TED Conversations

Bob Barboza

CEO and Founder Kids Talk Radio, Kids Talk Radio

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Can you give me one idea that would help to save public education?

We can't and should not close down public education in America. However, we have to fix it and fix it fast.

The Big Question: What would it take to fix public education in America?

You can come close to solving this huge problem by getting involved in this conversation. We suggest that you deal with one or more of the following questions. We are the folks from Kids Talk Radio and we want to start this important conversation with you. Will you help us to get a conversation going?

1. How can we pay for public education?
2. How should we train teachers?
3. Should we have teachers organizations/teachers unions?
4. What do we do with children that don't behave?
5. Do we make an investment in training teachers?
7. What do we do with students that don't speak English?
8. What do we do with students that fall behind?
9. What do we do with students that are gifted and talented?
10. How do we fire anyone in the public school system?

We would love to start a conversation with adults dealing with any of these questions. Our next project involves getting kids in on this same conversation.


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  • Jun 5 2011: The last topic of "how do we fire anyone in the public school system" is just like any other workforce. You fire the ones who are not working. And you can NOT base their achievements or lack thereof on students scores of state or national tests. The entire nation has the wrong idea about tenure. Tenure does not mean you can never be fired. It simply means you can not be fired without due process. Any teacher can get fired, at any time. If you are tenured, and you are fired, you can ask for a hearing. You have to have a hearing within x amount of days and you have an educational lawyer that represents you. The district has to prove that they followed the law, gave several warnings or situations to improve what needed to get better as well as document the situation. If the district did not follow the law or code then the firing can be reversed- ONLY if the teacher has asked for their hearing. Also tenure helps in the fact that if you are working in the school system for 25 years and there is a budget short fall (imagine that!) and the district is looking for a way to make cuts- and you just happen to make the most amount of pay out of everyone in the district- they can not fire you due to that reason. And speaking of pay- I think a) teachers should get paid MORE than they do now and/or B) those who teach for 6 years in any district (not just low income) should get their college tuition wrote off. Now, of course, if you went to Harvard to be a teacher, that may be a different story... but that is just my ideas on how to make the system better. Other professions do similar things, I don't understand why education is not run that way.

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