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Name the top 5 things you would do to improve public education
Education

accipiter
Mar 30, 2011
11 votes
15 debaters
6
1
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10
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accipiter
Mar 30, 2011
3 convinced
Rebuttal
Making public education a true priority is a very scary prospect for those in power. This is not a lame conspiracy theory.
Making it a true priority would require that a number of societal issues be addressed and the costs would be astronomical. The benefits would also be astronomical. You would be unleashing the creative potential of every child in society. You would breed a generation of real free thinkers who would never allow the return to a system so broken as to stifle honest creativity. On that note you would also be unleashing a new generation of people who would not blindly follow silly rules. This would be a very scary prospect for those in power.
My list:
1. Promote teaching professionals to a level in society where it is so sought after as a profession that the best and the brightest would see the value of the work and really inspire those they are teaching.
2. Provide all of the resources needed to make the teaching of the young minds not only possible but a probable outcome of the endeavor. This would include a proper physical education program as well as the free playtime needed for the students explore their own imaginations.
3. The societal concerns such as hunger and crushing poverty would have to be addressed so the students’ minds would be free to learn instead of worrying about when they would be able to eat again.
4. There would be a matter a mandatory class in philosophy and free thinking. Where public debate is not only tolerated but encouraged. Who knows what new ideas would emerge?
5. Allow for the proper integration, with proper support of those students who do not easily fit and are generally disruptive to the process of education. Not being in the profession, I do not know what that would be but given the number of professions dealing with exactly this topic I am sure there are a number of ideas out there that have never been fully explored.


 
skiingfool435
Mar 31, 2011
1 convinced
Rebuttal
In no particular order:

1. Abolish teachers' unions
2. Decrease funding for non-academic uses (shifting it to the academic)
3. Make school year round (still with vacations, but having a longer school year with shorter interval vacations)
4. Increase teacher pay commensurate with the increase in school days taught.
5. Establish intensive school for problem children designed to separate the student from the general population and the student from his problem environment. This school would be ''inclusive'' bordering on a boarding school--might be thought of as similar to the KIPP program--and we'd have one in each major metropolitan area for the entire surrounding area. These students would face strict intervention and regime change.

 
accipiter
Mar 31, 2011
1 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: processing Show

Thanks for the invite but if its all the same to you I would prefer to keep this on in the public so we can get more feedback

 
accipiter
Mar 31, 2011
1 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: processing Show

Your premise that taxes have to be raised in order to make education a priority really does presuppose that the governments are operating at maximum efficiency. That the efficiency of transferring money from one department to the next is a direct cut in services. I am not sure how many people believe that is the case for the government but I am not one.
The type of changes of which I am speaking require a major modification to the way in which education is pursued. It will be set up so that there real free thinkers coming through the system. Although this is not something that will be of any interest to the military or major corporations or anyone else looking for drones, I believe it will be a time of great change and evolution. How exciting would it be to be alive during a great renaissance if this were to happen.
The possibilites that many fresh minds would be amazing.

 
christine
Mar 31, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
all of this stuff would be perfect. great info accipiter

 
undecided
Mar 31, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
In my opinon-as a student in America-I would MUCH rather pursuing my own interests in high school as opposed to college. My grades at the moment are suffering because I don't have much choice in classes due to Country graduation requirements and program requirements. In fact, elimination of summer break would let me stay in school for less time(overall) and give me more time to pursure and understand the topics of my interest; medicine, law, philopshy, politics, neurology.


 
undecided
Mar 31, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
The 5 things i'd do would be
Cut most of our breaks to allow students less time in school
Schedule learning to coincide with cognitive growth, high level concepts taught when older as brain is more developed
Schedule school day to allow tests and such in certain times of the day and learning in other times
Allow Wikipedia to be a recognized source, allow government to lend a hand in maintaining articles and keeping them up to expectations
More options class wise, I understand this is not always possible budget wise but we could use outside programs like Wiki to cut costs of books, equipment, and such. Long term benefits would outweight costs.

 
enzod1022
Apr 01, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: debbydebates Show

Um, have you had your head in the ground for the past twenty years? Teacher's unions are in fact a cancerous plague in our school system. The only people that would challenge that are teachers and maybe some other public sector union members. The only argument that teachers unions have when they are presented with a union-busting threat is that by breaking the union, you're hurting the children. This is nonsense. Since they have no logistical reason as to why they should still be around, they play on people's emotions. In reality, the children will be better off.

 
skiingfool435
Apr 01, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: debbydebates Show

Teachers' unions are a big problem. They obscure the myriad problems, focusing attention on teachers, when sometimes attention should be focused on other details. The union aspect focuses on retaining union jobs no matter the cost--this mindset has severely hamstrung reform movements in one of the nation's worst school districts, Washington DC. Teachers have no need for a union, or at least the good ones don't, and would do better to operate in a more traditional employer employee relationship. I could regale you with many stories of the teachers' union's iniquities, but let's let one suffice: a Chicago school district currently does not have funding for full day schooling. Deplorable, yes, but the reason for this dearth is the union. To wit, the average teacher in this district makes $83,000 each year (2005). A full 25% of these teachers make over $100,000. The teachers make this salary in return for working a 5.5 hour work day. Again, this is not for lack of funding. In 2005, Chicago spent $10,500 per student (20% above the 2005 National average). Nor are the teachers, acting behind the veil, completely innocent. In a negotiation between the city and the union, the union president agreed to a 15 minute increase in the school day in exchange for a seven day reduction in the school year (net 5 additional teaching hours per year) in exchange for significant pay increases. This union president was ousted in the next union election.

I suppose number five is somewhat in jest, as I realize the political infeasibility, but why don't you go ahead and read about the KIPP program before you label it a ''concentration'' camp. We need an intervention for youths in desperate circumstances. This solution may not be perfect, but it is certainly better than the alternative.

 
skiingfool435
Apr 02, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: accipiter Show

Look up the Thornton Township District. And in my OP I targeted a few different issues and the way I think we should solve them. I followed up with a critique on the unions in response to debbydebates' query. Are unions maybe an 'easy' target? I suppose, but this doesn't mean that there aren't very legitimate critiques of the unions. I think that by removing that element of the equation we can focus on the true goal--education. Education doesn't exist for the educators.

I think the reality is that we aren't going to get some huge influx of cash to solve the education problem. I'm not even sold on the lack of funding being the predominant problem (look at per capita figures around the world--we spend more for less).

 
petsrus6
Apr 02, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: debbydebates Show

I believe a lot of the problems are not the teachers fault at all, it's pretty hard to teach a group pf kids who have little or no values due to up bringing, Parents are playing a big part in the children's learning ability and responsibilities. This has to start at home, at a young age, if parents would teach their kids some responsibly and not just say the teachers don't care, the teachers would have an easier time doing their jobs.

 
againstthecurrents
Apr 02, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
well, I agree with accipiter's first comment. Ok, I know, we never agree. I don't agree with his reasoning of unleashing anything but I agree with his points. 5 things to improve edu?
1) Measurable standards that are not 1 size fits all
2) Follow up on every level of students from night school/ged/employment to University
3) Teacher pay not based on student performance, but evaluation dependent upon personal development application and yearly self made goals
4) Legitimize education as a profession, not what people experienced 50 years ago
5) Realize that school's are not funded nor staffed to be social service center, I suggest they should be
6) Stop worrying about the past and focus on what our national interest is -now- and how to best meet it

I would be welcome to a debate. I have taught middle, high, and adult classes in civics/history and basic math

 
againstthecurrents
Apr 05, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: skiingfool435 Show

The United States. Every modern educational philosophy points to indivdualization. Educational theory has moved opposite of political policy. There are schools right now in the US such as montessori and charters that address individual learning styles. Now, in public school teachers are supposed to do this, but wih inclusive classrooms "students who used to be kept in resource rooms being integrated into regular classes", ESL students, and large class sizes this is easier said than done. One size fits all does not have to reflect teaching strategy, but there does need to be standardization of curriculum and measurable results. If a child moves from CT to NC in October one school shouldn't be teaching the Civil War while the other is teaching WWII. Also, frameworks of standards allow teachers to craft plans they know are supported by their towns/states.Measurable results are ncessary to prove that the teaching strategies being used are effective.Many schools now have teachers create data sheets and their own goals "3% increase in overall gpa for instance". The federal government cannot craft curriculum and force states to use it, in fact the Dept. of Homeland Security/Immigration cannot even make curriculum for Citizenship classes, because that is a function of the state. It may seem as if America has a one size fits all educational system, but that is as much a simpifaction as... well a one size fits all educational system

 
againstthecurrents
Apr 06, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: skiingfool435 Show

I am not a fan of standardized testing, but I am a fan of standards. The two do not go hand in hand. Standardized high stakes testing evaluates memorization and recall, not critical thinking or real life application. It is too bad students will be faced with this in SAT's, Accuplacer, and other forms later anyway.
Standards are good. They are a starting place, a basic structure of which one can modify as necessary. Standard improve teachers lessons because they are forced to refer back to curriculum and teaching strategy to be sure they are teaching what they are supposed to be, not just what -they- think is important.
Teaching is a job. It is essentially management and training rolled into one. National standards are necessary to be sure we are basically all on the same page. That does not mean Texas should spend a month on the Boston Tea Party nor MA spend a month on the Alamo.
While I do not agree that high stakes testing be the end all be all, especially for funding, it is important to keep track of student growth and display some ability to measure it as an educator. Testing in this form is but one way.

 
goot
Apr 06, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
I am speaking about the education in the U.S!
1. I would stop wasting over seven-hundred billion dollars, on weapons and war related junk!
2. Get teachers that actually care about the education & not money, me as a student I can honest say my teachers dislike their students. They are their for the money only.
3. Get everyone in the community involved. To have a bright future full of wisdom & knowledge everyone needs to be involved.
4. Pay college for those students which pursue it. I know many kids which dropped out of high school, because they have already realized that his family will never be able to pay for his college.
5. Give student's hope . Encourage them & fill school with extra curricular activities that they will enjoy. I have many friends that come to school for the single reason that their in love with their dance/piano/guitar class.

 
lordspeaks
Apr 08, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
1: Privatize it.
2: Privatize it.
3: Privatize it.
4: Privatize it.
5: Privatize it.
From my own experience, even the smallest, most under-funded private school can take a failure (myself seven years ago) and turn them into a 4.0 student(myself now), with a little elbow grease from the student of course. :)
And we all know that when it comes to social arena, Private will out perform Government at every corner.

 
+ Add Argument

1
It is not bad now compared to other places in the world


processing
Mar 31, 2011
1 convinced
Rebuttal
Really nice pie in the sky dreams. How much do you plan to raise taxes to get this done?
Compared to other places in the world we are doing pretty well. The only thing we really need is more accountablity from the teachers and principals of the schools

 
accipiter
Apr 01, 2011
1 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: skiingfool435 Show

Of all the concerns facing the school system, the best you can focus on is a teacher's union? What about the lack of funding, over crowding and lack of a clear direction from district to district. If you feel the union is protecting the teachers then what would you have them do?
You have to produce facts for the Chicago school district to back up your statement. I went to look it up and couldn't find anything that supports what you claim. Ousting the president on a contract negociation? Unions have to ratify negociated contracts. Again I doubt your figures.
While I agree that something has to be done about youth in desperate circumstances segregation has never been a workable solution.
Why don't we start with the premise that the system is woefully inadequate and requires a major overhaul. Rather take the adversarial approach and finger pointing. We should be looking for a concensus on what is required and work toward that end.
The teacher's union is too easy a target because they are on the front lines.
I look forward seeing the figures you quoted on the teacher's salaries

 
processing
Mar 31, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
We can do this one as a battle and get right into the debate if you want Accipiter. I will send you a challenge

 
joryrferrell
Mar 31, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: accipiter Show

Ok...we are on the same side...but realistically, not every kid would benefit from the increase obviously. Personal choice still play's a part in what the kid will WANT to learn besides just what they are capable of learning. Some want to be follower's, some naturally want to be leader's. That said, I still feel the system to be inadequate. Yes, we are ahead, but that does not mean we stop and say, "Okkkk....here's a good place to stop improvement."
As educational technique has advanced, so has society. They go hand in hand. Therefore, it makes sense to continue to improve education.

I do like the philosophy idea. We had such classes a few times during my education, but each time it was for a few days rather than weeks. Maybe schools should replace the P.E. and Home Etiq's with philosophy classes. Or at least mandatory with time split between it and the other two. I know how to run, and I know how to turn an oven on. My time would have been better spent in philosophy classes in my opinion.

Out of all the schools I have attended, I've known one to have taken an extraordinary step in an unusual direction that REALLY impressed me. CrestView Middle School of Columbus, Ohio. It was the sh*ttiest school I have ever been to....besides the music department. lol.....
The music department was done right. ANY STUDENT was free to walk in and use any of the instrument's. Not only that, they were free to record their own music to cassette. (Can't recall if I even had to pay for the tape...)
I personally have no musical talent whatsoever, but I spent a lot more time there than on the basketball court during lunch. It wasn't about being alone either. Normally I was a loner, but in the music lab, I got along with people. All the evidence of my seriously crappy attempt's at music were long ago destroyed with lighter fluid (I eventually realized I had made tapes of sh*t, and so I disposed of them ASAP :P) but I'll miss that one particular part. I think more school's need to be funded for sh*t like that. They do have after school programs, but not every kid is into chess. There should be sh*t across the board being offered. For those mechanically inclined, thing's like robotics and engineering (they exist but aren't the norm). For those musically "attuned", recording and mixing studio's, where ANYONE can make a rap single or organize a small symphony. That would be sick. That would draw people together.


 
debbydebates
Mar 31, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: skiingfool435 Show

How are teacher's unions a problem? Intensive school? What would you teach the kids in this concentration camp that you create? I am hoping you are kidding about your number 5.

 
debbydebates
Mar 31, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
I have to agree with processing on the point of the cost. It would be through the roof. How would you pay for it all. Most of the schools have had to do cuts because they don't have enough money now.

 
processing
Apr 01, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: accipiter Show

I am not suggesting the government is that effecient. That would be ridiculous. But since they are not likely to get any more efficient the money for what you are proposing has to come from someplace. Taxes.
The free thinking people you are talking about would be a whole generation sneering at the rules and would result in total anarchy.
Regular workers are not all the "drones" you seem to be projecting. Not everyone is destined to become an intellectual and we still need workers to get the jobs done. The simple fact that you seem to be ignoring is that some of the kids in the system will never be able to rise to these lofty heights.
I would still love to know how you would plan to pay for all of this. You seem to be short on details for the budgets.

 
processing
Apr 01, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: skiingfool435 Show

I agree that going after the teacher's union is a cheap shot but what accipiter is proposing is over the top expensive and how is it going to be paid for?

 
skiingfool435
Apr 03, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: againstthecurrents Show

Really? Self-made goals? I'm curious, can you name a country that doesn't have a ''one size fits all'' standard for education?

 
iloveapple
Apr 04, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: skiingfool435 Show

Honestly, it depends where you are. We have what we call National curriculum, Which differs in each country. I also totally disagree, with the shorter vacation policy because children NEED breaks. IN england we only have one long break which lasts 5-6 weeks. The rest are 1 and 2 weeks. it's 2 weeks after every 12 week term and 1 week every 6 week half term!!!

 
skiingfool435
Apr 05, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: againstthecurrents Show

I took one size fits all as an aggregate for standardized tests. We might take slightly different paths to get there, but in the end, everyone is graded along the standard.

It's unclear to me if you're advocating for a more standard national curriculum or more flexibility for local goals. Perhaps you could elucidate?

To 'iloveapple' (this attitude is probably the reason I don't have an Apple computer--as has been said by another, 'the reason Mac users are all so skinny is that they cannot shut up about how great their Macs are.'): no. Children do not 'need' breaks (take Asia), and to the extent they do, they don't need a three month block of vacation. Year round schooling has been shown to have dramatic results for the lowest on the education totem pole.

 
skiingfool435
Apr 06, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: againstthecurrents Show

Seems very reasonable, but isn't the problem with more holistic testing the cost associated with it? As per minor geographic variation, this also seems very reasonable (I think we do not disagree here) so long as it maintains an adherence to a core curriculum, namely math, science, English, etc.

 
mchobbit
May 07, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: skiingfool435 Show

There already is little funding for "non acamedic" things. Art and Music programs are often cut because of lack of funding. So if your child is labelled a "problem student" s/he would be taken from you home and put in boarding school???? That's insane!

 
jsmiggins
May 07, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: lordspeaks Show

I'm not sure privatizing it would be such a huge win. Do you have any arguments in favor of it? Perhaps I could be persuaded. If you look at private schools now, they do well because they're not subject to the same things public schools are. For example, they're allowed to say no to the kids who will drag them down.

Stating that private will outperform government at every corner just sounds like a libertarian's wet dream. This is off-topic, but private prisons are pretty horrible, much worse than government-ran ones.

 


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