The Personal Website of Mark W. Dawson
Containing His Articles, Observations, Thoughts, Meanderings,
and some would say Wisdom (and some would say not).
The public school systems in urban America are a failure. They fail to provide a good education for their students, they fail to provide a good environment for their students, they fail to prepare their students to become productive and contributing adults, they fail the parents of the students, and they fail the taxpayers who fund these schools. There are many reasons, mostly unspoken, for this failure. Here-within are some of the reasons for this failure.
Violence in Public Schools
It is appalling how violence in our schools has increased in the last several decades. Assaults on teachers and administrator by students, students upon students, and even parents or family members upon students, teachers, and administrators are on the rise. And all of this must stop forthwith. Anybody who commits an assault within a school should be immediately arrested, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Any aggravated felony committed in a school should result in the perpetrator being expelled, without re-admittance to the school, and not transferred to another school where they could commit another aggravated felony. This may mean the construction of special schools for those who have committed these offenses, but so be it. The health, welfare, and safety of those within a school are paramount.
Verbal abuse is also significantly on the rise within schools. Any student who verbally abuses another student, teacher, or administrator should be immediately suspended, and not re-admitted to the school, or re-assigned to another school until a corrective course of action is implemented for the abuser. Special classrooms within a school may need to be established to handle verbally abusive students. The special classrooms that are staffed by the best disciplinary teachers, and non-teaching aids that can handle the verbally abusive student. Of course, those teachers and non-teaching aids should receive additional combat pay for their efforts.
Without classroom discipline, there cannot be education. Classroom discipline must be implemented and enforced for the teacher to teach, and the student to learn. Rules of conduct need to be established and enforced within a classroom. And it should be made clear to the student that this is to their benefit. But it should also be made clear to the student that this classroom discipline also allows for education to be more fun and enriching. I believe that the teacher should inform the student that their class is a form of a voyage, a voyage of discovery, and an exciting voyage. And as in all voyages if they all work together and cooperate with each other so that it will be a more pleasant voyage for all.
But some voyages have malcontents and mutineers. My wife, a school teacher, has often remarked to me that in a classroom of thirty or so students that it is often the case that a handful of students (usually four to six) are malcontents and mutineers (my words). She has stated that if only something could be done with those malcontents and mutineers it would be so much easier to teach, and the other students would receive a better education. But something can be done with these malcontents and mutineers. As in the solution to verbally abusive students (and sometimes the verbally abusive and the malcontents and mutineer are one in the same student), special classrooms within a school may need to be established to handle these malcontents and mutineer students. The special classrooms that are staffed by good disciplinary teachers, and non-teaching aids that can handle the malcontents and mutineer students. And it should be made clear to the students and parents of these malcontents and mutineers that they will remain in this classroom until they can learn to control themselves, but they can be reassigned to a regular classroom if they learn to control themselves. Of course, those teachers and non-teaching aids should receive additional combat pay for their efforts.
I propose this because I believe that no student, or group of students, should be allowed to interfere with the education of another student. I know that there will be a hue and cry from Parents, Students, Teachers, Administrators, Bureaucrats, Lawyers and Judges, Politicians, and Unions on my solution to resolve the problem of verbally abusive and malcontents and mutineer students. Nobody wants some children treated differently from other children, but children are different from each other. And a problem child must be treated differently from a non-problem child. But in all cases all children should be treated politely and respectfully, but firmly. But keep in mind that the purpose of public schools is to provide a quality education for its students. And those students that interfere with this purpose should be dealt with.
If a teacher suffers a physical or verbal assault that is of a felonious nature, and the administrators or bureaucrats do not take prompt action to protect the teacher and arrest the perpetrator, the teacher has a human right to defend themselves, as all people have a human right to defend themselves against felonious assaults. I would hope that the teacher does not need to be physical with the student, but if they need to be physical to protect themselves or other students and personnel so be it, and they should have the support of the school system, the legal system, and all civic-minded people. If need be I would also allow a teacher to make a civilian arrest of an aggravated felony in progress, and if I were a teacher I would keep in my desk a few Zip-Tie Handcuffs to assist me in this arrest. Of course, a teacher needs to do this in a proper and legal manner, and they should be so educated in the proper and legal manner of doing this, as part of their college education in teaching.
A Systemic Problem
Everybody knows that our current public-school systems in the urban districts of the United States are a total failure. They fail to educate the students, they fail to prepare them for the 21st-century world they will live in, and they just fail.
There are many explanations for the reason of this failure's, some of them true, some of them false, and most of them have grains of truth. However, in my opinion, the problem is a systemic one. There are many pieces that go into creating a school system. Each one of these pieces has their problems, and possible solutions, but in reality, all the pieces working together have failed. These are the pieces, and why I believe they are failing
Most parents of students in public schools don't know how to be good mentors for their children with regards to education. They do not have the skill set to do this properly. They often ignore their children's educational needs or demand that their children be respectful, pay attention, and get good grades through threats and intimidation to their children. But threats and intimidation don't work, but encouragement, guidance, support, and assistance do work. Parents of school-age children often need instructions on the best way to meet their children's educational needs. Instructional classes for parents in public schools should be developed and given so that the parents can obtain the skill sets they need. If necessary you should require and pay them to attend this instruction. The cost of doing this is far less than the cost of providing an inadequate education of the student, and the disciplinary cost to the school. And parents need to be informed of what is expected of their children in regard to classroom discipline and decorum, study habits, homework, and basic hygiene. They also need to be informed that if their child becomes a problem child or a physically or verbally abusive child, they will be dealt with accordingly.
In many of our schools, the animals are now running the zoo. This needs to stop immediately, and the zookeepers are put back in charge of the zoo (and to those politically correct readers who object to my description I say stop the nonsense and focus on the problem). Classroom discipline will be enforced, and they will behave, they will learn, and they can have fun. The students need to be informed from the beginning of what is expected of them, and what the consequences are for not meeting expectations, and that the consequences will be implemented when they don't meet expectations. No quarter is to be given or taken when it comes to these expectations.
I say, 'Let Teachers Teach!'. Teachers spend years in college learning how to teach, the best methods of teaching, and how to manage a classroom, all to obtain their teaching degree. And then they get a teaching position we often burden them with rules, regulations, and procedures, excessive paperwork, demands for detailed lesson plans, and often specific directions in the minutia of their efforts. No wonder may teachers give up, burn out, and simply don't care anymore. They went into teaching to teach, and not to have their teaching lives controlled by Parents, Students, other Teachers, Administrators, Bureaucrats, Lawyers and Judges, Politicians, and Unions. Free the teacher to teach, but once they are free make them responsible for the outcomes. Judge them by how well their students achieved the proficiencies requires at the end of the school year. Accept no excuses for failure, but keep in mind and allow the external influences that may have interfered with their ability to teach an individual student.
And how are we to judge the success or failure of a teacher? Many would say that you test the students at the end of the year to determine if they have met their proficiencies. And I agree with this testing, and would also suggest testing in the middle of the school year as an aid to the teacher to determine those students who may require additional assistance to meet the proficiencies. But testing is not the only answer or the final answer. Testing cannot be formulated at a national or state level, as each school district needs different measures based on local factors and variables. Local school districts need to develop the testing criteria, applicable to their surroundings, with State oversight to assure some minimum standards. You need to keep in mind the local factors and variables and allow for the external influences that may have interfered with the teacher's ability to teach an individual student. For these factors and variables, you need the input of other teachers who have taught the student, the non-teacher aids who know the student, the grade or department chairpersons, guidance counselors or school psychologists, and the Vice-Principals and Principles of the school. A council of the appropriate personnel should be convened at the end of the school year and review the record of each student who didn't meet their proficiencies. This council would determine the responsibility of the teacher, and if the student should be advanced to the next grade, or the teacher needs remedial actions or dismissal. Of course, a teacher should have the ability to appeal a negative decision, but this appeal should not be tangled up in bureaucratic or legal webs, and it needs to be done expeditiously as to ensure that an incompetent or unworthy teacher cannot negatively impact other students.
Administrators should administer, and support the teachers in their efforts, and assure that the proficiencies required of the students are being met. They should not be involved in the minutia of teaching, but only assure that the teacher has the proper environment for teaching and the proper material for teaching. They should act as a buffer between the teacher and student against the other forces within the educational system. And so it is in all other working environments. I have learned through my own experience that one of the major tasks of a supervisor, manager, or officer of a company is to protect those below them from the vagrancies of those above them, to provide the environment and materials need for the worker to accomplish their goals, and to have the workers get the job done and done properly, within budget, and on time. So it should be with school administrators in the educational system.
Bureaucrats being bureaucrats they are more often concerned with following rules, regulations, and procedures rather than achieving results. To expect otherwise is to end up being disappointed. It is rare, and to be treasured when it happens, that a bureaucrat will bend the rules, regulations, and procedures in order to achieve the desired results. They often have this attitude to assure that they retain their jobs (although it is highly unlikely that they could lose their jobs as they are protected civil servants), or advance in their jobs, as they know that following the rules, regulations, and procedures is the only way to assure this. The only thing that can be done to change this situation is to change the rules, regulations, and procedures. But civil service laws and regulations, as well as bureaucratic inertia, makes this a very difficult thing to do.
Lawyers and Judges
Lawyers and Judges have too often intervened in the education system, to the detriment of the educational system. In today's lawsuit happy society anybody who is offended, or believes that an offense has occurred (no matter how trivial), will file a lawsuit. And when lawyers and the legal system gets involved you can be assured that you will probably end up with a total mess. The time, effort, and monies expended to sort the situation out can be exorbitant. The final solution could be so convoluted as to make it extremely difficult and expensive to implement, and the fear of a lawsuit makes people alter their actions which are usually detrimental to the ultimate goal of the educational system; providing a quality education for all students. To those who would threaten to file a lawsuit, or file a lawsuit, I would say, 'Get the hell out of the way'. Remember that the purpose of the educational system is to provide the best education for an individual student, and for all the students in the educational system.
And Judges and Lawyers should keep this in mind if a lawsuit or potential lawsuit interferes with either of these goals. They should reconsider the lawsuit if it does so, and remember that one student, or a small group of students, should not be able to interfere with the other students getting a quality education. Suits and judgments should be based on these criteria, and that they should rule based on these criteria.
Lawyers and Judges should also keep in mind that they are not experts in educating children and that they often lack the knowledge and experience that is in the best interests an individual student, or all of the students, in the educational system. For them to get involved in the minutia of the educational system usually leads to unwise decisions and a negative impact on the educational system.
Politicians often have one of the worst impacts on the educational system. They often propose solutions to the problems of the educational system based on wishful thinking, political correctness, appeals to special interests groups, as a wedge issue to garner votes for themselves or against their opponents, and economic concerns not based on economics. They are often short-sighted and do not consider the non-tangible impacts of their proposed solutions. They can also be very parochial and do not wish to support other educational systems needs if there is no benefit to their local educational system. Not to mention that they often propose solutions that sound good but have no substance behind them.
But politics is politics, and this has always been so and will continue to be so. The question is what can we do about this situation? Unfortunately, the answer is almost nothing. For a politician to take a strong firm stance on educational reform, based on reality, is often a death knell to their career, and politicians will often only take positive actions when disaster strikes.
The only solution to the political problem of education reform is for the educational reform grassroots to unite upon a common set of goals for educational reform, and specific actions they want to be implemented. The naysaying factions, the divisive factions, the parochial interests, and the special interest factions, need to be marginalized. And the best way to marginalize them is to make clear to the politicians that their career is in jeopardy if they don't support and implement the common goals and specific actions the grassroots are demanding. The educational reform grassroots need to politically organize, not based on party labels or factions or interests, but on their recommend goals and specific actions. They should work to elect politicians who will support their goals and specific actions and to oppose a politician who will not support their goals and specific actions. If this is done the politicians will fall in line.
An individual teacher is often noble, but when they join a union they seem to lose some of their nobility, and become a little nutsy and lose some common sense. They become more concerned with following rules, regulations, and procedures of the contract, rather than achieving the desired result of proving a quality education for their students. And Unions being Unions they often lose sight of the big picture and focus on just the needs of their union members (see my observation on " Unions" ). As far a public education is concerned the big picture is the only important picture, and that is providing a quality education for an individual student and all students. The educational union needs to keep this in mind when negotiating a contract and adjust their demands appropriately to meet the goal of providing a quality education for an individual student and all students.
And I believe that these problems are inherent in today's Public Schools. This makes it a systemic problem, and systemic problems are not easily correctable if they are correctable at all. So, I believe that the current system should be discarded, and replaced with one that has one and only one focus. All the laws, rules, regulations and procedures, and all the Parents, Students, Teachers, Administrators, Bureaucrats, Lawyers and Judges, Politicians, and Unions should focus on what is best an individual student and for all students to obtain a quality education and to meet the proficiencies required of them. You need to be careful that in doing what's best for an individual student you don't negatively impact the other students. Not an easy task, but worthwhile tasks are not easy tasks, but they need to be done.
The Wrong Approach
Besides the systemic failure of School Districts, you have a failure of the educational approach of these school districts. Instead of emphasizing basic skills and classroom discipline, they are concerned with building self-esteem, social awareness, and peaceful interactions between all. While these goals may be laudable, they are not the purpose of public schools! The purpose of public schools is to provide an education that will help the student succeed when they become an adult and enter the workplace. The other purpose is to teach students how to think, not what to think. Too often today public schools are indoctrination centers for liberal-progressive ideologies and policies. This needs to stop, and teachers should be concerned with critical thinking skills. Teach students how to question, how to analyze, and how to reason. Informal and formal logic, as well as logical fallacies and cognitive biases education, is critically important in today's society. All other concerns should be secondary to this, and until you provide for the core proficiencies (more on this later) the other concerns need not be addressed. These other concerns are and should be the primary concern of parents, with assistance from family, friends, neighbors, and religious institutions, and not from the public schools.
Some would ask why can't we do both? My answer is that we have been trying to both for decades, without any improvement in the educational achievements of the students. As this approach has not achieved the primary goal of public schools, it should be abandoned for the goal of obtaining core proficiencies and improving educational achievement that will assist the student when they become adults and enter the workplace.
If you examine carefully those School Districts who are failing educationally you will discover one common tie that binds them. While there may be other factors that contribute to poor educational achievement, the School Districts that have had decades of one-party rule, with one educational approach, have failed the most. And this one-party rule has been the Liberal/Progressive Democrats.
The school buildings and the materials within them are often, and especially in urban school districts, a disaster. They are often a converted building that started their life for another purpose, or they are so old that they cannot meet the needs of modern education. Some schools are so decrepit that they can be a danger to the students, teachers, and administrators who inhabit them. Indeed, some are unfit for human habitation. The materials within them are out-of-date and are inadequate to the needs of modern education. The physical classroom sizes vary, but the number of students in a classroom usually doesn't vary to fit the classroom size. And this situation needs to be rectified.
Infrastructure is one area of public education in which I believe that there can and should be federal as state government intervention. Low-cost loans, or grants, should be supplied to replace school buildings and materials to meet the needs of 21st-century education. And this needs to be done immediately. If we can send a man to the moon in less than 10 years we can replace our school buildings and materials in less than 10 years.
My wife being a teacher, and me being a computer consultant, I believe I am uniquely qualified to comment upon the current state of technology in education. In short, 'It Sucks'. Our current public-school system was created in the 20th century and reflects that in the way that they use 21st-century technology. The shame of it is that it would not take a significant effort to make major improvements. A little time and money would be well spent to bring educational technology into the 21st century. Three things could be done in short order that could make a significant difference.
The first of these are textbooks. How many of us have seen a child going to or coming from school, and marveled at this size and weight of the backpacks (resulting in physiological stress on the student's body) that the students utilize? This is ridiculous in the 21st century. A modern tablet or laptop computer weighs less, and takes up less space, and would contain everything that is in a backpack in an easily transported form factor. Textbooks would be distributed via a microchip inserted into the tablet or laptop. These textbooks could contain much more information, in a better presentable format, that is currently available in the printed text box. Such things as pictures, animations, videos, and hyperlinks to websites for further information could be easily inserted into an electronic textbook. The students could also use these tablets or laptops for the purposes of note-taking. It has the additional benefit of getting them acclimated to the use of modern technology in everyday life, which they will be doing once they graduate from the public-school system.
The next of these is record-keeping and testing. There is absolutely no need, in the 21st century, for paper record-keeping that is all too commonplace in the public-school system. All forms could easily be accessed via the teacher's tablet or laptop filled out more readily and stored at the school district headquarters computer system. This also avoids the possibility of lost or misfiled records, as well as assuring that all records are completed properly and on time. The teachers should be able to create tests electronically, that would automatically be available on the student's tablet or laptop, and that could automatically grade the test. All of this would significantly reduce the administrative burden on a teacher, and allow them to spend more time teaching.
Finally, I have seen how much time and effort is put into creating lesson plans. In my opinion, this is totally unnecessary and burdensome to the teacher. A central database of lesson plans could be accessed by the teacher and modified appropriately by the teacher to be apropos for their students. This database of approved lesson plans could be contributed to, and review by, highly qualified teachers and lesson planning. This database of lesson plans could be done on a local, regional, or state level to assure its breadth and depth.
Core Proficiencies K-8
Much has been said about 'Core Curriculum', a Federal Government program to establish K-12 educational standards and curriculum. Although the program is 'voluntary', states and local school districts could lose federal funding if they do not 'volunteer' (when a criminal enterprise utilizes this method to obtain compliance to its demands we call it 'Extortion'). However noble the goals of Core Curriculum may be, like every other Federal program it will come with rules, regulations, procedures, and bureaucrats to implement. And as teaching is one of the most individual one-on-one activities of government direction from on-high is doomed to failure. Waste, fraud, and abuse will also follow, as waste fraud, and abuse is a normal part of any governmental activity. And most of this waste will be in the effort, time, and monies (and by now you should realize how much I hate to waste effort, time, and monies in any human endeavor or government activity).
I say that all Parents, Students, Teachers, Administrators, Bureaucrats, Lawyers and Judges, Politicians, and Unions should have but one goal, and that all effort, time, and monies should be utilized to meet that goal. And that goal is to assure that a student has obtained a core proficiency at the end of the school year. If the student has not obtained the core proficiency at the end of the year they cannot advance to the next year, as that would be useless, as the next year's proficiencies builds upon the previous year's proficiency. The Teachers, Administrators, and Bureaucrats should be judged on how well they have achieved this goal. The Lawyers and Judges, Politicians, and Unions should only be involved in assuring the proper funding and support is available to achieve this goal, and they should not be involved in the minutia of how the Teachers, Administrators, and Bureaucrats achieve this goal.
And what are these core proficiencies? Below is my list of what I think should be the core proficiency to be achieved at the end of each grade level, and how often they should be taught in the classroom. The unanswered question is what constitutes the achievement of a core proficiency? For the answer to this question, I would defer to the experts opinions on this subject. My goal is to simply state what needs to be learned at the end of a school year, to assure that the student has the core proficiency that is required to be able to advance and learn at the next level. If the student does not have the core proficiency at the end of the year they are probably doomed to fail at the next year's core proficiencies.
- Alphabet, Words, and Reading
- Spelling, Grammar, and Syntax
- Sentences, Paragraphs & Composition
- Literature (Fiction & Non-Fiction)
- Poetry, Verse, & Plays
- American Literature
- English Literature
- World Literature
- Addition & Subtraction
- Multiplication & Division
- Fractions & Decimals
- Weights & Measures
- Basic Algebra
- Basic Algebra Word Problems
- Basic Geometry and Trigonometry
- Basic Formal Logic
Social Studies (daily)
- Neighborhoods & Municipalities
- Counties & States
- Federal Government & Federalism
- US History I (1600 through 1820)
- US History II (1821 through 1899)
- US History III (1900 through present)
- World History I (Ancient 9,000 BC through 1699 AD)
- World History II (Modern 1700 AD through Today)
- Geology & Meteorology
- Taxonomy & Zoology
- Botany & Entomology
- Oceanography & Ornithology
- Paleontology & Climatology
- Classical Physics
- Modern Physics
Health & Home Economics (1 period per week)
- Hygiene & Grooming
- Nutrition & Eating Properly
- Medical & Dental Health
- Alcohol and Drugs
- Mental Health (feelings & disorders)
- Emotional & Physical Control
- Personal Relationships
- Manners & Politeness
Music (2 periods per week)
- Listening & Hearing Instruments
- Listening & Hearing Groups of Instruments
- Musical Notation and Playing an Instrument I
- Musical Notation and Playing an Instrument II
- American Music - Folk, Ragtime, Jazz, Big Band, Vocalists, Pop & Rock, Jive, Rap, and Hip-Hop
- World Music - African, Asian, Central-South American
- Classical Music - Ancient through Classic Period
- Classical Music - Romantic, Impressionism, & Modern Period
Art (2 periods per week)
- Basic drawing and painting
- Intermediate drawing and painting
- Advanced drawing and painting
- Clay sculpturing and modeling
- Fine Art History - European Ancient, Middle Ages, Renaissance and the Baroque
- Fine Art History - European Modern Neoclassicism, Romantic, and Realism
- Fine Art History - European Impressionism and Modern Post Impressionism
- Fine Art History - North American, African, Asian, Central-South American
Physical education is not grade dependent, but it is very important in the development of a child. It provides exercise and fitness, release from the tensions of the classroom, and the learning of how to play within the rules and with others, as well as how to work as a team. As such physical education should be available at all grade levels and as often as possible within public schools.
High School Subjects
High school for many is where they choose to concentrate their studies. Whether it be academic, commercial, artistic, or a trade, all High School students should be exposed to the following subjects as they are needed to function in today's society.
- "Reasoning" and "Dialog & Debate"
- Introduction to Statistics & Probability
- Scientific Inquiry and Methods plus Basic Engineering Techniques
- Historical Documents:
- The Declaration of Independence
- The Constitution of the United States
- The "Documents, Letters and Speeches" from my observation of this title
- The Constitution of the State they reside in
- Personal Finances (utilizing a basic home bookkeeping computer program):
- Money Management and Tracking
- Planning & Budgeting
- Income and Expenses Tracking
- Credit Cards and Checking Purchases
- Saving & Investing
- Loans and Mortgages
I would suggest that each topic would be a half school year study, spread over four years, with two periods per week for each subject.
My Own Public School Education
My Own Public-School Education illuminates some other issues and concerns about public schools. It is mainly a story of do-gooders and bureaucratic inflexibility. When I was of pre-school age I had four very good friends with whom I chummed around with. We did everything together, from the time we woke up and left our houses, until the time we had to go back to our houses. We were the best of friends.
When it came time to enter school we were admitted base on unusual admittance criteria. Our school district had an admittance based on your age and time period of birth. This meant that if you were born in a six-month time period you were admitted to your school starting in September, the other six-month time period were admitted to your school starting in January (known as the 'A' and 'B' subdivision). Three of my friends were in the 'B' subdivisions (as they were several months older), and my other friend and I were in the 'A' subdivision (as we were born two days apart). My 'B' friends were to start school in January, while my 'A' friend and I were to start the next September. This meant that we would be separated in our education. A local person who was familiar with our situation, and who had influence in the school district, thought that it would be a shame for such good friends to be separated. She, therefore, arranged for my 'A' friend and me to be admitted in January with our 'B' friends, nine months before were should have been admitted, in order to keep the friends together. While this was very nice of her, it had unforeseen consequences several years later.
Several years later the school district decided to eliminate the 'A' and 'B' system. In their infinite wisdom, they decided to promote all 'B' students to the 'A' classes. This meant that my 'A' friend and I were promoted, which effectively meant that we were a year ahead of where we would normally be. This is why my 'A' friend and I graduated from High School two weeks after we turned seventeen. For both my 'A' friend and I this turn of events had negative repercussions. Both my 'A' friend and I were poor students, and we barely graduated as we had mostly D grades and a few C grades throughout our Public-School education. I cannot comment, as I don't know, the reasons for my 'A' friends problems in school, but I have examined the reasons for my problems as a student.
It is a well-known fact in the Dawson family that the Dawson men mature later in their adolescence. They remain, little boys until they hit fifteen or sixteen years of age. And so it was true of me. I had no interest in learning while attending public school. I had no study or homework habits to speak of and did not apply myself in the classroom. My brain and emotional responses simply hadn't developed sufficiently for me to be a good student. I spent most of my time in the classroom looking out the window and waiting for school to end so that I could explore my neighborhood or play with my friends. And I mostly explored my neighborhood, as there were a woods about a block away from my house, and I loved going there at all times to observe nature. My other interests were Boy Scouts (again because of the Nature interaction) and Church activities.
I didn't mature until I was sixteen, my senior year of high school, but it was too late. By that time I didn't have the grades, proficiencies, and skills I needed to attend college. Fortunately, in my senior year of high school, I discovered computers, a somewhat new arena, and fell in love with them. I attended a trade school for computer programming and started my lifelong career in the Information Technology field.
What my life would have been like if I had not been advanced one year in my public-school education, or had been delayed by one year because of my immaturity, I can only conjecture. I suspect that I would have been a much better student, and maybe have obtained the grades, proficiencies, and skills I needed to attend college. Many people who know me are very surprised by my lack of a college degree, given the knowledge I possess. After falling in love with computers, and meeting many interesting and knowledgeable people in the computer field, I fell in love with knowledge. So I became Autodidact, which is the reason for my current knowledge. A few of those people I know and are familiar with my knowledge have commented that I should have obtained an advanced college degree, and should have been a Professor so that I could impart my knowledge and wisdom to others. But Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be), and instead I hope to impart my knowledge and wisdom through these observations.
The point of this story is not about me, but about how schools should deal with their students. Instead of superficial emotional reasons, or inflexible bureaucrat rules and regulations, School Administrators and Teachers need to focus on the individual student needs and abilities and do what is best for the student.
Finally, I am reminded of the words of Ronald Reagan that are a corollary to our current educational system:
General Secretary Gorbachev, if you
seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and
Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this
gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this
- Ronald Reagan Remarks at the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall
And so, I would say to all of us that if we wish to provide a quality education for all our students, it is time to tear down the current educational system and open the gates to a new and better educational system. And as far as education reform is concerned we must adopt the motto:
you are part of the problem of a failed educational system.