Dear President Trump-
Your slogan is “Make America Great Again!” The word again implies a return to practices that worked in the United States. Your choice for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, shows you don’t value past success but feel you know more about education than the experts. Mrs. DeVos has no public education experience. She never attended public schools. She didn’t send her children to public school. She holds no degrees in education or educational policy. Her only experience in the name of education has been funding of vouchers and school of choice policies across this country. Her proposals have steered public tax dollars away from public schools into the hands of private corporations. Would you hire someone with no business or real estate background to run your empire?
Does the American school system need some work? For sure, but handing it over to someone whose life’s work is to dismantle public education is not going to make it better. The school of choice reform movement is selling false dreams to divert public funds to private corporations. Their plan for education is for all public schools to compete for students. They argue when schools compete everyone wins. Last time I check competitions have winners and losers. Our students and public school systems will be the losers as funds are diverted to private entities. Would you build a Trump Hotel across the street from your current hotels? No, but that is what your Education Secretary is proposing.
The key to making our educational system great again is COLLABORATION, not competition. If a publicly funded school has systems and structures in place that create success it needs to be shared to give ALL our students the opportunity for success. Students need to be offered “Real Choices” in education. Not the pseudo choices that has been failing our students for the past three decades. Please rethink your choice here. There are many great educational minds that want to make our educational system great, not just great for their own pocketbooks.
Thanks for listening.
Sincerely a Michigan Teacher
Browsing twitter the other day and I noticed a Think Progress article on Outdated School Schedules. Are school schedules outdated? YES! Casey Quinlan makes a glaring mistake at the start of her opinion piece.
“The vast majority of parents — 70 percent — work full-time from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but the median closing time for a school is 2:30 p.m. On top of that, schools are closed 80 percent longer than the typical worker receives in paid holidays and vacation time, which works out to 13 more days off than parents have, according to an analysis from the Center for American Progress.”
Schools do have schedules that do not mirror our workers, should they? Absolutely not, a work day is longer than a school day should be, it is not age appropriate to have students at school in a rigorous academic program for 9 hours. By starting her opinion with this fact Quinlan is continuing the American assumption that schools should be the child care provider. Schools have become the dumping grounds for every social ill in the United States. Bullying is a problem? Schools need to address. Drugs? Address in schools. Social Media skills? Lets educate students in schools. Now the issue is child care costs and the needs of our working class. Instead of paying employees enough to pay for childcare or having work provided childcare options, it becomes a school issue.
Our society isn’t worried about doctors and dentists offices that only have appointment hours during the school day! Or the fact that many families choose to pull students out for family vacations or to help out with daycare. So the question arises how can we make a flexible school that assists families with their busy lives, honors the educational process and is respectful to teachers.
Why not build a school with no defined hours? Have it open from 7 am till 7 pm. Teachers can build their schedules with in those hours. Parents then can design their students schedules (and at the upper levels students can). This model would make all school look more like college. The school could utilize a blended instructional model. Students find quiet spots to work, when needed teachers find them to hone their skills. Student experiences would be scheduled but optional to all. ALL students could take the classes they desired as long as they kept up. (Instead of now having pre-selected elective classes where class choice eliminates other classes.)
Schools need to build more flexible learning models for students and teachers alike. Let’s work at building a model that values student learning not parents child care needs!