After years of tweaking it, throwing money at it, implementing many, many innovative programs at the local and state levels, not to mention nationwide, none has made more than a very small dent in the downward spiral that has our high school graduates currently scoring lower in both math and science than many of the graduates in other free-world countries. That's inexcusable, unacceptable and unconscionable.
My plans and recommendations for reforming this fractured system are presented in condensed form here and in much greater detail in "REMEDIES"*. They are based on my life-long research and interest in educational betterment as well as my personal observations during my seven years of classroom teaching and 23 years as a principal.
In this synopsis I address and highlight six starting-point remedies for the new education model that I believe are needed to fix the existing system. These remedies address the developmental years from birth through "grade 4". My firm belief is that once implemented, these remedies will bring about the reversal of the current educational spiral and will provide the foundation upon which to build a total reform of our floundering system — from birth through post graduate school. They are:
- National New-Born Registry
- Individualized Learner Program
- National Skills and Core Knowledge Data Bank
- Time on Task and the School Year
- Staffing and
- Professional Compensation
I anticipate these remedies and reforms in this new model will be viewed and judged by the usual skeptics as nothing short of too radical and totally impossible, by the experts as probably impossible but interesting or as the long-awaited answer by those who truly understand the learning process, the uniqueness of each child and the archaic nature of the curriculum.
To start with I am proposing the immediate establishment of a National New-Born Registry of every child born in this country! (Remember I said my remedies would be viewed and judged as too radical or impossible.)
The goals of this registry program are first to function as a pre-school-school tracking system that monitors and documents the progress of all children during their preparation for entering the formal school system. It becomes each child's permanent data bank.
The second goal is to have the individual's cumulative record continue to follow the child throughout his or her entire school career and serve as the basis for all ensuing educational decisions. The technology to make this happen already exists.
Next, on to the concept of the Individualized Learner Program; another vital and long overdue remedy. Revamping and replacing the entire Pre-K- 4 curriculum with a new model will create one tailored to support the learning needs of each individual and is briefly outlined here.
How does this Individualized Learner Program meet the need each child has for learner-appropriate materials and a learner-appropriate work environment? In the new model when a child enters a mandatory pre-K program or approved, age-appropriate program anywhere, the child arrives with National New-Born Registry documentation; the teaching team receiving the child immediately transfers the data into a school based master computer, then staffs and places the child. It's a process similar to starting a medical chart with a detailed history.