Minnesota needs a K-12 revolution

  • Article by: Gary Marvin Davison
  • Updated: February 26, 2013 - 7:55 PM

And so does all of America. That would do justice to our children. To equality. To our democracy.

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eman2001Feb. 26, 13 8:00 PM

A lot of great ideas here. I went into teaching in my 40s and couldn't believe how similar schools were to the school that I had left 20 years before. A lot of rote learning. Not much critical thought. And an over-reliance on standardized tests. And the students and parents had taken over the schools, which made setting high standards nearly impossible.

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angleworm99Feb. 26, 13 8:14 PM

It's hard to believe a former teacher can have such a slanted view. While teacher's unions work hard to promote fair wages, they are far from being the problem in schools. In a local school district that my kids attend, 20% of the incoming 6th grade class is on an individual education plan due to learning disabilities or behavioral disorders. These kids are placed in classrooms of 29 - 35 kids and teachers are expected to modify work for each kid to adjust to their disability. The U.S. does need to make changes. It can not continue by trying to mainstream all kids in a public school. There needs to be some type of tracking system so that kids with average or above average ability have a chance to be challenged and succeed.

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jarlmnFeb. 26, 13 8:17 PM

If the author wants a *real* K-12 Revolution, lighting a match to the whole archaic mess, would be a better start. Our current system is a relic of the Industrial Age. To think that we still insist on blindly marching students through 12+ years of "education" by age-cohorts, rather than by learning ability, is astounding. We don't do that in higher education! The whole moronic "No Child Left Behind" business is based upon a student being left behind one's somehow 'sacred' age-cohort! It has *nothing* to do with actual learning. As the author seems to have correctly gathered, this moribund system is propped-up by the 'Teacher's Mafia' (unions and colleges) who have co-opted gullible and nostalgic parents into supporting the continuation of this travesty. "Hello, Child Abuse Hotline?"

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FrankLFeb. 26, 13 8:28 PM

Lets institute a liberal arts education when are children are behind in math and science. More trendy educational ideas. How about teaching them to read and write. How about writing assignments in every grade so that writing a coherent essay becomes second nature. Instead of a computer class in making a Powerpoint presentation, how about real programming which teaches logic, advanced thinking and organizational skills.

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my4centsFeb. 26, 13 8:33 PM

eman2001 - I don't know if I heard a lot of great ideas, but certainly some very valid criticisms of the current system. The author did overplay his criticism of vouchers however. Sure, there are not enough good private schools to accommodate the masses. But current schools and others would expand and grow once the demand were allowed to grow. Right now there is a limited subset of the population that can choose private schooling. Making that an option for the vast majority of students and families would result in many more private schools.

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benturnerFeb. 26, 13 9:58 PM

re: FrankLFeb. 26, 13 8:28 PM Lets institute a liberal arts education when are children are behind in math and science. More trendy educational ideas. How about teaching them to read and write.... Or how about we teach students the proper use of "our" and "are" as in "when OUR children are behind...."

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rshacklefordFeb. 26, 1310:00 PM

The article's title isn't strong enough in message. It should be: Minnesota's educational system needs to be completely razed and rebuilt! For example: when this state's educational system's union demands the same salary for "accessory/non-essential teachers" as those teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic, you know the union has a huge misunderstanding of how salary funding is to be properly distributed. Please explain why K-6 art, phyed, etc teachers are paid the same or more than any high school STEM teacher when everyone knows where this nation's educational priorities exist. Colleges can deny a kid's acceptance due to a poor understanding of basic, necessary STEM and reading/writing/speaking skills. Nowhere is a kid's BMI score required to be written on a college application.

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pumiceFeb. 26, 1310:46 PM

From the article: "The importance of a child’s brain development during the years from birth to age 5 is critical. But that development will languish if we inflict the present K-12 system upon that potentially bountiful brain." Followed by "We are forever creating diversions from waging the necessary revolution in K-12 education." Here's a thought: Replicate the best, innovative, brain researched-based teaching and learning practices from high quality pre-K programs for all children in Grades K-3. Work on literacy and numeracy in an atmosphere which provides security, sparks curiosity and nurtures all aspects of intelligence. Get all kids off to a good start. Build on that good start so every child has equal opportunity to succeed to the best of his/her ability.

One last thing--attract the best and brightest into teaching by making teaching respected and valued. Make teacher preparation rigorous. (Follow the model provided by Finland, South Korea and Singapore where teachers have strong unions and students rank at the top in international tests.)

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elmore1Feb. 26, 1311:42 PM

This is really a thought provoking article and exactly the kind of thinking that we need to reform education K through (I would add) secondary/college. Throwing buckets of money at education hasn't solved it yet. We need critical and innovative thinking and action. The Unions and the old guard are a big hurdle to reform because they have unquestioned control of the state DFL. I hope you have shaken enough people up to take positive action. Good luck!

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gcrileyFeb. 27, 13 6:34 AM

There needs to be some type of tracking system so that kids with average or above average ability have a chance to be challenged and succeed. --Will not happen till NCLB is repealled. These kids to not negatively impact results so they are not pushed. There is too much standardized testing when they take 2 weeks out of a school year to prep for tests.

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