Be careful about drawing conclusions from only one or a few of my essays. It is not possible to state all aspects or all sides of such an important and complicated issue in one or a few essays. To get an accurate picture will require reading many articles.
One can discern from the news media that our school systems are not doing well.
Every week the writer taught 8 classes of computer literacy, 5th through 8th grade. That is about 200 students. Before taking his teaching job, both the writer and his wife had reached the conclusion that something was wrong at the school. (They have a granddaughter who went to the school from K through 8th grade.) He wanted to find out, first hand, from the inside, what was going wrong, and what was causing it. He even told the principal up front that there seem to be problems, and that a fresh view from the outside might help. The principal agreed.
The writer can see the problems from inside of that one school. He has spoken with various persons, both in and out of the teaching profession (at that school and others), and they see the same problems he sees. This web site presents some of his observations as to what the problems are, why they exist, and what can be done to fix them.
The writer discerned there were mainly five types of students in his classes:
All students can benefit from material on this web site. All can benefit from improving their motivation, and from improved schools. They can all learn lessons about how to live a good life.
This web site does not discuss #1, the self-learner. Give him the material, get out of his way, and he can learn it on his own.
This web site does not discuss #3 & #4, the child with major learning disabilities. Visit the All Kinds of Minds web site. It deals with those topics much better than the writer could.
This site will discuss primarily Students #2 & 5. However, it is likely that students of all abilities would gain some benefits from the application of material from this site. The very good students will get even better. Unmotivated students will be helped. Students receiving special help with their disabilities may increase their motivation to follow their programs, and apply themselves more.
This site is for anyone interested in improving education, either for their own family, a school district, a state, or the nation. Often this requires political will, and that political will should have a foundation of understanding of the causes, and the solutions, that look like they stand a good chance of working. This site attempts to provide understanding and solutions.
Material on this web site was created mostly over the last four years. This writer has received support from other educators for these ideas. They believe there is merit in what is written here. While certainly not fully mature, the material has advanced far enough to believe it can at least act as a springboard for thought, discussion, and some change in the way schools operate. The site was created to provide this stimulus.
The writer's fondest hope is that persons in responsible positions will find this site, and they may gain something that will improve their schools.
It isn't just a matter of having educated people for the general work force. As our general education results decline, some of those poorly educated people will enter the work force as teachers. Some of them will end up teaching teachers. Neither will be able to do as good of a job as teachers did before! We run the risk of a downward spiral in national teaching resource competency. It becomes a feedback system where the general abilities of the schools and thus the entire society will be continually degraded.
Ethical and moral values are usually not taught anymore. When the morals of a nation degrade, the nation is further jeopardized.
The nation is trying to solve its education problems. The writer has watched the efforts and results in the news media, and in documentaries. There seems to be no solid consensus on what the causes are, or what the solutions are. In his view, most attempts are doomed to mediocrity or failure because they do not adequately address the underlying causes. Throwing money, tests, smaller class size, new buildings, and even computers at the problem all miss the mark. (See "Horror Stories")
13 Jul '03