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What can we do to change education?

My name is Hunter. I am a senior in High School and my english class recently watched this video.
This question was asked to me by a teacher to me back in 9th grade. His take on this was that there should not be an A - F grading scale because all kids do is shoot for an A. That's all. Nothing past that. All they need is an A to make everyone happy. I agree with this statement 100%. The problem is, how do we fix this? What scale can we use in order to make schooling more beneficial to future students? How do we get students to reach their full potential?

Topics: education

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    Apr 11 2013: This depends on how you define potential. Surveys of high school graduates nationwide show on average a mere 20% retention of the curriculum one year after graduation, and that's the graduates. If retention of facts and a few basic skills is your definition of potential then the current system appears to be a near utter failure. If creativity is your goal then Ken Robinson's talks seem to indicate even worse results. If we look at Finland's schools, which according to PISA international tests are the best in the world, then they must be doing something better if not right. Yet they spend less money per student, fewer days per year and less hours per day in class and do nearly no testing and assign very little homework. I have been studying every report of their system I could find in the last ten years and have had the chance to interview a few Finns and here is my take. They have no standard all encompassing curriculum and every school is in effect a charter school for which there are no districts. The students and their parents can choose any school to which they are willing to travel . They do pick only the brightest candidates to become teachers(top 10% of undergrads). They do have smaller class sizes of 15 or so and all the teachers have Master's or Doctoral degrees. They do not separate the students by IQ with very few exceptionsfor extreme handicaps and also not rigidly by age with a three year spread being common. The teachers often stay with the same group of students for three years or more and form virtually a learning team in which they assist each other and the teacher. Their motto is not "no child left behind" like the boy scouts on a hike going as slow as the slowest, but "whatever it takes" for each child, acknowledging the wide range of learning styles and needs that make each of us unique and special. The impression I get is of much more freedom and flexibility and respect to and from the teachers.
    • Apr 11 2013: So after 12 years of schooling, people only retain, on average, 20% of what they learn?

      "They do pick only the brightest candidates to become teachers(top 10% of undergrads). They do have smaller class sizes of 15 or so and all the teachers have Master's or Doctoral degrees."
      -Does this mean that the teachers are paid better as well? Compared to the US.
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        Apr 12 2013: Hunter the 20% figure is an average of those who graduate. This implies that some do better and some do really badly. Have you ever heard the question "How many teachers or therapists does it take to change a light bulb?" Numbers are irrelevant, 1 or 100, since they can only succeed if the Bulb really wants to change, thus motivation is key.
        As to the compensation of Finnish teachers, I hear they have a little better pay, but the big difference is the working conditions, where they have more creative freedom and are respected on the job and in the community. Of course their health benefits and Holidays are MUCH better too. This situation of each school being like a charter, with even more autonomy, and competing with all the other schools in their area has led to a situation where there are NO bad schools. Since the client can easily vote with his feet, a school must quickly respond to the needs and wishes of their clients or they will have to shut down. I often ask people what they think the primary source of wealth on our planet is after the energy we get from the Sun. Eventually they agree that it is the energetic application of human intelligence. That
        being true then every student who fails to reach their potential represents a net loss to the global GDP. Finland walks this talk better than any other nation that of which I am aware. The American obsession for objectivity is reversed in that the teachers in the course of several years working with the students actually bond with them and get to know and understand them very well. Their motivation must be better for so many reasons. I like the fact that they may well be working with them next year, so no passing the buck. This gives even more incentive to get it right as soon as possible. Having taught in Europe and America myself and being a sixth generation teacher I can tell you that all the dedicated teachers I know wish nothing more than the chance to truly help their students succeed.

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