Slashdot on Improving Education

from Slashdot comment

MBCook’s Magic Formula (Score:5, Interesting)
by MBCook (132727) on Tuesday July 12, @03:51PM (#13046084)
Here are my magic solutions. I think if we implemented every one of these, our society would improve quite a bit.

* Grade on a curve – This prevents grade inflation, which is insane these days (as others have pointed out). What does it say when 80% of a class is straight A students? That an A is too easy to get.
* TOUGH tests – I don’t care if little Johnny can pass his 6th grade proficency test at a 95%. That test should cover all the 6th grade stuff and then more (up to 8th, at least). That way we can see how far/behind Johnny is and he can be placed accordingly.
* Hold ’em back – Too many kids get passed on with failing grades for “social reasons” (and, often, political (read: loud parents)). This needs to be stopped NOW. Can’t pass the test? Can’t pass the grade. You get a chance to make it up during the summer, or too bad.
* Teach ’em to think – This one amazes me. I have a 13 year old sister, and in many ways her friends and peers can’t think. If the answer isn’t immediatly obvious or given to them they just shut down. If you haven’t given them the formula for how to think out this kind of logic problem they are dumbfounded. I believe this comes from teaching-to-the-test. Speaking of which…
* No more teaching to the test! BAN IT. Don’t tell the teachers what is on the test or when it is. The test will be given at random points testing what the students should know up to that point (and then some as described above). That way you can avoid that who “For the next two months we will be focusing on the basic things you’ll have to know how to do for the CAT tests so we can get more funding.” nonsense.
* Pay teachers based on their students progress. Measure the students and how they are doing, how they are progressing, where they are relative to where they should be, etc. Pay the teachers based on that. If you are an ineffectual teacher, you won’t get paid as much. This should be done by a board consisting of teachers, parents, and officials to prevent problems (teachers giving eachother saleries that are too high, parents forcing a teacher they don’t like to lose pay, the administration taking things out on a teacher they don’t like, etc).
* MANDITORY CIVIL SERVICE – Immediatly after highschool and before college, EVERYONE goes into civil service. You can choose the military, reserves, fire department, police, border patroll, forrest service, help the IRS, help the homeless, help at hospitals, etc. (the full list can be decided later). Term is 2 years. There would obviously be exceptions for some (like those with schitzophrenia and other serious problems). The number of self centered brats comming out of highschools in the US frighents me (note: I’m 21, I have seen this first hand and continue to). Don’t get me wrong, there are many good kids. But there are many who act like they are still 12.
* Fewer objective assignments. This goes along with other points above. If all you are ever testing kids on is what year the declaration of independance was written and how many ounces are in a cup (both fine fact, to be sure :), then how will they learn to evaluate things if they only see one assigment asking them to do more than recall a fact per year.
* Kids teaching kids – Kids look up to older kids. It’s just a fact. Get the older kids to help teach the younger kids once in a while. It will help the older kids (you know you understand something through-and-through if you can teach it, teaches paitence and helping, etc) and the younger kids (more likely to listen during an occasioal one-on-one with an older kid that old Mrs. Pratley lecturing at the board for the 4th hour in a row).

2 Responses to “Slashdot on Improving Education”

  1. Luke says:

    No comments on it? I’ll make a few.

    A.) Half of the entire comment by MBCook is absolute crap.
    B.) Music and Art is good. Everyone needs some sort of creative outlet, but do not limit it unless absolutely necessary.
    C.) I hate moving and I hate exercising and have hated it since I was really rather young. The male/female stereotypes are really rather archaic.
    D.) Mandatory civil service. I’ll agree to that just after they pry the riffle out of my cold dead fingers.

  2. Leland says:

    I agree on the points about not teaching to tests, and teaching kids how to think and learn, but seriously, civil service mandatory after high school? That goes against what the United States stands for, wether thats good or bad.

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