02 November 2007

Education Solutions - Part 2

Continuing with education solutions:

Raise teacher standards to world-class levels: World-class levels, not U.S.-suggested, union-lazy sub-standards. That means We abandon the pretense that the U.S. knows what the hell it's talking about in K-12 education and We scan the world for better options.

I can just see teachers shaking their heads... Year after year, in every basic subject matter, the U.S. as a nation comes up woefully short of Top 10 status at almost every grade level. Countries such as Finland, Norway, South Korea and Mexico that comparatively spend about half the money per student beat the pants off the part-of-America(ns). And now, just for the record, guess which part of the U.S. brings up the ugly rear?

Although you can't blame the teachers for all the problems, you can certainly lay a good chunk of the blame at their feet, especially when time after time, teachers and their unions expend greater effort in grubbing for benefits than they do enlightening young minds. The correlation between "strong" teacher's unions and poor education is very clear, for guess what the above-mentioned countries don't have?

What they have instead are high overall standards and teachers are held accountable to them. Yes, that involves a change in curriculum and administration, even a societal paradigm shift, but that is nothing We can't achieve...if teachers want it to happen.

Here's one way to start making it happen:

Have teachers pass certification tests to teach and be recertified every five years: Now I can hear the teachers howl...

Imagine a 61-year old doctor treating your child. Suddenly he tells you he graduated as a lab technician 36 years ago, worked as an orthopedic assistant for 12 years, spent 20 years as a podiatrist and is now a pediatrician for the summer, tending your child with his/her future at stake.

With slight changes, that describes many of the teachers clogging up the system, drones who graduated 30+ years ago in whatever subject their feeble minds could scrape by in, switched to other subjects as needs arose (and standards didn't) and end up in some classroom faking knowledge until retirement kicks in.

Enough. If you want to teach, get certified in any subject matter at any grade level. Get certified to teach everything at any level, if you want to. Then stay current with teaching trends, new information, emergent technology and most importantly with your own sense of competence. When that happens, then you can justify the following:

To secure world-class standards, pay world-class teachers what they are worth: A cynic would say it all boils down to money and there may be some truth to that. But the bottom line is the bottom line because it is part of everything, Thus, to retain world-class talent, you have to provide world-class compensation.

But not all compensation has to be money. Teachers were once highly-respected members of the community, because their schooling set them apart. Now most teachers are so pathetic in their "schooling" that they can only be set apart from feral monkeys. Raising the standards raises the level of respect for those who achieve them.

In addition, teachers could be compensated with free post-graduate education at state universities and even become "in-house" education consultants, encouraged to teach best practices and even pursue their own projects to expand or modify the educational system. The goal is have teachers once again earn the respect and rewards an educator has naturally engendered throughout human history.

A system that sponsors and rewards mediocrity is going to be filled by mediocre people...or worse. So goes government. So goes education. Of the two groups, teachers and Fools, there's hope in rescuing teachers because most them, at least, want to make a positive difference.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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