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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Something To Think About in Public Education

From the Principal's blog:

Time to Focus on the 4 Kinds of Smart.

I think we may be at a turning point for public education, but what do I know (please don’t answer… or send me insulting/truthful emails).There May Be More, But This Picture Indicates There Are Only Four Types of Smart.
In ten years, the world of education may be overtaken by home schooling, charter schools, and online learning (this interweb thing really seems to be catching on).
This makes me a little sad because I’m a big fan of public education (almost as big of fan as I am of chocolate).
But it’s all I know.
Maybe there is a better way.
Maybe our students can be better served by another type of system.
Maybe, just maybe, a system that relied less ongovernment funding could better educate our children.
I don’t want to sound crazy, but schools might be better off if they didn’t have to answer to politicians (a crazy thought I know, but I’m just throwing it out there).
Here’s what I do know.
Public schools try to be everything to everybody.
We teach.  We serve breakfast.  We make sure kids know how to drive.
We offer exercise (if you count PE).  We put a whole lot of students on the Honor Roll. 
We teach kids how to type (why… I don’t know).
We provide sports and after school activities. 
We provide things we can’t afford and spend money in ways that may not be fiscally responsible.
To summarize, we try and do so much that we probably set ourselves up for failure.
My latest theory is we need to downsize.
Focus in on what students actually need.
Focus on things our country could actually benefit from since our students will be the ones leading us in 20 years.
I see 4 types of smart in students.
Academic.  Athletic.  Vocational.  The Arts.
Not 100% of all kids fall into one of these categories, but 99% of them do.
Common sense tells me we should identify what a student is good at and then help them be great.
Yet, we sort of identify what a kid is good at then we try to make them the same level of good in the other areas.
Mediocrity seems to be our goal.
Academic kids should be thrown in rigorous programs at a very young age.
Athletic kids should be given the opportunity to maximize their skills.
Vocational students should learn the skills they need to keep this country growing.
Students who thrive in the Arts should be allowed to do just that.
I think it’s simple.
And I think we make it complicated.

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