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Education Reform Wish List

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Inspired by the Portable Princess, 33-year veteran social studies teacher Dennis Fermoyle answers the question, "If you could change anything at all about the education system in the U.S., what would it be and why?" Among his suggestions:


Give teachers the authority to remove disruptive and blatantly apathetic students from their classrooms. (In other words, give classrooms teachers the same power that coaches of high school athletic teams have.)

And he knows whereof he speaks, because he's a hockey coach, too. See more from his wish list.

5 Comments

All excellent and incredibly important points.
Someone should start a blog called, "Where are the parents.?" I've been teaching for thirty years and hearing that for thirty years. I'd like to start that blog myself but am not particularly interested in hearing from those who would say, "How dare you blame the victims." Because I would dare blame them.

I agree with removing problem behaviors from class and setting some standards for classroom behavior. However, a lot of schools would have to add special space and staffing to do that. Schools are already at their budgetary limits. But these behavioral classes should be mandatory.
Problem behavior is one reason I am leaving classroom teaching. Possibly, I can do a better job as an administrator. As they say those who can't teach administrate. I don't believe that but my choices are limited?
Depressed

I also think we should go more heavily into trade schools for kids who are never going to be great students. After 8th grade, they should choose (with advice, not just from one test, but real helpful data from tests, attendence, attitude surveys)---and either chose training for a career or move on to college prep.

As an administrator I can tell Elliott that things aren't that much better when you are running your own building. The most effective solution to the issues going on in the classroom continue to be classroom instruction that is engaging to students. Problem is that education largely has NOT changed so that students ARE engaged in their learning. Part of the blame lies with us as educators in that I continue to see too much lecturing and note taking and not enough challenging, innovative instruction that would pique the interest of anyone. The other part is that teachers are battling the likes of MySpace, iPods, Wii's and Playstations, etc. These innovations are causing our students to stay up way too late and not engage in school in a meaningful way. Parents are also too darn busy to invest any time to make a difference. Sigh. . . . .our challenges are many. Thank god for summer break and a chance to rejuvenate and reinvigorate ourselves. . . . .

Thanks, Doug, for acknowledging that there are yet solutions to be tried in the classroom. I do hope that we (as society/Americans) put some energy and resources into using the MySpace/iPod/Wii technologies into improving education. Computer simulation can be a powerful tool. iPod (I gotta confess--I only know what my kids explain to me about this one) can make lectures, and other materials portable--an advantage to adult as well as adolescent students.

But in answer to Joan Paul, about where are the parents--I suggest that you will have to start looking outside that fortress building in which you spend your day. The parents are trying to get through on jammed phone lines. Check your message box--you may find some there. The parents are busy running around the system trying to find answers to fairly simple questions that seem to fall outside of every individual's responsibility. They are out buying last minute supplies when their student tells them that they need a white shirt tomorrow (or to follow a recipe tonight, or a protractor, or a display, etc). They are looking for afterschool care that will coordinate with where the bus stop is--or trying to find out how to change busses to get to where the child care is. They are trying to find a summer tutor to make up for what their child didn't learn during the year that didn't show up on grades, but was apparent on the end of year testing. They are trying to find a library book that they didn't know existed until the end of the school year when they got a bill for it.

Sometimes they are at home crying because one teacher too many this week hung up on them, or yelled at them, or just threw out one of those "where are the parents" remarks.

Finally, look around the teacher's lounge--surely there are teachers who are parents--and ask yourself if there is something that makes them qualitatively different from the parents of your students, or if you just have a different relationship and different understanding of who they are.

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Recent Comments

  • Margo/Mom: Thanks, Doug, for acknowledging that there are yet solutions to read more
  • Doug: As an administrator I can tell Elliott that things aren't read more
  • spankie: I also think we should go more heavily into trade read more
  • Elliott Milford: I agree with removing problem behaviors from class and setting read more
  • Joan Paul: All excellent and incredibly important points. Someone should start a read more

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