It is time to re-think our approach to education and learning. What we have been doing is failing most students. Good, quality public schools are critical to the well-being of our democracy.
Consider that over 90% of students depend on public schools for their education. We can do better for them than requiring teachers to spend their time teaching to tests. Instead, let us nurture and grow our students into lifelong learners. It will take lifelong learners to make sense of the changes that are rapidly happening in Ohio, across our country and around the world.
Our children are living into a world that is not the same as the one we grew up in. Let us do a better job of equipping them.
We can begin by bringing the community and experts together to imagine what else is possible. These experts include educators, parents, and students. Let us build on what is already working, and eliminate what is not. There is so much known today about what helps people learn and change. We can use that knowledge to design the public school of the future, which must include online/virtual learning. It is critical that every student has access to the internet and technology. COVID-19 has taught us the importance of closing the technology gap to ensure that every child as access to a quality education.
Communities are coming together to face many current and future educational challenges. These include redistribution of public school funding, which must be equitable. No child should be penalized for living in a low income neighborhood. Quality does not have to mean expensive. School vouchers are not a solution, they are a band aid that takes money away from public schools that need it.
Let us dream big and create public schools now that will take our children into the 22nd century, which would include:
- Free access to quality education for ALL
- Preparation for the jobs and careers of the future
- Creation of lifelong learners
- Learning models that value all students
- Stronger vocational schools– not everyone has to go to college
- Instruction in life skills and culture, such as home economics, industrial arts, music, art, and physical education. Waldorf and Montessori schools offer lessons that can be applied to traditional public schools.
- More qualified applicants for employers
- Ready access to technology
Value teachers by paying them well
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