| || |
Re: Education Reform
1. I’m making some pretty huge assumptions about spending waste based on my experiences with other businesses and agencies and where they waste money. For example, I worked at a company with <1000 employees, 17 of which were vice presidents of something. Obviously that isn’t wholly a bad thing, but it demonstrates a mindset of micro-segmentation that is likely unnecessary for such a small organization. (Many of them had less than 10 people in total reporting to or under them, while others had a couple hundred). Based on previous business consulting that I’ve done, after a quick paradigm adjustment focused on optimization, many organizations have 10-20 times the required staff they need to function, if they’re willing to automate repetitive data-related tasks (entry, extraction, report compiling, organization, etc).
Originally Posted by Tall Mike 2145
2. I think we can all agree that math, science, history, language and the arts are important to development, but I think we’d need some discussion on the purpose of school. That purpose can range anywhere from, ‘keeping the kids out of our hair’ to ‘preparing them for the workforce’ or ‘preparing them for college’. Depending on the goal, the strategies differ. I personally believe the purpose of primary and secondary education is to prepare most students for the pursuit of an undergraduate program at an accredited university. That mindset would leave me inclined to minimize vocational studies, minimize athletics (that are run by the school, I’m a huge fan of programs run by the communities or businesses) and to create a balanced approach to education curriculum that plays roughly equally to the left and right brained schools and minimizes stimulation to the reptilian brain. The key thing, in my opinion, is that we’re teaching critical thinking skills and logical analysis mixed with creative problem solving. Memorization of specific ‘testable’ material really isn’t the goal and I believe it to be a poor measurement system. I always did well on standardized tests, but that doesn’t by itself make me any more intelligent than someone who does poorly; it’s not even necessarily correlated. I would encourage music, art, foreign languages, English, etc.
a. Organization Structure – I’d divide it into two parts: On site and District – The teachers would be on site, at least part time (dependant on scheduling) throughout the day; there would always be at least two teachers in each school and at minimum one teacher or other qualified adult for every 10 students that are on site. Administration staff would be housed in a centralized location and would visit individual schools as needed.
b. I’d like to keep the teacher to student ratio as close to 10 as possible, I don’t have any idea what is most ideal for management of teachers, admin, etc. Typically I see breakdown in the business world when one supervises more than 25 direct reports.
c. For K-8 schools I would have approximately 5 schools per ‘region’ (defined by population demand) that would hold between 5-20 students each, with 2 grades per building and up to 10 students per grade. (ie. K in one, 1-2 in another, 3-4 in another, etc) This would necessitate 1-2 full time teachers on site, + a rotation of specialized teachers (science, etc) that could conceivably cover 5 or so different sites per day in a community. High schools would have 2 per ‘region’ that would hold between 15-60 students, with 2 grades per school and up to 30 students per grade. This would necessitate between 2 and 6 full time teachers per building. A region would be as small or large as necessary to utilize as much of the space as possible without breaking ratios. It might be a small neighborhood or an entire town, depending on population, etc.
d. An overhaul like this would invalidate existing programs and require new ones to be created that take into account the new system.
e. (repeated) The key thing, in my opinion, is that we’re teaching critical thinking skills and logical analysis mixed with creative problem solving. Memorization of specific ‘testable’ material really isn’t the goal and I believe it to be a poor measurement system. I always did well on standardized tests, but that doesn’t by itself make me any more intelligent than someone who does poorly; it’s not even necessarily correlated.
4. Balanced more towards the custom than cookie-cutter. Some material must be covered with all, but the goal is learning… we’re not creating machines.
5. Regions should be small enough that schools are easily within walking distance. I would encourage car-pool situations for those uncomfortable with their kids being outside and that kids walking to school band together. I have no objection to two parents with minivans driving 5-10 students to school and that doesn’t, in my opinion, interfere with education.
a. As for cost, if the total cost is net neutral or a savings for tax payers, we have no issues. If it is more, than I would suggest that communities and parents absorb some of the costs, with as minimal overall tax increases as possible. For example, the ratio’s are somewhat arbitrary, and if a school can save a lot of money for taxpayers by having a 12:1 ratio instead of 6 (assuming they save a building, a teacher and maintenance x however many years the school will be there), then by all means! The real goal is to enhance education and eliminate waste and things that interfere with quality.
I think you can tell that when I wrote last night I hadn’t fully gone over all of this yet, so now it’s very hypothetical in my mind and can evolve to situational standard fairly easily. Of course, I don’t think this is the answer, but I think it makes way more sense than what we do today.