600 words or less – what would I do for education in Oklahoma…most of my experiences are centered on the high school – it’s where I lived for 18.5 years.
#1 – Completely reorganize the way that high school looks. No more seven period days. No more mandatory credits, no more semesters. The building will open at 7 a.m. ready for students, the building would close at 7 p.m. Students would take the classes they want to take, when they want to take them. Yes – there would be some order – no calculus until you have shown mastery of the necessary concepts. If a student wants to sit in chemistry 101 and work all morning – no problem. They want to spend the afternoon/evening in the computer lab writing their research paper – no problem.
The cafeteria would be open all day to feed the kids – it is IMPOSSIBLE to learn when you are hungry. The media center and computer labs would also be open the entire day. We have to allow schools to meet the basic needs of our poorest students – without making difficult choices (feeding kids or hiring another teacher).
#2 – Students would exit high upon completion of a well designed, well researched project. This would resemble problem based learning at its finest. It would not be some quick thing easily completed in 4 weeks. This would be an involved process, requiring the student to work with several teachers in several different curricular areas. The skills developed in this project will be beneficial in real life – adulthood is not spent bubbling in circles on forms! You work with others, you communicate regularly, you think outside the box. Let’s stop killing the creative thinking and start developing it!
*written on my iPhone- forgive any funky typos…