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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  
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    Default Education Reform

    In an attempt to resolve the following issues:

    1. School Overcrowding
    - Detrimental to the student's ability to learn
    - Detrimental to the student's safety
    - Detrimental to keeping costs down
    2. Student Mob Mentality
    - Detrimental to the student's ability to learn
    - Detrimental to the student's safety
    3. Vulnerability to Violence (mass shootings, predators, traffic (busing)
    - Detrimental to the student's safety
    4. Student Anonymity
    - Detrimental to the student's ability to learn
    - Detrimental to the student's safety
    - Detrimental to keeping costs down
    5. Wasteful Administration Costs in Giant 'School' Complexes
    - Detrimental to keeping costs down
    6. Subconscious/Psychological Damage from 'Learning' in 'Secure' Buildings
    - Detrimental to the student's ability to learn
    - Detrimental to the student's safety
    - Detrimental to keeping costs down

    I consider the following solution:
    1. Eliminate giant complex schools in favor of small neighborhood style schools that hold a maximum of 10 students per grade, each for grades K-8 and 30 students each for grades 9-12. Each building would hold only two grades.
    - Specialized teachers can travel between these schools throughout the day in addition to a primary teacher who's lower student:teacher ratio provide a more specialized and personal learning experience.
    - Having a drastically lower number of students per school reduces the peer pressure to conform to unacceptable social behaviors and produces more accountability and thus responsibility for individual choices.
    2. Eliminate non-educational programs that are currently a sinkhole for school funds without providing any knowledge or wisdom to the students.
    - This helps pay for the extra teachers required for part 1.
    3. Eliminate bulk 'administration' expenses that are currently a sinkhole for school funds without providing any knowledge or wisdom to the students.
    - This helps pay for the extra teachers required for part 1.
    4. Eliminate metal detectors, security guards, etc that do very little to provide security or effective protection to students and instead provide security through an internal culture of responsibility and mitigation of casualties from 'mass killers' by decentralizing the location of potential victims.
    - School staff, neighborhood police and citizens can provide a lookout for strangers and ne'er-do-wells.
    - Students will learn better in an environment where they are not afraid and where they are not treated like criminals.


    Not 100% sure this all makes sense or not - honestly it's a 5 AM recording of an idea that happened while drinking at 1 AM, so ... would love to hear other ideas that cut costs, increase productivity of learning and provide a safer environment for the children.
  2. #2  

    Default Re: Education Reform

    I think this is worth a try. The teachers unions will probably hunt you down using SEIU workers so be carefull, has my support though.
  3. #3  

    Default Re: Education Reform

    Fewer students per class = more teachers and more classrooms required = larger operational budget

    So... who gets to pay for that?
  4. Thread Author  Thread Author    #4  
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    Default Re: Education Reform

    Quote Originally Posted by Tall Mike 2145 View Post
    Fewer students per class = more teachers and more classrooms required = larger operational budget

    So... who gets to pay for that?
    The cost savings from non-educational programs and administration waste cover the majority of it if not all of the difference. The current student to teacher ratio isn't causing our educational system to run vastly under budget now, it's a way to attempt to save money because they waste so much on non-essential things. If we focus on education and eliminate everything that's not conducive to that goal, my guess is that most of what we spend would be unnecessary. Eliminating the need to bus students by it's self lowers costs (fuel, drivers, insurance, buying or renting buses, maintaining buses, etc), increases safety and reduces distraction and stress in students, thereby allowing them a more productive learning environment.
  5. #5  

    Default Re: Education Reform

    Ok, so here's some quick follow-up thoughts and questions.

    First off, how do you know what the specific budgetary costs are that are associated with every operational aspect of the education system? Can you specifically enumerate them? (And yes, this includes such things as the cost of liquid bulk soap for janitors to clean floors, etc.)

    Secondly, on what basis do you determine what specific class is educational or educationally-beneficial, and which are not? Eliminating, for example, Underwater Basketweaving would be a reasonably obvious choice; but what about foreign language studies, or art, or band? What about shop class? (That assumes they even *have* shop class where you live; where I live, they've been eliminated long ago.)

    What exact organization structure do you think should exist? What size is your ideal management span of authority? How many sections of each grade level should exist per school, K-8? Or do you think subjects should be taught on a subject-by-subject basis? How do you plan on dealing with No Child Left Behind, Race To The Top, and all the various state initiatives? What about standardized testing, like for example Florida's FCAT?

    Where do you sit on the spectrum of "completely custom class" curriculum and "completely cookie-cutter class" curriculum?

    If you eliminate bussing, do you seriously expect parents to pick up the difference by driving their kids to school? How many neighborhood schools do you think the tax payers will support building? What about the existing facilities?

    Please understand, I'm not disagreeing that our education system is utterly fuster-clucked, nor am I disagreeing that it needs to be re-thought, nor am I disagreeing that we're destroying people's potential by forcing them to go through this highly-politicized, completely screwed up system. If anything, I'm sitting here playing devil's advocate.

    And, for the record, I like what you're doing here. I like the mental exercise and it is something we need to talk about. The first step in getting better is to admit you have a problem, and one of our biggest problems in this country is trying to deny we have a problem, or trying to put the blame always on someone else. And speaking of screwed up and all that jazz, have you been following the news lately with the Atlanta public school system superintendent and a bunch of others who are in (or were) jail and are going through a court process for fraud, etc.?

    I can't imagine what people in other countries would think if they knew what we were doing here, and I mean truly knew the score in the present American school system.

    But let's keep this up. The more we talk about it, the better and stronger we can make this. I, personally, love many of your ideas and would cheer at their implementation.

    EDIT: And, for those who don't know...
  6. Thread Author  Thread Author    #6  
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    Default Re: Education Reform

    Quote Originally Posted by Tall Mike 2145 View Post
    Ok, so here's some quick follow-up thoughts and questions.

    First off, how do you know what the specific budgetary costs are that are associated with every operational aspect of the education system? Can you specifically enumerate them? (And yes, this includes such things as the cost of liquid bulk soap for janitors to clean floors, etc.)

    Secondly, on what basis do you determine what specific class is educational or educationally-beneficial, and which are not? Eliminating, for example, Underwater Basketweaving would be a reasonably obvious choice; but what about foreign language studies, or art, or band? What about shop class? (That assumes they even *have* shop class where you live; where I live, they've been eliminated long ago.)

    What exact organization structure do you think should exist? What size is your ideal management span of authority? How many sections of each grade level should exist per school, K-8? Or do you think subjects should be taught on a subject-by-subject basis? How do you plan on dealing with No Child Left Behind, Race To The Top, and all the various state initiatives? What about standardized testing, like for example Florida's FCAT?

    Where do you sit on the spectrum of "completely custom class" curriculum and "completely cookie-cutter class" curriculum?

    If you eliminate bussing, do you seriously expect parents to pick up the difference by driving their kids to school? How many neighborhood schools do you think the tax payers will support building? What about the existing facilities?

    Please understand, I'm not disagreeing that our education system is utterly fuster-clucked, nor am I disagreeing that it needs to be re-thought, nor am I disagreeing that we're destroying people's potential by forcing them to go through this highly-politicized, completely screwed up system. If anything, I'm sitting here playing devil's advocate.

    And, for the record, I like what you're doing here. I like the mental exercise and it is something we need to talk about. The first step in getting better is to admit you have a problem, and one of our biggest problems in this country is trying to deny we have a problem, or trying to put the blame always on someone else. And speaking of screwed up and all that jazz, have you been following the news lately with the Atlanta public school system superintendent and a bunch of others who are in (or were) jail and are going through a court process for fraud, etc.?

    I can't imagine what people in other countries would think if they knew what we were doing here, and I mean truly knew the score in the present American school system.

    But let's keep this up. The more we talk about it, the better and stronger we can make this. I, personally, love many of your ideas and would cheer at their implementation.

    EDIT: And, for those who don't know...
    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).

    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.

    3. Multipart
    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.
    geekymcfly likes this.
  7. #7  

    Default Re: Education Reform

    They should separate the smart from the dumb and distracting. In my school, its such a problem that we are extremely behind in every class

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