America could be a leader in education if a few steps were taken to improve our public schools.
The end of private schools is the first step. Every child in America should have a public elementary school education.
If every child attended public school, every parent in America would be invested in public schools. Imagine all students receiving the same education; the same standards addressed at every school and no division between students because of private or public education.
Erasing the lines drawn by social economic status would help children learn about the world. Private schools would no longer distance more privileged children from the struggles of their peers.
The next step is embracing character education in our schools. It is education of the character that teaches children we are all on this world together. We need to teach that actions carry real consequences for other people on the planet.
Whether it is not recycling or failure to express empathy for another person, children need to think about the people with whom they occupy this world. Teaching children about the outdoors and letting them discover nature would enrich the child’s life and understanding of the world.
A funding model for schools would be a step in the right direction.
Local property taxes should be collected to pay for local schools. The battle cry that more money does not mean a better education for students is worn out.
Money can buy real facilities for students, pay teachers competitive wages and fully fund special education.
The public and schools need to enter into a social contract. They need to fully fund schools with a blank check.
The schools will act responsibly with our money and provide a top notch education to our students.
Early childhood education should be a priority for schools. The earlier we start, the more children benefit. Having a solid plan for children, even beginning at age one, will help children become learners when they enter school.
Exposing children to literature and teaching them simple basic numbers early would help them have a solid start when they entered public schools.
Education also needs to be taught year-round. We need to move from the model of summers off, to a more progressive model that will not allow the summer slump to occur.
The school calendar should be rotation of six weeks in classes, two weeks out of classes.
Schools need to be the center of the community. The buildings need to be a place where the community can come, and be involved in the education of the students.
The resources of people in the community need to be tapped to help shape the education of students. Expertise of community members could be used to shape children who are ready for real jobs, ready for college and ready to contribute to society. Attending to the needs of every child equally will require a lot of work, but it is achievable.
BY ANDREW THOMASON