Friday, September 01, 2006

Education and Sex

Education and sex... Darren over at Right on the Left Coast posts Strip Club Raises Money for Las Vegas School District. As I posted in his comments section, why can't my kid's schools have fund raisers like this. I have to sell lousy candy bars instead.


6 Common Sense Solutions for Schools

Ok, I am off work today, but up early with the baby. So to continue my blogging spree, I thought I would propose my recommended solutions for improving the education system.

1. Extend the school day. Parents get off work at 5 pm, kids get off at 2:30.... It doesn't take a genius to see the problems here. Sure all those dodgy after school programs would take a financial hit, but maybe then our schools could include a real physical education program and stop fobbing the teaching job off on us parents with all that inane homework.

2. Concentrate on the basics in elementary school. What do you think is more important in today's average workplace... knowing who the 3rd President of the United States is or being able to read and comprehend company policy or an operator’s manual?

3. Adopt modern technology such as PowerSchool. I am always shocked about how unorganized schools are when I visit the teachers and administrators. Imagine, I could see my children's grades in real time and the school could eliminate several tons of paper. Good for me and the environment.

4. One word... Direct Instruction... Ok that's two words, but I would of known that if my school had used D.I. when I was in grade school.

5. School Uniforms. Eliminate the visible difference between the haves and the have-nots and reduce my annual kids clothing budget. Besides, kids look so damn cute in them.

6. Stop the damn school fund raisers. No one wants to buy cheap items at exorbitant prices. If I want a candy bar, I will go to the corner store and buy one. If you need more money, raise my taxes or better yet become more efficient. Don't even start me on what I could do, if you gave me 30 kids and $300,000 a year.

7. Single sex education. Boys and girls are different! I figured it out when my son picked up my daughters Barbie doll and turned it into a machine gun. Integrate them in elective classes, but keep them separated for the important stuff.

Notes: Yes I know I could find most of this at a good catholic school, but I have five kids and work on a government salary. You do the math.

Disclaimer: These opinions are the authors and do not reflect those of the mother of his kids. She strongly disagrees with the single sex education thing.

Update #1: Yes I know the title says 6 solutions and I posted 7... see item #4. And I am too damn stubborn to change it now.

Update #2: There is a good chance that if you post a decent logical rebuttal to any one of my proposed solutions that I will ignore it even if you are right. Educrats ignore valid evidence based studies every day, why should I be any different.

More Homework

Joanne Jacobs comments on the same homework article that I posted about the other day. While I normally agree with Joanne's views on education, on this subject I have to disagree. She mentions the highly successful KIPP Academies as an example of successful schools that assign lots of homework, but it is unrealistic to expect that level of commitment from the public education system at large. There does have to be a balance between family time, play, and education. I still believe that the best solution is to implement more effective teaching methods in the 8 hours that the school systems have with our children already.

My Motives...

I suppose it’s time for me to explain a little bit more about myself, and why as a non-educator I am so interested in education. I am a MSgt in the USAF and spent most of my career living in Europe (The Netherlands, England, German, Italy, and Belgium). Two of kids started out in Department of Defense schools, which were all in all excellent. Because of the tight knit overseas military community, the parents and the teachers had a great working relationship. I was literally floored when I was reassigned to the United States and saw the state of the school system, especially here in South Carolina. Because by nature I am inquisitive, I began to research the subject of education. The more I dug, the more shocked I became. I always knew intuitively that somehow my kids were being shortchanged, but it wasn’t until I began exploring the edublogosphere that I realized just how truly screwed up things were. Sure I am confident that my kids will succeed despite the system, but I think that not only my kids but the children of our nation deserve better. I truly believe that education is the solution to 90% of what ails this country. Why is it my German friend's 9 year olds spoke passable English and was learning basic algebra while my 5th grader was figuring out how to find out what 7 x 9 is on her fingers? Children are capable of learning, but it requires effort, time, and proven methods.