Many feel the education system in America could use some work. But unfortunately it can’t happen overnight. We asked people all over the U.S. If they could change just one thing about PreK-12 education what would it be. Do you agree with them? What would you change? What steps are you taking to make that happen for the future of our kids – the future of our country?
“I would change the current curriculum and manner of teaching. Most of the year, for many years, they conduct classes with the sole aim of taking the FCAT test in February. Children don’t actually learn much until the last two to three months, when teachers are free to talk about the core of American history, English comprehension or whatever the class may be. They shouldn’t be taught solely for the purpose of taking a test.” – Karen Jurewicz
“The class sizes are what I’d change. Thirty children in one room with one teacher? That situation just begs kids to fall through the cracks. My mother would go in for open house halfway through the year and the teachers wouldn’t even know if I was their student or not- they’d have to check their roster.” – Lagen Witkowsky
“There simply isn’t enough being done about bullying in schools. I don’t know what COULD be changed, but even when bullying IS reported, the bullies continue to escalate it. A lot of the times the teachers ignore that it’s going on, even when the bullying is done in front of them. That is not okay, and no kid can commit to getting a good education if he or she is being constantly bullied.” – Ann Olson
“So much needs to be changed, it’s hard to know where to begin. I’d say smaller class sizes. Way smaller, like 10 or fewer students per teacher. You can’t teach 32 kids at once and have it be meaningful. Then you could do more creative hands-on things, science, art, individualized instruction, movement, that you can’t do when there are so many students, not enough room, not enough time. It becomes industrial, like running them through an education factory. They come out disengaged and resentful.” – Terrie Schultz
“Too many issues to pick just one. As the parent of a special needs child, my satisfaction with the school system is pretty low right now!” – Tracy Deluca
“I feel schools (teachers and admin) concentrate too much on preparing and taking state testing that they forget about the arts (music and art) and even PE which is so essential for a child’s heath and to avoid obesity. Children need to be well-rounded and learn about many subjects, not just what’s on the test. And, they pressure the early elementary children with this way too soon! OK, I’ll stop ranting now!” – Tania Cowling
“Seriously, too many to pick from but I wish I had learned more real-world skills in elementary school like managing personal finance, creating a resume, etc. College is too late to cover some of these topics and not every kid goes to college.” – Gwen Navarrete
“I think there needs to be more of an emphasis on interpersonal skills and communicating with others, especially when feelings are hurt. Teaching children to be tolerant of each other, starting at a young age, can r…educe the amount of bullying in later years. What I love about Montessori is our Peace curriculum. Children as young as three learn to retreat to a neutral zone to work out a compromise, and to share their feelings using “I” statements. I have even taught a child with Asperger’s, now eight, to use it with relative success.” – Andrea Coventry
“It would seem that there is potential for public education in our country to improve by separating certain groups of kids, to some degree. For instance, if there was one campus in each district for all students who have hit and/or bullied other children, another for all kids in a district who needed intensive ESL services, and the remaining campuses for students who have not been behaviorally aggressive, and who are fluent enough in English to understand their schoolwork thoroughly, I think ALL of these groups could benefit.
Each school could really “specialize” in the needs of that particular campus. A school where every staff member is bilingual could do academic wonders for kids who need to learn English. A campus for kids who are aggressive could serve two purposes – to offer the kinds of services that would best help these children to learn to function peacefully, AND to remove them from the daily environment of kids (and teachers) who suffer emotionally and academically at the hands of the aggressive kids.
Obviously, it would get complicated in some circumstances (for instance, an ESL kid who was also aggressive), and perhaps there could be a classroom (or several) throughout the district to accommodate these groups, as well. But overall, I think this approach could potentially improve the lives of students of every type, as well as the lives of public school teachers. The countries that perform best in the world academically have, among other things, schools where all children are fluent in the native language, and bullying/violence are not tolerated. ” – Brandy Madison
“Directed, effective, respectful communication with the sole purpose of doing what is best for every child is the one thing that needs to be addressed in the current education system
Effective learning happens when materials are presented to… students in a way that reaches them at their level and in conjunction with their learning styles and unique strengths and abilities. This is a communication issue. Therefore, better methods of teaching and learning need to be allowed, encouraged and explored by teachers and students without extensive and prohibitive administrative red tape.
Parents need to communicate with the teachers about issues and communicate with each other and other parents on the best course of action to take to resolve any problems. The administrations need to put in place protocols to help aid parent-teacher interactions and to encourage parent involvement beyond raising money.
Likewise, socialization seems to be a big topic of concern when people discuss homeschooling but in public schools where there is a great deal of socialization, there is a need to offer more opportunities for positive interactions. These interactions and programs should be based on respect and treating others with respect.
Another area that needs to be considered is open communication and sharing between public educators and homeschoolers. Instead of each side treating the other as an opposing force wouldn’t it be better if there was an attitude of let’s work together for the benefit of every child.” – Julie Darleen
“Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and a short prayer (or moment of silence) as it used to be, when the only problems reported by teachers were gum chewing and tardiness (as opposed to now when teachers complain about assault, drugs and weapons)!!! It just couldn’t get any worse.” – Cheri Majors
Related Articles from Lyn:
Is Homework Reducing Learning and Play Time for Kids?
Choice in Education May Increase School Success in Kids
Should You Change the Way Your Child is Educated Next Year?
Should Standardized Tests Be Required for All Public, Private, and Home Schools?
Should Current Homework and Studying Methods Be Re-Evaluated?