American education has lost its sense of mission, its direction, its connection to real life, and its willingness to change its structure and administration. We do not attend to civic literacy, financial literacy, teamwork, project-based learning, and creation of global citizens. Graduates typically reject a sound grounding in history, geography, and the social sciences. The school day is still based on an industrial model of short, single subject classes, segregated by ages, and with little time or encouragement to work in, and be evaluated, as problem solving teams. We seldom give credit for student success in the arts, the science fair, the speech & debate leagues, history day, or community service learning. Adults use language to write poetry, short stories and novels, screenplays, grants, research reports, biographies and history. None of these are featured in most K-12 graduate requirements. In creating strategic plans we often craft goals and strategies in single statements designed to apply to all ages and grades - five year olds and eighteen year olds. The primary structural and governance reform arena – charter schools, are by all calculations funded for operations at 80% of that for traditional public schools. Almost nowhere do we believe that public charter students deserve to learn in publicly funded facilities. A sound, analysis would dramatically change the structure,and delivery and administration – with a practical commitment to education of the whole child, with well paid and respected teachers.
Jim Shon, University of Hawaii, USA
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