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Higher teacher salaries.
This might not be the most popular idea on here but I'm putting my 2 cents in since they asked.
I would put most of the $100 billion dollars into bringing the salaries of teachers WAY UP to where they should be for professionals with Bachelors, Masters, and even Phd's.
When I see police officers and fire fighters that do not have degrees making WAY MORE than teachers, it really disturbs me.
And yes, I understand that those TRADES or VOCATIONS, put those persons employed in those jobs in harms way.
When a 6 month police academy graduate with an associates degree can make $70,000 per year (San Jose, CA) to start and a new teacher with a Bachelors degree is only making $40,000, there is something wrong with this country.
And I have to take exception when a teacher has 25 plus or minus students in every class for 7 hours a day, and is actually contributing to the development of people who will be producing goods and services, versus police and firefighters who respond to problems after the fact....
I'm sure I will get a lot of flack for saying that, but I have far more respect for teachers and feel they are WAY UNDERPAID.
And while I'm at it, we need to reduce the size of the school district administrations and staffs and salaries for those non-instructional bureaucrats.
Superintendents making $150,000 a year ?
That's 3 teachers salaries !
Remember people, freedom of speech is a right and I just expressed mine.
Obviously kids deserve schools that are not crumbling, and enough teachers and materials to go around. But with billions to spend on education right now, we could fix those problems and still be having the wrong discussion about how to spend the balance.
We're talking about making schools more equal, through intrusive accountability regimes, when in fact those very measures are disadvantaging all students because they don't start by asking "What are schools for?" Or else their implied answer to that question, crafted by the Business Roundtable, is "making more competitive workers for the global marketplace." This is much too narrow.
Shouldn't schools be about growing kids into their optimum potential as individuals in a rounded way that encourages not just left-brain development and test-taking skills? Shouldn't we be encouraging things like creativity, problem-solving, taking initiative, a healthy balance between mind and body, an understanding and appreciation of nature, and most of all the ability to pull learning from life? At The Orion Society, a non-profit working for cultural change, we're pushing for what we call Whole-Child Education. To see a PowerPoint on what this means go to:
and after choosing the Whole Child option, scroll to the bottom.
Teacher training -- research shows time and again that a great teacher results in greater student achievement. Teacher recruitment, early childhood education, special education -- these are all important, but these will only work if the quality of teaching is high.
Many international museums and cultural web sites have been developed possessing an educational component. The sites possess many attributes that adhere to learning standards, are interactive, fun, ...and educational, but teachers don't know how to find them or how to integrate them into their curricula. Teachers need to be taught and assisted. The infrastructure has to be in place, connectivity to the web, computers, and NOT filtering out so many of the great sites. Online texts permit links to other sites, videos, audio that make a subject come alive, unlike expensive, heavy, "old" textbooks. A site may be an art museum, but the content may be used of other subjects...YES, creativity of using this powerful tool makes the Internet even richer. Please take a look at my blog, I have sited sites that are truly noteworthy. Have a question, comment, suggestion or other sites please contact me. Let's teach the teachers....Inquire, Inspire, Educate!
In Charlotte NC over 600 teachers have been let go...over 1300 total staff are out. Field trips are gone. We've been warned supplies will be short and copies will be severely limited. Budget cuts have been brutal and with only a couple weeks before school starts, there is a threat of more teacher and instructional assistants who may lose jobs. If I had the money, I'd hire teachers and instructional assistants back to provide the help our students so desperately need.
All research pretty much shows that smaller class sizes are what makes the biggest impact on students being successful at all grade levels...so I vote for more teacher recruitment for smaller class sizes of 20-22 students at all grade levels in self contained classrooms as well as in subject area classes through high school.
At least some of that money should go toward improving the educational opportunities for the extra-fast learners, sometimes called the "gifted."
These students constitute a significant national resource.
Too often these days they are bored with the tedium of the present slow teaching (which is mandated by the No-Child-Left-Behind initiative) and become drop-outs or disruptive in class.
I would love to see some of it spent to give teachers planning and collaboration time. I know that when I can find the time to plan well thought out problem/project based learning units my students really respond. In my urban district I gets lots of training on very useful skills and strategies but am rarely given a chance to work with my teaching partners to embed those into the curriculum. In many countries (that we are often compared to in a negative light) teachers have far fewer student contact hours and far more hours for planning for instruction.
I would spend the money on renovating inner city schools and other schools that don't have a large tax base to provide a quality eduation. We need to make all of our schools as equal as possible regarding materials, physical plant, supplies, and raising teacher salaries to attract better teachers in these schools. We need to stop blaming teachers for everything that's wrong with education today(NCLB!), and concentrate on the real problem in our schools and in our society--poverty and inequality. I hear so many people say that "throwing more money into education won't solve our problems," and my response to that is, "Oh really? Let's test that theory. Let education switch budgets with the military for awhile and see what happens."