I'd like to spend much of this year expanding on this paradigm.
I haven't been blogging for awhile, though my students have been contributing to HUNBlog. I will try to write my own entries throughout this semester, primarily on my thoughts about this new paradigm, but on other things too.
Anyway, here goes:
Let's start from scratch. Let's assume that there has never been public education but we now realize the need for it. In today's milieu, what do we need to do to insure the best education for every student?
Here are a few ideas I want to develop. I'll be brief and general at this point. Let me know what you think and we'll see where this goes:
School is not a centralized location. Students should meet with their teachers in a variety of locations, such as informal science centers, museums, public libraries, parks, plants, factories, office buildings, government buildings, etc. Accomodations and transportation can be arranged, and integrated curricula can be developed. A centralized school can be used for some lessons, test taking, assemblies, etc.
Curricula should be integrated across all disciplines.
Technology should be used to provide resources to students at all age levels. I'm not talking a lap top for every student, that's already obsolete. I'm talking about something along the lines of a pda/phone. Textbooks, internet access, podcasts, bulleting boards, etc. should be utilized to communicate to students and collect assignments (electronically). Come on, seriously, if we're starting from scratch, isn't this a no-brainer?
Content standards can be assessed through standardized tests, but this should only be half of the students final grades. The other half should be performance based. Students should have to show that they can apply what they've learned to actual tasks.
Funds for public education should come from the industry and businesses that benefit from a well educated population. Businesses and industry should be taxed according to the number of employees, and funds should be distributed to schools/school districts according to the number of students they educate (with some adjustments for cost of living differences, perhaps).
Funding should be coordinated at the federal level. National standards should be developed for the integrated curriculum, with content strands and expected outcomes for skills, but there should be plenty of room for teachers to adapt the guidelines to their student's specific needs. Teachers should be paid well, and they should be trusted to develop appropriate curricula and assessment for their students.
Okay, have at it!