What's missing in today's schools..?519

jycmba private msg quote post Address this user
For some time I've been reflecting on how there's a huge gap between what is taught in our education systems and what's actually needed in today's world..

If you haven't heard Sir Ken Robinson here's a video that's a great recap -

What do you believe needs to be taught in schools today?
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Belew private msg quote post Address this user

I am as fascinated by the video and how it is put together, the way the story is told as I am about the content.

The SKR is a thought leader for sure, not a thought follower. He needs more than 11 minutes to get his point across.

What do I think needs to be taught in school?

I should know the answer to this because I have a 1st grader.

She is learning phonetics, cursive handwriting, memorization of classics (Bible) and good stories. What she'll learn from me is to be courageous, to be kind, to try, to fail, to get up = character.

Oh ... and she needs to learn how to blog. You can read some of her stuff at
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Lloyd_Lofthouse private msg quote post Address this user
I have a Blog devoted to this topic and I spend hours daily following the conversations and posts that appear on Diane Ravitch's Blog.

In a (large) nut shell, the public schools in the U.S. must be led from the bottom up and not the top down as they are today.

The U.S. should have an early childhood education program that is operated out of the transparent, non-profit, democratically run public schools, and children as young as two should be allowed to attend and attendance should be mandatory for children living in poverty. France has a program like this that started more than 30 years ago. In that thirty years, poverty went from 16% to less than 6% today.

I think teacher training should be modeled after teacher residency programs in the U.S. and not Teach for America (TFA) that's sham and a fraud.

Testing should only be the prerogative of teachers to help them access the needs of their students---no standardized testing with use of VAM to fire teachers and close public schools. Finland does this---no standardized tests and teachers are in charge.
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Belew private msg quote post Address this user

Doesn't seem like there is any easy answer.

Where should we start, Lloyd?
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Belew private msg quote post Address this user
I wrote a series of posts at another site I co-own on how to be a more creative speaker.

20 Ways to Be a More Creative Public Speaker – The Index

There are things you can proactively do to increase your creativity.

Creativity is not just something some people have and others don't. Creativity is something some people develop and others don't ... usually.

My son is super creative - here's some things he has done to my Wilby character for example.

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jycmba private msg quote post Address this user
Here are some key skills I wished they had taught me in school..

1) how to prioritize & time management - Stephen Covey's 7 habits should be mandatory reading!

2) how to sell - no matter what you do in life you need to learn how to be persuasive or get across your view, whether it's applying for college or getting a raise (not even talking about your own business)

3) how to connect - social media is now a fact of life; understanding how to play well with others isn't just a maxim - it's now life & death!
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jycmba private msg quote post Address this user
..oh, and most of all, how to learn!
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jycmba private msg quote post Address this user
@Lloyd_Lofthouse - but y, standardized tests don't cover any of these, of course!
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Belew private msg quote post Address this user

Someone should have taught me how to be more friendly.

I have had a hard time with that all my life.

My kids are good kids but they don't have a huge circle of friends. Too much like their old man.
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jycmba private msg quote post Address this user
That's an interesting question.. but I'm guessing that regardless of whether any of us do seems like speaking or "networking" -

Most of the folks here are probably introverted. There's a common misconception that introverted just means "shy" or even "antisocial" -

In reality it has to do more with their tendency to introspect or preference to take in their world..

There's a few good posts on this but I like this YouTube video a lot -
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Belew private msg quote post Address this user
19 minutes and 4 second later ... I realize I have seen this TED talk before.

But it resonated more with me this time. Thanks for putting it here @jycmba.

I remember making the decision to go in the Navy. I was so afraid of leaving my friends. I didn't think I was an extrovert or introvert at the time. I didn't even know the words. But I knew that I thought I needed my friends and I was afraid I would find myself alone.

After 5+ years in the Navy I learned how much I didn't mind being alone. I learned that I could deal with being alone and sometimes, often?, preferred it.

I am not sure what I want to say here. But I do know how much I like being by myself. And when asked to, I will step out and share, but then hurriedly return to my hideaway.

She mentioned her grandfather who often cut conversations short because he was afraid of taking up other's time. I had never heard of anybody else doing that ... I do it often.
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jycmba private msg quote post Address this user
Yes, it is a funny zen truism that "when the student is ready, the teacher appears" -

I've often found the same thing.. that sometimes we're presented with the lesson but we're not ready for it.

As marketers, it's a great reminder that often the customer might be interested - but just not now.

They may be having a bad day - or be distracted by any number of life's moments.

There's a reason why that "7 touches" rule applies.

But me, too - before I joined the Navy, I had nothing to learn. After I joined, I realized how much I had to learn!
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Lloyd_Lofthouse private msg quote post Address this user
How should we start?

First, get rid of the Common Core (so-called) State Standards and the rank and yank testing agenda that goes with those standards---the top scoring countries on the PISA do not use annual student test results to fire teachers and close public schools. Instead, these countries poor money into teacher training and support.

Second, fund all public schools equally---raise taxes if that's what it takes. The U.S. has the worst fair and balanced funding for its public schools in the developed world. For instance, in the United States, schools in wealthy communities end up with the most money per student while schools in areas with high levels of poverty have the lowest funding with schools often in need of repairs and upgrades.

Third, start work on developing a national early childhood education program that DOES NOT turn the program over to the corporations and the private sector to implement and profit off of. France launched its early childhood education program more than thirty years ago and kept it in the public schools, and France also gathers all of its educatoin dollars in one pot and then shares that money equally to all their public schools.

Do you know what it takes to teach in France's early childhood education program? The teacher has to have a masters degree in that field and go through a full-time, year-long internship with a master teacher in addition to follow-up support after those teachers start work.

Fourth, implement a program for teacher certification that mirrors the best practices that evidence shows works best---for instance, a program simliar to an urban residency where future teachers intern in a classroom full time with a master teacher for one full school year.

Fifth, do what they do in Finland---let the teachers make curriculum decisions and work together in cooperative teams to decide how to teach that curriculum based on the individual needs of each school. Yes, Finland has a Core of Standards but Finland lets the teachers decide what to teach from that standards list and how to teach, and Finland does not test students annually and then use the results to rank teachers and then fire them when the student test results don't show benchmarked improvements.
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Belew private msg quote post Address this user

Indeed you have thought this through. What is your interest in schooling?

Do you have kids in school?

I have a first grader despite my age.

We think and discuss these things often at home.

What about home schooling? Where's that fit in?
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Lloyd_Lofthouse private msg quote post Address this user
My interest in schooling?

I was a public school teacher in California for thirty years (1975-2005).

In fact, I have a memoir out about one of those years---the one year where I decided to keep a daily journal that went into great detail about what was going on in my classroom and at the school/district where I taught. About 17 years after I wrote that journal, I took it off the shelf in the garage, dusted it off and read through it to see if there was enough material for a memoir. Two years later, that memoir was published.
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Belew private msg quote post Address this user

How about the kids you taught that year?

Have you considered doing a "Where are they now?"

That'd be interesting, no?
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Lloyd_Lofthouse private msg quote post Address this user
Where does home schooling fit in?

Home schooling fits if the parents are dedicated to make it work. In fact, I taught a ninth grade student who had been home schooled through 8th grade , but then he demanded being with children his own age and his parents allowed him to attend the high school where I was teaching at the time.

The parents met with their son's 9th grade counselor and asked her to please place him with the toughest teachers and that was how he ended up in one of my four 9th grade English classes where I recognized Keith's writing abilities and recruited him into the one journalism class I worked with that produced the high school's international, national, state and regionally recognized award winning student newspaper.

The last time I had an e-mail from Kieth he was working as a network news anchor (CBS, I think) out a midsized city in Southern California south of Palm Springs. As a senior in HS, he was the editor-in-chief of that high school newspaper and that same year he managed to intern from a local regional newspaper in the private sector. He had terrible handwriting but with word processors, who cares.
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Belew private msg quote post Address this user
What's the boy doing now?
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Lloyd_Lofthouse private msg quote post Address this user
Where are they now?

A few students have kept in touch and/or contacted me through e-mails, but during those thirty years, I worked with about 6,000 students and even for the seven years I was the adviser/teacher for the one journalism class, I worked with about 200 - 300 students in that class alone.
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Rev private msg quote post Address this user
What's scary about this is that the so-called "Greatest Nation on Earth" -- no silly, the U.S., not Chins! -- is now performing at something like 21st in Reading, 24th in Science, and 31st in Math, when compared with the other top 35 developed countries. China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Germany, Finland, Canada, and even Estonia, are all among the top dozen or so, in differing order for each subject. American exceptionalism doesn't seem to be so exceptional any more.

Of course, a recent survey across the U.S. tells it all. When asked the question, "What do you think about the general state of ignorance and apathy in America these days?" the number one answer was, "I don't know and I don't care!" ;o)
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Lloyd_Lofthouse private msg quote post Address this user

The rankings you are talking about are the average scores, but when we break the ranking down by socioeconomic levels, the United States does a lot better.

I'll let this Stanford study explain what I mean (You might want to click on the link and read the entire report).

The Stanford Report says, Poor ranking on international test misleading about U.S. student performance, Stanford researcher finds

As a result of the new information, the U.S. rankings on the 2009 PISA test in reading and math would rise, respectively, to sixth from 14th and to 13th from 25th after controlling for social class differences and a sampling error by PISA and after eliminating between-country differences that are statistically too small to meaningfully affect a country’s ranking.

There is an achievement gap between more and less disadvantaged students in every country; surprisingly, that gap is smaller in the United States than in similar post-industrial countries, and not much larger than in the very highest scoring countries.

Achievement of U.S. disadvantaged students has been rising rapidly over time, while achievement of disadvantaged students in countries to which the United States is frequently unfavorably compared – Canada, Finland and Korea, for example – has been falling rapidly.

U.S. PISA scores are depressed partly because of a sampling flaw resulting in a disproportionate number of students from high-poverty schools among the test-takers. About 40 percent of the PISA sample in the United States was drawn from schools where half or more of the students are eligible for the free lunch program, though only 32 percent of students nationwide attend such schools.
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Lloyd_Lofthouse private msg quote post Address this user
Do you have kids in school?

Had. Our daughter is 24. She went through the public schools k-12 and then went to Stanford. She graduated last June and landed a job before graduation that pays well and has great benefits.

Thinking that I knew the truth about what's going on in the public schools and that teachers can't do it all---teach the students and learn for them, I told our daughter back when she was six that learning was her responsibility---not the teachers.

She graduated from a public high school as a scholar athlete with a 4.65 GPA. She earned straight A's from third grade to high school graduation, and I think that happened because learning was her responsibility and not the 40 - 50 teachers she had. A teacher's job is to teach.

About a year after she graduated from high school, I asked her how many of her k-12 teachers were incompetent. She thought about it for a day and then said TWO, and she even learned in those classes because learning was her responsibility---not the teachers.

But today, thanks to all the propaganda, most of the children think learning is the responsibility of the teachers and this gives those children an excuse not to learn if they don't want to---after all if you listen to the corporate reform propaganda, everything is the lazy, incompetent teachers fault.

As parents, my wife and I shut off the television six days a week and only turned it on for about two hours on Sunday. We also took our daughter to the library every week and she became an avid reader, because their was no stupid tube to suck her brains out of her head while the average child in the U.S. watches several hours of TV every day and doesn't read much at all.

Our daughter did not have an internet connection in her bedroom. She also did not have a TV or video games.

Our daughter didn't get her first mobile phone until she was in high school and then it was for emergency use only. If the bill showed she was texting or talking to her friends, she would lose the phone.
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Rev private msg quote post Address this user

I like a lot of what you say, but I'm a little concerned with,

"A teacher's job is to teach."

While I agree in principle with that statement my concern lies in the definition of "teach" -- what does that really mean? And do teachers really teach?

I have raised four girls through school. The youngest one is still in college (straight A's in real subjects with a career n mind, a basketball scholarship, and nearly full-time hours at a job). I have volunteered in elementary schools, worked professionally in high schools and college, and home-schooled two children (one of my own and one belonging to family friends). My first wife was a high school math teacher and college counselor. And I have a little of formal and practical education myself.

I've seen the school system in two countries both from the inside and the outside. I am sadly unimpressed with the U.S. school system. I am aware of most of the issues, many of which have been outlined in this thread, but I feel a big part of the failure in the school system (and I do believe it has failed) is due to teachers not actually teaching.
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Lloyd_Lofthouse private msg quote post Address this user
If American teachers are not teaching today, that’s not because of them. They are told what to do and in the U.S. today public education is a top down process and the top starts in Washington DC with President Obama’s Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

In addition, thanks in part to Bill Gates, who has spent hundreds of millions and possibly billions supporting the fraud known as the Common Core State Standards that comes with high stakes testing that ranks teachers and schools according to the results of student test scores and then fires teachers and closes schools from those scores---no other country that ranks high in the PISA does this---teachers are teaching from scripted lessons linked to those PARCC tests that are linked to the Common Core standards that profit test companies, for instance, Pearson.

The top down started with President G. W. Bush’s 2001 No Child Left Behind Act that mandated the impossible by 2014 that 100% of children age 17/18 had to graduate from high school college and career ready. Do you know that no other country on the planet has ever achieved this in history to this day? Do you know of any profession where 100% of everyone achieves total success?

Here’s some homework if you are willing to spend the time and start learning about this issue:


Do you also know that the United States ranks 4th or 5th in the world for the ratio of adults age 25 and over who have earned college degree, but there are only enough jobs that require a college degree for about 1 out of every 3 college graduates in the United States?

In addition, because the U.S. has the 3rd largest population in the world behind China and India, that means America has more college graduates than any country on the planet----even more than China. In fact, China sends hundreds-of-thousands of its college age students to attend universities in the United States, because they don’t have enough college seats in China and the United States has more of the highest ranked universities in the world than any other country.

The so-called corporate education reform movement in the U.S. has nothing to do with improving k-12 education. The goal of this reform movement is profit driven.
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Steve private msg quote post Address this user
I'm so out of touch with the school system I don't feel able to add to this discussion, other than to say I wish funding for schools, salaries for teachers, etc... actually increased year on year... I'm fed up of hearing about cuts and not extra investment in this area.
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Belew private msg quote post Address this user

Here's how you get back in touch.

Have another kid.
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Steve private msg quote post Address this user
@Belew I think grandchildren are a better idea ... lol
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Belew private msg quote post Address this user

I half joke that my two sons, 33 and 29, wouldn't have grandkids so I showed them how to do it myself. That's why I have a 7 year old. She's the best things that has ever happened to me.

You should try it.
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Steve private msg quote post Address this user
@Belew did the showing work, do you have grandchildren as well as your wonderful daughter...
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tienny private msg quote post Address this user
@jycmba I do agree with your viewpoints on the 3 things schools need to teach.
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