Improving Public Education--Road Map
First, I would like to say that with few exceptions, the problem with public
education is NOT, repeat NOT, the teachers. They do a wonderful job in spite of
little or no help (often) and even counter-productive efforts from parents,
politicians, Boards of Education, lawyers and judges, etc., etc. (Seems since
everyone has either attended a public school or at least has driven by one, they
are "experts" and know what needs to be done.) Guess I too am an "expert", so I
say give teachers support and stay out of the way so they can do their job.
Students should be told repeadedly early on that it is THEIR
responsibility to learn, study ,and work hard--even if they do not like the
teacher. By blaming everyone and everything else, we seem to have let the
students off the hook --they must be held accountable (maybe more so than
teachers and parents).
I have sent the attached "Road Map" (or similar letter) for improving
public education to the Georgia State Department of Education (got a call saying
they would consider it.) Also sent to Federal Department of Education (no
response). With all the "Grant Money" surely if this proposal has any merit,
money could be found to make it happen. It would not be easy to implement, but
once implemented the results would put our public education on a par (or above)
any country in the world.
On the other hand, I fear, if it were in place now, more teaching positions
would be cut.
Once developed, it could be copyrighted to recoup some of the investment by
selling to other school systems in other states (or home schoolers). Or if they
succeed, make them available free--result would be better educated students.
((Another subject for another time, "what will public education be like
in 50 years. For example, maybe 90% of classes in college and public education
at all grade levels will be taught on-line, so no school buses, no physical
school buildings, or college campuses, few teahcers--what a savings in money,
but what a loss in quality of life-experiences. No paper-textbooks just
e-books. Etc. etc.))
((I taught school 3 years and am married to retired Elementary teacher.))
EDUCATION ROAD MAP
Here is a "road map" to making the US public schools equal to or better than
any in the world and can be accomplished in as little as 12-15 years. While I
could make recommendations for the necessary policy determinations, that policy
must be made by educators, businesses, parents, colleges, technical schools,
etc. You are in a position to accomplish this road map and then make it
available to all states--what an impact on education you could have. Done
properly, this could ensure the US schools are on a par with or ahead of the
rest of the world.
1. POLICY DETERMINATION: First, obtain a consensus of what every high school
graduate should know, college prep for future scientists/engineers, other
college prep, and general. Develop a comprehensive list of
subjects/concepts/etc., needed to graduate from high school. Recommend ensuring
concepts/theories/knowledge/etc. tested on the CRCT, No Child Left Behind, high
school graduation tests, SAT (and other college entrance tests), etc., are
taught. Some may think this is “teaching the tests”, but if it is worth
testing, it is worth teaching. NOTE: A very open-minded, long range discussion
needs to be pursued concerning the impact of computers/internet on what is
taught—for example, should we assume that in a few years every student will have
a hand-held computer in the classroom to enhance learning—making it unnecessary
to memorize many things but instead concentrate on how to find the information,
thinking, analyzing, solving problems etc. .
2. POLICY DETERMINATION: Develop an overall ROADMAP of what is to be taught
in each grade level.
3. Develop DAILY TEACHING LESSONS (DTL) for teachers (being sure everything
required (in #1 above) is taught somewhere). The DTLs should include any
requirements, such as objectives, etc.
4. Request manufacturers develop textbooks in the “Daily Teaching Lesson
(DTL)” format (and include the required objectives, etc.,) in the textbook. If
no company wants to do this, you could develop the DTLs. Once the DTLs are
developed, put them together to make the textbook (might need to
copyright). Organizing textbooks by Chapters seems to be practically
meaningless—organizing by DTLs makes sense.
5. Have some of the best teachers present each lesson, record on film, and
make available on the internet. All classroom teachers could use the DTLs as a
resource to prepare their lessons, and students could review the lesson on the
internet. This would be especially helpful when a student is absent. The
lessons would be numbered, for example,
#12-MA-AL2-76 would be 12th year Math-Algebra 2 lesson #76. Classwork and
homework exercises could also be included in the DTL. There could be teacher's
edition (password protected) including several tests.
6. POLICY DETERMINATION: Determine how long each instruction period should be
(e.g. 30 minute attention span) and how much for working on homework. Suggest
limiting homework per course to 20 minutes (times 6 classes equals about 2 hours
homework per night). Any more than that may be too much homework.
7. POLICY DETERMINATION: Determine how many Daily Teaching Lessons are needed
for each grade level and subject. For example, there are 180 school days per
year, but some are devoted to Standardized tests, weekly/semester exams/snow
days/etc. Consequently maybe only 160 DTLs would need to be developed for each
subject for each grade. So in four years of math, there would be between 640
and 720 classroom hours (if 60 minutes is devoted to each daily class—probably
more like 50 minutes.)
8. Recommend nationwide use of the same textbooks with accompanying
coordinated Daily Teaching Lessons with internet availability. Americans are so
mobile that standardization makes sense.
9. After completing this coordinated system of textbooks, Daily Teaching
Lessons, internet access, etc., for high school, do the same for Middle School
and then Elementary School (or the DTLs could be developed from lower to higher
10. POLICY DETERMINATION: Determine what high school graduates should be
expected to know in enhancement areas and develop internet teaching lessons for
the students to explore on their own, or, time permitting, at the end of the
semester. For example, lessons on life-skills such as, developing a budget,
investing money in the stock market, finding an apartment, buying a house (here
Realtors could be used to teach a DTL on the internet), how to write resumes,
how to prepare for a job interview (use actual employers), preparing for the
SAT, buying insurance, paying taxes, balancing a check book, getting a passport,
formal dining, automobile knowledge/repair, driving safely, traveling through an
airport, computer courses, etc. For enhancement, maybe allow 5 lessons on
classical music (I was in college before I accidentally found out the “William
Tell Overture” was not titled the “Lone Ranger Theme Song.”), 5 lessons on
astronomy, geology, the artistic works of the great Masters, chemistry, physics,
practical speaking Spanish, etc.
11. POLICY DETERMINATION: Allow 5 or 10 (or more) lessons for local school
system emphasis, new material, catch-up, enhancement, etc.
12. Put emphasis on careers in math and sciences. For example, few if any
movies or television programs are made about these critical careers. There are
many movies or programs about lawyers, doctors, even teachers--but few
("Numbers" is only one I can remember) about math and science. Also, coordinate
with businesses and ensure scholarships are available and "guaranteed" jobs
after college--recommend increasing the "co-op" type programs for these
students. Many students who could be excellent in math or science have no
direction or guidance and obtain a degree with little or no job
prospects. Encourage businesses and colleges to work together to ensure jobs
are there upon graduation for every graduate—colleges should only have degree
programs that have a realistic possibility of employment upon graduation.
These recommendations when taken together and completely coordinated could have
a great, positive effect on the learning level of students and would provide
valuable resources to teachers and students. Once the Daily Teaching Lessons
are developed and on the internet, there would be little need to change them for
a number of years, thus making this approach very cost effective in the long
Please contact me if you have any questions.