Also, I would be extremely happy (after all, that is a lot of power, and who among us isn’t power hungry?) I would join President Obama in making big changes (and mine wouldn’t cost 800 billion).
There are obviously a lot of issues in education that need to be addressed.
I have so many ideas regarding school improvement that I hardly know where to start.
Just to name a few:
• indoor playgrounds (which would allow kids the same general feeling of going outside for recess but are prohibited from doing so during inclement weather)
• the ability to suspend all students (and parents) who show up to school without a coat when it is cold
• naps for all employees at the same time the kindergarten class rests their eyes
• automatic jail time for kids who mess with their mechanical pencils too much
• and of course… free chocolate chip cookies for everyone at snack time.
But I don’t want to spend this blog boring you with issues that will never be addressed (trust me, all the previous situations will continue to be ignored… another case of The Man keeping us down).
I am here to talk about one change that I think we can, and should implement.
Since I have all the answers, I am going to be nice and share (save your mocking emails… because you have to give me some credit for my confidence).
In my estimation, schools have done the right thing by getting away from social promotion.
For those of you not familiar with social promotion our friends at Wikipedia define it as the practice of promoting a student (usually a general education student, rather than a special education student) to the next grade despite their low achievement in order to keep them with social peers.
I can remember a time not so long ago when students were passed on to the next grade level based solely on their size. Think about it. Big kids move on. Smaller kids get held back a year.
We have come a long way.
But I am here to propose that we must take this idea a step further.
Educators have to get past the idea that a student needs to be in a certain grade based on their biological age.
Kids age and learn at different levels. I know this because I live with a 7 year old who thinks she is 35 (and even worse, she believes she is my boss).
Why do we start 5 year olds in kindergarten when they aren’t ready? Aren’t we putting them in a situation where they are doomed to fail?
What does a child’s 7th birthday have to do with 2nd grade?
Some 7 year olds are ready for 2nd grade, but some should be in 1st grade or even 3rd.
I realize there may be limits to my theory because we don’t want to have kindergarten students who are 14 years old, but we have to give kids some leeway.
They all learn at a different rate and we need to recognize this. Maybe we need a 3 year age span for each grade level.
By the K-12 model, all freshmen in college would be 19 years old and seniors would be 22. When I went off to college, I was amazed to find out that students come in all ages (from 17 to 80).
And shockingly, the older the student, the more prepared and focused they were (I must admit that at the time I felt the older students studied way too hard and asked too many questions).
Why wouldn’t this theory work in public schools (admittedly, on a limited basis)?
Do we use the present system because it is beneficial to students, or because this is the way we have always moved kids through the 13 grade levels?
Ok, let’s cut to the chase. Do athletics play a major role in keeping the same aged children together? Or is it some other reason? I hope someone (or many someones) has a different answer for me.
After all, you can’t really expect me to run education by myself.
I am so not qualified.