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Warner Brings Education to the Big Stage


Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, who was a big player in high school reform during his tenure, used his prime-time keynote speech to Democrats to stress the link between quality schools and the economy.

It was a nearly 15-minute speech that placed education front and center at the Democratic National Convention.

''If we recruit an army of new teachers and actually give our schools the resources to meet our highest standards, not only will every child in America will be given a fair shot, the American economy will be given a shot in the arm," Warner said. ''Whether they want to be an engineer or an
electrician, every kid will be trained for the jobs of the 21st Century.''

--Michele McNeil


One component that is most important in the educational sucess for our youth is addressing the parental or family involvement in the student's education since birth to college age.

There must be involvement of a parent(s) or grandparent(s) who is the constant knowledgeable individual in the daily life of the youth, who is involved with the teacher each year of the school year to be aware of where the student needs help, and who becomes a "trained teacher at home in their own right" to know how and where to seek help for their child.

I agree 100% BUT--we have high quality teachers--we need to elevate those and eliminate the ones who do not get results. There is no room for slackers in the education of our nation's children. Once we know what GREAT TEACHERS LOOKS LIKE and can clearly articulate this, we can hire, train, motivate and retain other highly qualified new teachers.

It is interesting to note that the largest recruiters of people to the education field are not school districts themselves or schools of education but organizations like Teach For America and The New Teacher Project. Thank goodness they are out there raising the level of awareness and attracting talented people to our field who would otherwise not be interested.It is up to our school districts to welcome them, train, reward and motivate and keep as many of them as we can in our ranks.

It does take a village and GREAT teachers must be a part of that village as must outstanding school leaders, parents and other agencies.

High quality teachers and abundant resources are not the answers. If they are, problem has been solved long time before since those goals have been in place and working on for a long time.
A simple way to have almost every teacher high quality is to triple teachers’ salaries and benefits so as to make teacher recruitment process highly selective. Can this be a supportive idea? We would need to increase the tax in order to increase the resources and hope half of the increase would really go to the students since the other half may very likely be lost in process. Don’t forget the USA has already the most costly school education in the world!
These two things are much more realistic and useful in improving the schools:
1. A regular and effective motivation system that is not based on material reward
Have you heard of giving students of good attendance a car program? That is ugly. The very truth is: You cannot teach without motivated students. To master a knowledge or skill the students must learn and practice it on regular daily basis. Without a strong and substantive motivation system, few, if any, would continue such efforts.

2. A textbook system and core curriculum that are mandated for the teacher to teach and useful to every student for self-studying
Many students are disadvantaged because the absence of the core curriculum system. They are further disadvantaged when they are deprived of an explicit self-studying textbook system. Unfortunately this is the case in the US educational system.

The economy is front and center this election cycle. If America intends to maintain its competitive advantages, we MUST create a world-class education system. Education and economy are fundamentally intertwined, on both micro and macro levels. All Americans must invest in all America's children.

Let's stick with this idea of recruiting an army of excellent teachers: Is this to replace or augment the army of teachers we now have? Please clarify!

We're talking 3 million+ public school teachers. What's going to radically elevate the performance of our teachers?

Training? We've been trying that for decades. Why isn't it working? Well, maybe that's not the problem.

Money? $300 million more gives each teacher a $100 raise. $3 billion gives them a $1000 raise. Still not much.

Is America ready to pump $30 to $100 billion into Teacher salaries in order draw more qualified candidates to the profession?

Can administrators really identify excellent teachers through the interview process? If they can...then teacher quality shouldn't even be a topic here!

Were the best teachers of today attracted to the profession because of money?

If training and money aren't the answer, what is?

How about giving teachers a class full of students that are ready to learn the subject matter of the course, instead on placing kids in classes based on their date of birth?

We at "Educate For A Change" insist that we must abandon the "one-size-fits-all" system of education that is sucking all of the motivation our of our students.

When students are given sufficient instruction and sufficient time to really achieve, before being pushed ahead on someone's time-table; and when they find that the only way to progress in school is through real learning; you'll see the spark of motivation return to their eyes.

When we insist on nothing but success for our students, giving them the instruction and time they need to achieve it, then just about every teacher is going to look excellent.

Problem solved!

New teachers, while a breathe of fresh air are not the major necessity, nor are standards and testing. What is needed is teachers that can excite and engage students in the learning process. We do not need merit pay. We do not need accountability for the meager funding the federal government doles out to schools. We do not even need more funding, just equitable and reasonable funding for facilities and faculty and an accent on real learning. We can achieve greatness, but we must first define what greatness is and recohnize it when it comes along.

This education plan would solve most problems in education policy because it re-empowers parents and dis-empowers the most destructive force in education - teacher's unions.

TRIPLE TEACHER SALARIES!!??? In this closed system of bureaucrats and pension-seeking mediocrities!!!??

What a howler!

We focus on what won't make a difference because as educators we think about what we have always done.

If we overhaul the education system consider what helps children think, not memorize, we will have a start. If we consider everything from high school graduation requirements to preschool education that offers little minds a chance to expand, not sit in a chair and take a test, then we have half a chance.

Unless we cultivate creative minds we will continue to have what we have always had: Mindless drones who do what they have always done because we cannot think beyond reading writing and 'rithmetic. Dig out that research folks around what our kids really need to know(it is out there) and believe it, not fold to agendas not routed in research.

Let's widen our lens to see children and adolescents as teachers from pre-school age through high school.

It takes more than a few years of college to "train" a teacher. College is a vital, yet middle step in the process. Our youngest children have teaching skills--they naturally share what they know. When K-12 teachers notice this, we can encourage all students to help their peers learn with practice and challenges. We must give K-12 students many opportunities to grow their teaching skills as they explore and master different subjects and classroom activities. Teaching skills are too important to remain invisible, or leave to chance.

We support all kinds of abilities in kids, why not teaching? Teaching skills are so valuable regardless of what line of work the student eventually chooses. Some students will experience the intrinsic rewards gained by helping other students learn. We will welcome and recruit them into the teaching profession!
From two veteran teachers who taught K-16+ students for 35 and 43 years respectively, PEACE. Mary and Terry of the Hoenny Center

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