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Education Problem: Simple Non-Political Solutions to Fix Our Schools

Simple Solutions To Bring About Education Change In America

It goes unsaid that many Americans are concerns about what is going on in America’s schools in light of the teacher walk outs in Wisconsin, the reaction to Governor Walker’s education and pension proposals and the large percentage of tax dollars that it takes to manage this complex system.

Yes, the educational system is complex.  Each school district in the country has it’s own teachers, administration and school board members.  Each state has its own State Board of Educators, Department of Education and Legislators over-seeing  a budget.  At the federal level, we have  The Department of Education, congressional education committees and our three branches of government; legislative branch (the House and Senate) , executive branch (President). One does not need to become political guru to realize that this system includes a lot of people who have to work together to make things work.

End the Agricultural Education Schedule

Most parents and educators do not realize that many schools continue to adopt the same calendar schedule based on our farm/agricultural system.  The original school calendar, set up over one hundred years ago,  allowed children to be out of school during the summer months to help their parents with farm chores.  In 2004, an estimated 1.26 million children and adolescents under 20 years of age resided on farms, with about 699,000 of these youth performing work on the farms. In addition to the youth who live on farms, an additional 337,000 children and adolescents were hired to work on U.S. farms.  Given the fact that less than one million school aged children (out of approximately 70 million) now work on farms in the in the United States, why do we shut down our schools during most of June, July and August?

Solution: Keep kids and teachers in the classroom.  Stop sending home the teachers, laying them off June, July and August.  Fund the schools keeping the doors open after school for those students not meeting standards. Consider year-round education as a solution.

Allow Each State To Manage It’s Own Education System

Assuming that each state has it’s own educational needs that vary (sometimes drastically) from other states, why do we have a federally controlled system of education where all states, school districts and schools have to, by federal mandate (in order to receive federal dollars), have to abide by using the same system.  Why now allow each state, that already has it’s own system in place to manage the educational systems locally?  Each state can individually assess local socio-economics, local problems and needs, local budget and accountability similar to structure set up in our own homes.

Questions: Are We Over-Testing Our Students ? Is Testing Our Students Becoming Counter Productive?

Do you have some time?  Check out the Minnesota Department of Education website.  You will see on their accountability and  test assessment page that Minnesota students are expected to take some or all of these assessments. The tests include the: MCA, ELL, Explore and PLAN, GRAD, Alternative Assessments, BST and possibly NAEP. Not every student will have to take each test every year, but the logistical challenges that school are facing, not to mention the number of days per school year required to take these tests, leads one to ask, “Who much time is taken away from basic instruction and learning in order to meet the requirments of these test?”  The Minnesota website also explains the following: FAQ for: MCA I, II, III. Science Assessments, and Sample Assessment.

Has anybody stopped to ask how many hours these students spend each year taking these required federal and state  accountability test?  Add these test on to the weekly teacher generated tests, special education assessments, college entrance exams and all the sub-tests that our educators provide…Are we over testing?  And, what are the cost…not just for time away from learning, but taxpayers dollars?   I am going to let you find the answers to these questions? I promise, you will be astonish!

Remember, this article is non-political.   Time for you to do your homework and get involved, become aware of what you can do as a parent and help change our out-of-date education system.

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