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School Reform Starts with Reading Reform
U.S. schools K-12 succeed in educating only about 40% of the nation's children. The only meaningful school reform would purge both schools and teachers' colleges of the "whole word" theory of reading instruction that dooms 60% of our children to semi-literacy.
Instructional Leadership Not for Principals
As schools begin to implement the new Common Core Standards, principals are being urged to focus on instructional leadership. Unfortunately, most U.S. principals lack the time to be instructional leaders. True reform would restructure the principal's job into three.
How Meaningful is Your Child's GPA?
Thanks to weighted courses in high school, 4.0 is no longer the highest GPA that can be earned. Weighting enables students to manipulate the system in order to "look good" on their college applications. These days, GPA is not a dependable gauge of high school achievement.
Educational Malpractice K-3
In addition to the Common Core Standards created by corporate consultants, additional requirements are being placed on schools by state legislators and political appointees. The latest is the intrusion of keyboarding instruction for children K-3 who should be learning how to write.
Cursive Writing Controversy
Cursive writing is just one style of handwriting, but many people seem to think that it is the only kind. North Carolina legislators have passed a law requiring that all fifth graders must be able to write in cursive.
What is Liberal Arts Education and Who Needs It?
The term Liberal Arts refers to the academic subjects that include language, literature, science, math, and history. In the past, an acquaintance with all these subjects was considered the mark of an educated person. Today's idea of "an educated person" seems to have changed.
What is STEM?
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It has become a kind of mantra for business leaders and politicians who want more children to pursue careers in those subjects. A danger is that STEM is seen by some as being of more value than subjects in the Liberal Arts.
Same Sex Education
Same-sex classrooms were long the norm. U.S. public education adopted the coeducational model at the end of the 19th century. Thanks to changes in American culture, it's probably time to return to the single-sex model, at least from grades 7-12.
Public School and Religious Belief
Public education is like public transportation. Passengers have to go where the bus goes. Travelers who want to go where the bus doesn’t go must make other arrangements.
Is College for Everyone?
A college degree has become a status symbol in American culture--like a BMW or an 8,500-square-foot house. The reality is that most Americans cannot afford the luxury of sending their children to a four-year university with some vague idea that it will insure their financial future.
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