Every time GWBush adds to the subject of schools. a whole host of writing follows, which basically cover all the same ground. Public school quality, choice, NCLB, alternatives. As I’ve said before, states can create all the choices they want for students and families but none of these will solve a core problem: the spaces where people live. A student subject to a poor-quality school may be bussed to a wonderful school in the pristine woods, but where will that student study and apply their knowledge?
No, performance isn’t fundamentally a school issue.
What needs to occur is a national movement to improve neighborhoods and cities so that they form a supportive space for learning and creativity to happen.
1. Troubled neighborhoods should be incorporated as economic entities by cities or states.
2. Local leaders should organize, plan, and manage neighborhood improvement, hiring local talent and workforce, putting efforts right into the spaces where quality of life can be improved. House by house, those who live in the area should the designers and the builders.
3. Connecting these areas to the life of the region would happen naturally.
4. Schools, in this context, would attract teachers, parents, and would naturally improve because space would improve and children would be a part of the activity.
5. Economic output would increase. Regions would explode. People would have work.
Nothing will work until the people who live in neighborhoods are provided the opportunity to build things themselves, from the inside out.
If I were a mayor or a president, this is the kind of plan I would encourage.
Provide not the choice to move to another school. Provide the choice to change the very ground.
Neighborhoods can only change if the students it produces are successful.
And American students aren’t nearly as successful because schools don’t allow students to be disciplined and challenged. There is no motivation from the majority of teachers to encourage stdents to excel to their absolute best and form solid core principles.
Plus too many teachers put their ideology into their teaching or are forced to teach (or not teach) an ideology.
Kas’s educational experience in Germany boiled down to this rather blunt message from her teachers:
“You either decide to learn now or decide you are going to drive a bus for the rest of your life. But that is your decision.” According to Kas, it worked wonders for the vast majority of students in the country to be sure they did not fall behind.
With the proper motivation and challenging teaching one’s learing space ultimately will not be a factor in one’s academic success or failure.
Are today’s American students better educated than those learning in schoolhouses in rural 19th century America?
Today’s American students are not well educated at all. Not enough emphasis on the 3 R’s, not enough discipline and not enough responsibility taken by parents and students.
Improving neighborhoods is a good beginning, but it will only succeed if the residents themselves become invested in making it work. The same goes for urban schools.
Hartford Public High School is undergoing a $107 million dollar renovation. Now the new superintendent and the principal say the design is already obsolete, and it isn’t even finished yet. The renovations have been going on for 10 years and are now $45 million dollars over the original budget.
Until we subtract politicians from the equation and allow residents a say in things, nothing will change. see #2 of Steve’s suggestions
Okay, you could blame/make responsible and enable residents, local politicians, parents, students, teachers–whoever you want to blame/enable. But let’s make it easy for everybody and just blame Bush.
I’ve always felt that busing was a ridiculous attempt at a solution; granting just a select few an opportunity at rising above a background that they only had to return to at the end of the school day. And what about the others? As suggested, it’s the environment that has to change. Are the teachers responsible? No, but they can help. Are the parents and students? Yes, but they need to know how to better their chances by learning how to improve on what they have. Are the politicians responsible? Yes, for only they have the power to make those improvements. Is society? Yes, for they can understand and offer time and money from their own positions to extend their blessings to those areas that aren’t so lucky.
Pick any point on the circle/cycle and start there.