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What changes would you implement to change things in American schools?What changes...

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sd86 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 9, 2011 at 11:53 AM via web

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What changes would you implement to change things in American schools?

What changes would you implement to change things in American schools?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 9, 2011 at 12:53 PM (Answer #2)

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The main reform that I would implement would be to improve the ways in which teachers are evaluated.  This would take a lot of work, but it would be a very important step in improving our system.

As things are today, teacher evaluation is typically pretty haphazard.  A principal comes in and watches your class once or twice a year and writes some generic notes.  This evaluation has very little to do with anything, especially once you have tenure.

I would like to find a way to really evaluate how well teachers are teaching.  Good teachers should then get extra pay and not so good teachers should get help so that they could really know how to improve.

The school system today does not do enough to identify and reward good teachers or to help bad teachers improve.

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marypmc | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted March 9, 2011 at 8:19 PM (Answer #3)

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I would like to see a change in the ways schools deal with discipline and classroom behavior.  Teachers and administrators need to be more proactive in helping to create a school environment where students feel welcome, comfortable, and safe.  Building and maintaining strong relationships between kids and educators is essential for the best learning and teaching to take place.  School behavior is still largely viewed in terms of infractions and consequences, and not enough emphasis is placed on teaching and modeling healthy and respectful behavior. 

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted March 19, 2011 at 8:46 AM (Answer #4)

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Many educators see college as the next logical step after high school. Most of our school curriculum and policy is developed and implemented with this in mind. We need to do more to prepare students who are adamant about not going to college to be prepared for the real world. What of the kid who has his own logging business while he's in high school. He sits in school day in and day out knowing he could be making $200 a day logging. That's what he wants to do. How do we offer him real tools, while he's in school, that he will use when he leaves school?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 19, 2011 at 11:19 AM (Answer #5)

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One senator has recommended the abolition of the U. S. Department of Education as a means of saving money, among other things.  Ridding the states of the bureaucratic authority of this department seems a good move as few in this bureaucracy understand much about the real problems in education.  And, when the real problems are not admitted to the discussion, no solution can ever be attained.  The No Child Left Behind and the Disabilities Act as it applies to schools have both created financial and educational nightmares.  One school in Iowa went bankrupt because of a single student's parents' demand that he be allowed to come to public school. Since this one very,very disabled student cost the school system "$60,000 per year, the entire student body lost their school went the system went bankrupt.

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 29, 2011 at 3:36 AM (Answer #6)

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I would get rid of grades and stop pretending that high school (and all school) is an extended admissions process.  Teachers would have more time to write evaluative comments instead of grades.  Colleges would have to figure out their own way of finding out who they should let in.

I would change the way schools are built and they'd no longer be big blocks of classrooms.  You need to bring back all the shop classes, all the vocational classes, etc., and integrate them into the school so that they aren't stigmatized and everyone can take them if they are interested.

I would start high school later, no way should adolescents be in school at 7:30, they are worthless at that hour and everyone knows it yet we keep doing it because it is more convenient that way.

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literacyman | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 1, 2011 at 11:57 AM (Answer #7)

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Teachers get an F for Educational Outcomes, but it is Professors who deserve the F for "Unprofessional Education"

I would have us join together in a fraternity that would help us to get a very basic Professional Education beginning with the identification of the BEST Practices of Professional Teaching. Without this elementary step, we simply do not qualify as a Profession.  The World Wide Web now is filled with millions of pages of unsupported practices, and quirky Educational Reforms. We cannot minimize the practical difficulty in actually doing the right thing at the right time however it is evident that every certified teacher should have been educated and trained in the best scrutinized, and most results-based practices. Currently teachers are the only ones held "accountable," the vetting of Best Instructional Practices would shift accountability to professors, Schools of Education, State Departments,Self-Serving Foundations and other power brokers ...where it belongs. The way forward is simple, cheap and straight.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 27, 2011 at 8:44 AM (Answer #8)

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The biggest change we need to make is to change our approach to curriculum. We cover too much at too little depth. The result is that our students learn very little. We need to take a depth over breadth approach. We also focus to much on memorization and less on process. A focus on computational processes as opposed to memorizing steps in math, for example, is more productive.
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askteacherz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 27, 2011 at 1:07 PM (Answer #9)

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To make real change, change those that consider themselves "in charge" of education. For the most part administrators of education get to that point or position because they: found the classroom to be a place that they were not fulfilled (or were ineffective); were financially not gratified; chose to obtain an MA in Ed. admin because it was the fewest, fastest route to the degree; or they were never a classroom instructor, chose the profession and someone actually hired them. Yes, there are some exceptions to these generalizations BUT those exceptions are rare and few between. Here in lies the true problem without he educational system. These administrators get paid top dollar, are not qualified to evaluate a beginning teacher and even less qualified to evaluate a tenured teacher. Tenure as much as I hate to write it, saves quality educators from these administrators running the schools. You want to truly educate students and save money rid the schools of administrators, have a centralized staff to run the financial aspects of schools/districts and have teachers run the schools. Have other educators, students and parents evaluate the educators and have SERIOUS consequences for the students that destroy the classroom learning environment... Perhaps something like having the top 70% of the students activate qualify for public funded education beyond the 10th grade and all others pay for the remaining two years at an alternative school and/or trade school and earn their tuition or stipend back. This issue is immense but the group that is not to blame are the educators; they are in the battle each and every day and the vast majority are outstanding at what they do!

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