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Jonathan Sieg

Boy Scouts Eagle Scout

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A curriculum based around projects and collaborative efforts while deemphasizing standardized testing and homework

A curriculum based around group projects designed to challenge students, build confidence and creativity, and allow them practical hands-on learning should be implemented. The education would start at an early age, and emphasize creative learning and intellectual curiosity while still addressing fundamental reading, writing, and math. Essentially, the most important aspect of early education is stimulating a curiosity about the world to prepare students to be life-long, excited learners. Furthermore, socializing should be strongly encouraged, along with interesting group problem solving to inspire confidence and facilitate strong communication skills.
Analysis of student ability will be conducted by school counselors who work closely with students. The counselors serve mainly two purposes: ensure the emotional well-being of students is secure not only in the school environment but also at home and serve to develop new projects and group students for those projects together in the most effective way.
As students reach a point of maturity and ability to handle a more self-directed project based curriculum, counselors will essentially then take the place of teachers. Hopefully by the time students reach teenage years, they will become generally self-directed in learning. Counselors will then assess students through individual relationships and past projects to group students to create the most effective learning environment possible. The counselors will also decide on projects and challenges to assign the group. Ideally, these projects will encompass a wide variety of disciplines and be a goal that is plausible for the group, but still provides an interesting, relevant challenge. Students may have as few or as many projects as they can handle and which will provide the most profitable experience for learning.
When these students are assigned projects, the school will make many resources available for them. Counselors will then hold students accountable and focused.

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  • Jan 4 2014: Your proposed plan seems like the plan I went through in my graduate degree programs. When my academic advisers were the counselors and we supplemented our learning with additional seminars and discussion sessions with my fellow students. I believe that it could be done with high school study too. But this kind of program would definitely be hindered under the public educ system here. See reference below.

    Common Core Doesn't Add Up to STEM Success.....
    By Sandra Stotsky, Wall Street Journal, Opinion Section, Jan.3, 2013
    …....
    As Stanford mathematics professor James Milgram noted in "Lowering the Bar," a report the two of us co-wrote for the Pioneer Institute in September, the Common Core deliberately leaves out "major topics in trigonometry and precalculus." Contrast that with the status quo before the Common Core, when states like Massachusetts and California provided precalculus standards for high-school students. The implications of this are dramatic. "It is extremely rare for students who begin their undergraduate years with coursework in precalculus or an even lower level of mathematical knowledge to achieve a bachelor's degree in a STEM area," Mr. Milgram added.
    Common Core's deficiencies also plague its English standards, though its proponents have been selling the opposite line. Under the Common Core, complex literary study—literature close to or at a college reading level—is reduced to about 50% of reading instructional time in high school English class. The rest of the time is to be spent on "informational" texts, and more writing than reading is required at all grade levels.
    …...
    Why leaders of these organizations would endorse standards that will not prepare students for college majors in mathematics, science, engineering and mathematics-dependent fields is a puzzle. But no educational reform that leads to fewer engineers, scientists and doctors is worthy of the name.
    (Ms. Stotsky was a member of Common Core's Validation Committee from 2009-10.)

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