Journal: Robert Smith on Education

04 Education

There are some other things that negatively influence the quality of American public education.

(1) A fair performance evaluation system based on teacher behavior must be implemented. I used to think that such a system must focus upon student outcomes, but, teachers seldom have more than 10% influence over the variance in student outcomes.

(2) Centralized, uniform, bureaucratized instructional directives are often issued by non-educators and they tie the hands of teachers and reduce incentive and creativity.

(3) Resources in the public schools are sparse. The wealthy so often do not wish to share wealth with the public education system that would provide them with educated employees. Everyone from all sectors of our society have an interest in our operating an excellent public educational system. Colleges can't teach if freshmen can't study. Employers need workers who can read, write, calculate, speak … The criminal justice system is used less often by moderately educated persons. People with a higher education are more likely to research health issues, live healthier lives, and have fewer medical ailments (with usually later onset). Our military must have an educated pool of service men and women.

(4) Smart resource allocation is essential. Charles Darwin proposed not the survival of the fittest but rather the survival of the most adaptive. Adaptation to the newest technologies is essential for students to be able to make later contributions to employers or military … All elements of society have a vested interest in quality educational outcomes. All elements must come together with resources, needs / goals for public schools to lead students toward. Perhaps most importantly, the use of the newest technologies in the public schools can alter the entire teaching experience, bringing problems and test questions and personalized instructional techniques and instructional topics to each student so as to maximize his / her education in the most efficient manner. I would guess that this will reduce the cost of education per student over the next decade. The current system is designed, well, somewhat for the convenience of the educators. The children most difficult to “control” (like Thomas Edison would be today) would be provided individualized instruction that is designed to engage each individual student.

(5) Society must embrace education. If the public education system is the thrive and its graduates are to make significant contributions, then the cultures from which students come must be not just education accepting but rather education embracing. How can a child really enjoy and learn if they are malnourished? neglected at home? in need of health care? worry about their mother engaging in dangerous behaviors to satisfy a fix? Why would students who use sound linear short-term reasoning conclude that attendance at school is worthwhile when they can earn twice what a physician earns, at 16, selling drugs, and they don't have to invest an additional 15 years. …

From Robert Smith at Facebook.

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