdan (2009 Harper Collins - William Morrow).

"When we remain hyperfocused on intelligence, we miss out on an important truism: The most intelligent people are not necessarily the best and brightest.  Curiosity predicts better grades and achievement test scores in school, and curiosity in the classroom is a better predictor of students' willingness to transfer knowledge into long-term interests and careers... We need to ask whether the goals of teaching children is for them to do well on tests and get into the best colleges or for them to be successful. If it is the latter, the cultural obsession with intelligence needs to be re-considered and curiosity needs to be brought to the forefront."

These books offer wonderful examples of positive ways for our schools to change for the better.

@MarjieKnudsen (twitter)
> 60 days ago

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LDSolutions
LDSolutions , Child Professional writes:
The actual layout and bureaucracy if each individual school would need to change.  We need to build the perfect school and then replicate it nationwide.  If I could create the perfect school where children would learn and achieve tremendous success it would look like this:

The class size would be 15-20 children.  There would be 2 credentialed teachers in each classroom.  These teachers must go through a vigorous teaching credentialing program with a training in special education and gifted children as well.  From 8:30 - 11:30 the children would work on reading and math in small groups.  This would include multisensory, hands on learning. At 11:30 the children go to lunch and then have a nice long break to socialize and play with the other kids.   Every afternoon at 12:30pm the children then go to their specialty classes taught by specialists.  So on Mondays and Wednesday afternoons they go to the science lab and learn hands-on science with a credentialed science teacher.  On Tuesdays they go to art and paint, draw and learn about the artists taught by a highly qualified art teacher.  On Thursdays they go to computer lab taught be a highly qualified computer science teacher. Here they can work on reports, projects, research, keyboarding, etc.   On Fridays they have music.  In music class they will learn how to play the piano, guitar and another instrument, besides singing and learning about music history.  And most important of all..... every afternoon they have PE from 2:45 - 3:30 - also taught by a PE specialist.  

We would create well rounded, happy children that can read, write and do mathematics.
> 60 days ago

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Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
Wow! I am very pleased and amazed at all the answers listed. It is very interesting to see where we all come from on "where to start". In addition, it is even more interesting on how all of the answers differed in so many ways. This tells me that our educational system needs reform more than ever.
Here are some things I agree with:
1. Lower teacher-student ratios. 1 teacher to 15 children is plenty. 1 teacher with an aide would be even better.

2. Intelligences. Here is where a lot of NCLB needs reform. While we are trying to raise the children with average intelligences and below above the bar, what are we doing to promote the gifted? Inclusion is also causing some areas of debate.

3. Curriculum: Is the national curriculum truly the best? I have seen many famous publishers with critical grammar and informative errors. This was of course after the publication hit the schools.

4. Testing: Is the pressure of testing and scores taking from the joy and productivity of learning? I would have to say "yes". While tests are a good measure of what is really going on with a child, I do believe it is over stressed and over used in our system.

5. Funding: Lots of problems in this arena..where should I start?

6. Socialism and Bullies: America faces a huge problem with the social ramifications of bullies and other problems that ultimately take away from some children's education and their self-esteem. What can we do to about this social problem?

Thanks for your answers!
> 60 days ago

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Naveen_K
Naveen_K , Teacher writes:
Well, I am from Pakistan but my job is such that I need to know about all the countries and need to be updated with the current happenings. I am a journalist and free lancer. I know for a fact that for any country whether developed or developing some factors are very necessary. These include, education, good career options , jobs and others. Education is a must factor and is the fuel for any growing economy.

Talking about USA i read an article that talked about the loop holes in the educational ranking of the system as there were some loop holes seen in the system. As the writer was upset with the ranking that was attach with the leading institutes as he believes that more weightage is given to private sector and thus they are the ones coming on top ranking.

For more information on educational systems read here:
> 60 days ago

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Vipin0108
Vipin0108 writes:
what i feel, the teacher practitioner should be given autonomy not only to plan their teaching-learning processes but also to take necessary remedial measures for  curriculum. The teacher and the head of the school must considered them as first learner of school. The education system must made their maximum efforts in reducing influence of external factors that create barriers for children to achieve their maxim potential.
> 60 days ago

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devhuti
devhuti writes:
vocational education needs to be make compulssory...from at lest 8th standard....
> 60 days ago

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MishMashI
MishMashI writes:
There are a lot of reasonable and contradicting variants here but I am not a professional to make the conclusion. However  one thing is evident that the modern system needs great changes. We try to find the best place to study for our children and at the end we are disillusioned. When it comes to enter the University we understand that it is even difficult for our kids to write an application essay (personally we searcher here for <a href="http://www.helponessay.com/">the help essay prompts</a> ) Their fight shouldn`t make education of our children more complicated as they need to feel safe.
> 60 days ago

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