Education

K-12

Problem: Educating children in Oregon is not a priority and our education system is stuck in the 20th century.

Why doesn’t Oregon have the best education system in the world? Every year a hand is held out for more $$ and the politicians say, “if we don’t get this tax increase, we’re going to cut teachers.” Why not cut art in public buildings? Or cut worthless bureaucrats? Why not cut state parks or DMV and DEQ? Why do they always threaten to cut teachers first? Because that’s what gets the reaction from the voters. Can you imagine what would happen if the politicians said, “If you voters don’t pass this tax, we’re going to cut 50% of DMV and DEQ budgets.” Haha! No wonder it never happens. And how much better have our schools become after receiving more and more $$ every year? They suck. They haven’t gotten better at all. It’s unacceptable, yet we accept it over and over again. If we get Crazy, we could have the best schools and the smartest kids in the world. Just 68 percent of Oregon high school students in the class of 2011 earned a diploma in four years. Unacceptable.

We live in a different world than our parents did, of course. There was a time when school kids learned to hide under their desks in the event of a nuclear attack. It made sense back then. Now, not so much. Kids used to rely solely on books, paper, and pencils to study, do homework, and take tests. They used to have to go to the library to do research.

Solution: Revamp the way we think about schools and the entire school system, bringing it into the 21st century; crowdsource the system and embrace technology; make educating children our number one priority so they are the best educated in the world.

Children need to learn different things and take full advantage of new technology as it presents itself. These are new days and our children need to learn different skills that should be taught in our schools but aren’t. We’re overlooking a lot of possibilities because we’re stuck in this mindset of how past generations have been taught schools should be and their roles in children’s lives. Not to mention, the ruling class like the schools the way they are, because their kids don’t have to go to them.

It’s 2014, but we’re still stuck with 20th century educational models and we need to move on. Let’s get a little Crazy and create an education system that blows away the world. Let’s crowdsource our school system and make our educational system revolutionary…something the rest of the world models their systems after. We can do it in Oregon but we need to step outside of the box. Not just tiptoe, but take a huge leap.

How can our schools prepare children for today’s world? We can teach them to be hyper-aware of their surroundings. They should learn CPR, disaster preparedness, and triage skills so they’re prepared to help others in a time of need. Living a healthy lifestyle should be on the list as well. I’m not talking about taking a class once in high school. These are skills that should be practiced and should become a part of regular life.

Think about it. If everyone at the Boston Marathon was paying attention to their immediate environment because they were raised that way and taught that in school, someone likely would have noticed a couple guys leaving backpacks laying around. They would have taken action and death could have been avoided.

Why are schools still using books(O)? Yeah, they’re nice and nostalgic, but they’re impractical and heavy. Lets give every child an iPad(N) and teach them responsibility by making them personally accountable for it. Let’s create an educational system using the latest technologies so curriculum is always up to date and teachers are less burdened by tedious tasks.

Kids should learn practical things early on, such as communication skills and how to use different platforms like social media (and any new technology that presents itself) to communicate with their friends, family, and the rest of the world. Not only how to use it, but what to watch out for so they can be safe. They’re going to use these things anyway, might as well properly prepare them.

Let’s teach them how to reason; how to be innovative; give them the skills they need to start a business out of their parents garage. Maybe teach them how to invent something and see it come to reality, possibly by using tools available on the internet. How to create a song, or how to teach someone to dance, or how to build things or how to manage people. Troubleshooting; how to borrow $$ and calculate how much a loan will cost; and figure out how to set themselves up for retirement are great skills that everyone can use throughout life. Ideas and innovation are a new currency that our children should be learning about. Not only are these skills great to have, but they will help children make wise decisions that improve their lives.

The possibilities are endless, but we need a system that allows for growth and a system that changes with the times. A system that caters to each individual child’s needs and abilities. Every single child is special and deserves the best we can give them. With the technology we have today, there’s no reason children can’t have everything available to them. But the old folks in charge don’t want that. They’d rather see Oregonian children suffer and be marginalized by the rest of the world.

Right now we’re failing children and we should be ashamed. “More $$” you say? All we need is to pay our teachers more and give them more time and smaller class sizes? We just need to throw more $$ at the system so we can build better schools and new football fields? It doesn’t make a damn bit of difference how nice a school is, or if the football field has real grass. Oh yeah, we need more $$ for our schools. More $$ doesn’t work, because our government and politicians have become way too good at wasting every cent we give them…and even more. Our schools could use some innovation and creativity, and balls. Not softballs, not hardballs, not rubber balls, or leather balls. Our schools need BIG balls. More $$ doesn’t work. We’ve seen that year after year.

Now’s the time to stop the excuses for the piss poor education children are subject to, and take immediate action to give children what they deserve…a top notch, best in the world education. We can get Crazy and give this to our deserving children RIGHT NOW. We just need to grow a pair and stand up to the powers that be. We need a Governor and leaders who aren’t afraid to step up and speak out so our kids are the best and brightest. We need to play Moneyball with our educational system!

Let’s start reform with a question: would you rather have your kids go to a public or private school? Most people will choose the private school. And for good reason! Private schools, for the most part have much better results. Yes, yes I know…there are different measures for success, and “results” is a subjective term because your friends special ed kid is “different” and doesn’t fit into standard definitions. Whatever. Kids are different and they shouldn’t all be put into the same bucket, because then they’re forced to the lowest common denominator. Smarter kids are forced down to the level of kids who aren’t as smart…or are smarter in a different way. Once again, kids are different, therefore they should be able to find a school that fits their individual need. If you want your child to excel in whatever it is he or she is good at, then you’re going to want to put them in a private school that caters to your child, because public schools really don’t care about your kid. “My public school’s great and they care about my child!! You’re an idiot!” OK, so why is your kid so far behind kids in private schools or home schooled kids? “He’s not behind, he’s just different!!” Geez…whatever. Let me go back to my original question…don’t you think our children should be the most well educated in the entire world? If you don’t want that, then guess what? There will be substandard schools for you and your child in this new educational system. Yes, you can keep your crappy school if you want to. But please don’t force everyone else’s kids to suffer along side your kid. Allow all parents the option to give their kids the best education in the world.

So, how do we do it? We get Crazy. We completely ditch our current system and replace every single school with charter schools (In case you don’t know, a charter school is a public school, receiving public funding, but created and ran by a private company. They usually specialize in something like dance or engineering). Try not to freak out, “charter school” isn’t a bad word. Think about this before you get your panties in a bunch. We can make the school system whatever we want it to be. Why would we want to stick with something that doesn’t work? Why would we settle for our children being held to the same very low standards as the rest of the kids in the country? Why would we let some yahoo from Alabama tell us how our kids should be taught and what they should learn? Why wouldn’t we want parents and teachers to be more involved in our educational system? So lets give this a try. At the very least, don’t immediately dismiss the idea because someone posted on Facebook once how bad and evil charter schools are.

Today, we have bad public schools and we have good ones. It’s been like this FOREVER!! Why in the world do we send our kids to a bad school?! That’s just stupid! With a charter school system, there will be no bad schools. There won’t even be a mediocre school, because only the best schools will survive and thrive. When a school sucks, parents won’t send their kids there and it will go away and a new school will take it’s place.

Yes, this will mean getting rid of the teachers union(O). I’m sure some of you are big fans of the union. Who do you think the unions care about? Answer: the ruling class. They use schools and teachers (and your children) to benefit the ruling class. If you want teachers who care about your children above everything else, the unions need to go, because your children are not part of their agenda. “Well, you’re going to hurt those poor teachers!” Nope. This will bring out the greatness in teachers and great teachers will be paid more and will be happy to work in a system that lets them teach your kids without all the political BS. If you really want unions and can’t let go, let’s give the students a union. They’re the ones who should have been represented by a union all along. They’re the ones who’ve been getting screwed.