What is the purpose of the K-12 educational system? These are just my thoughts and of course are subject to debate. To provide for the ability to face adult life, to enable one to select a career path, to contribute to the collective good of society and allow it to seek progress towards its goals.
There is so much wrong with our educational system, I don’t know if I can address it all. Certainly not in one blog post, but I need to start somewhere.
The first thing, in my opinion, is to get rid of vouchers and charter schools. They are merely disguised methods of transferring wealth from the poor and the middle class to the wealthy. Gone.
The next thing to be addressed is in order to educate our youth, we need competent educators. They must be paid, to start, what anyone with their educational requirements can expect. We can’t keep losing educators to bartender jobs. Then there must be room for professional growth. Areas having a hard time getting competent staff will have to pay more. ALL students must have access to competent staff. Class sizes must be reduced to the point where individual needs can be addressed. There must be help for students with needs or the ability to grow faster than normal.
Another issue is equity. The lottery of birthplace or parentage should not affect access to quality education. This inequity is largely because of the financing structure of our educational system. At this point I am talking only about the k-12 portion. Currently funding is primarily from property taxes and state funding. Very often, state legislators use the educational system as a budget balancing tool. This needs to be equalized on a national level. Educational funding needs to become an entitlement not subject to budget balancing. Home schooling should be discouraged except in exceptional cases. Part of the educational process is being able to fit into society.
The curriculum needs to be broad based with some focus on life skills in addition to the base science, math, and language skills. A complete history of the world and the US needs to be taught including the truth about slavery, colonialism, genocide, Holocaust, and the role of religion in history. Critical thinking should be emphasized throughout the educational process. High school graduates should have a good understanding of how our political system works. Generally, all books should be available to be read. We need to lift up the bottom half of our population so they can become thinking citizens. The old levels of education will have a difficult time surviving with the new level of technology and the requirements of dealing with where life is going.
This is going to be a long process with results not significant for many years. We must persevere.