Some said that while my Monday editorial critiques, it offers no substance — on reforming education. I’ll add some thoughts.
How about if we pay nursery school, kindergarten, 1st, 2d, 3d grade teachers (the early grades) what we pay college professors (and college professors get paid what nursery school teachers make)? Young children are virtual sponges. They learn and absorb the most in these early years. This is the time! This is where we need our best teachers. By the time children reach college, learning patterns are fixed. Will this happen? Should it happen? Probably not — but you get my drift.
Longer and more school days beginning with the grades referenced above. The U.S. averages 180 school days per year. That’s right down there with Portugal, Haiti and Bolivia. The average day is 6.5 hours. We can do better. We must do better.
Unions represent teachers – sure – but they must be spokesmen for students. The job is education. Become champions of education instead of the trumpets of discord. Blindly protect the worst teachers? Everyone loses. Strike for fewer work days and shorter hours? Give me a break. Work for the betterment of students? Everyone wins. And policy makers need to understand what it takes to be a good teacher.
Today anyone can become a teacher. Yet some teachers don’t have the ability to teach. Raise the bar on teacher certification.
Teachers deserve incentive pay and h.d.p. (hazardous duty pay) for working in tough schools. Great results deserve meritorious compensation.
Charter schools – yes. Magnet schools – yes. Vouchers – yes. Tutoring programs – yes. Require parental involvement (and educate parents while we’re at it) – yes. Keep our eye on the ball — the objective is to educate.
Hold students to higher levels of achievement. Let’s not “dumb down” expectations. Grades are important. You fail? You fail. Try again. . . . and again. And succeed. I’ve read that uniforms (or strict dress codes) improve student performance. Worth a try??
Teach computer literacy and typing early on. Best course I ever had in high school — typing.
Be creative. Be inspirational. Be learning-oriented. Target achievement. Develop a new mind-set. Educate. We can get there.