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May 16, 2006



Interesting ideas. As a parent and not an educator, I have been "working" in public education for over a decade. One of my concerns is that nature educators, by nature of their career choice, believe that they can make everyone better. So, even in non-union,non-tenure states, no one gets fired. I think this is, in part, because of a fear that the administrator has that the teacher won't have anything else to fall back on. After all, they majored in education. So, I really like your idea to major in something other than education.

If there were unlimited funds, I wish new teachers could be paired with good, experienced teachers their first year.

I also believe that we must hold parents accoutable. They must participate in their child's education, even if it is simply attending parent-teacher conferences. If we don't find a way to engage parents, most reform efforts will fail.

Brad Hoge

This is somewhat along the lines of what I plan to suggest in a future entry, but I'll have to think it through a lot more. I do think the way to evaluate our success lies in the future success of students, rather than testing, so a way to structure funding along these lines is intriguing. I'll get back to you on this one.

Brad Hoge

I agree that there needs to be a way to seperate the truly difficult kids from mainstream classrooms, but where do they go? Do we provide alternate schools? Do we let them roam the streets? As my original title suggests, I'm playing the devil's advocate, so I'm being argumentative in hopes of developing some new ideas. I don't think that we, as a society, can just cast them aside and hope they go away.

And, what if they are clinically depressed, or in such a bad home environment that they can't concentrate on school and/or are legitimately angry at adults? What alternatives do we have for these kids? Or, rather, what alternatives can we, and should we, provide?


I've a single suggestion that would encompass much of what has been said and will go a long way to solving a variety of problems. When a student demonstrates, through bad behavior, utter lack of effort (we all know these kids), or both that they are not playing their necessary part in education, every school should have the right to remove them from school (sure, due process applies) for their own good and the good of other students. Such kids are only a drag on the resources of schools and are often harmful.

Brad Hoge

Thanks for your comment, and I agree that we need to revamp teacher education. I too would like to see more apprenticeships in teacher education, and less "education" coursework. I suggest a five year plan partly to allow for this type of approach as well as potentially increasing content knowledge. Teachers need more respect, and a more "professional" degree, such as an engineer's, might help. I'm sure I'll blog a lot more about this, so I appreciate your input. Thanks.


Wow, that is provocative. I like some of the ideas, but others... Five years to train a teacher? Maybe five years to reach some level, like master or yeoman or whatever. Just like it isn't easy to predict a good teacher based solely on intelligence or academic achievement, ed schools also can't unfailingly produce a good teacher. Perhaps we could loosen up teacher qualification rather than increase the same ol' thing.

I'd like to see more apprentice-type training. And how about more school choice? We really still don't know what works best. A good way to get closer to knowing would be to let parents have more of a role in choosing and shaping education.

If you truly want the whole community involved, you have to allow choice. The public school system has this idea of a teacher led kind of group effort where they give out the jobs and the community rushes out to fulfil them, no questions asked.

But I love the idea of fewer school years. Kids should have the option of getting out into the work place earlier if they wish. College shouldn't be the only goal of high school. There is no shame in other types of pursuits. Personally, I don't see why a person couldn't finish studying on one's own rather than go back to high school later in order to then go on to college. Collges have placement tests after all.

Enjoyed reading the post.

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