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Life Arts    H4'ed 10/8/12

Letter From a Teacher to Kids

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I hated school. But I also went to a very strict school, with rules and punishments that would probably not be legal anymore. Amazingly, I later became a teacher of third, fourth, and sixth grade, and I did that for twenty years. It's hard to explain even to myself, but I do like kids and working with them.


Now I am trying to be a U.S. Senator and I've made my main guiding principle for running the country to "put kids first." Let me say in clear and simple words what I mean by that. I mean first of all that when adults think about actions they're voting on or passing laws about, they should keep kids first in mind. They should do everything possible to make learning fun, interesting, inspiring, and in general make school a place that kids enjoy. There should be nothing more important than educating children in a way that works for the kids.


We should listen to kids, who often know more about what's really going on than the teachers--what's really helping kids learn, what's working against that, what's important in their own lives. What is interesting and what is a total bore.


I also mean no bullying, no teachers hounding you all the time about tests, no absurd amounts of homework, no principals that base their schools on punishment, no ridiculous classes that don't get you really thinking about things.


I believe there should be no overcrowding, no run-down buildings, no class disruptors who make life miserable for everyone, no report cards. Instead of report cards, we should have portfolios that show your actual work and that you can take pride in and show others and keep for a permanent record.


There should be no ridiculous "race to the top," whatever that means anyway. There should be cooperation and real learning and school should not be based on competition. Games are fun and great and I approve of those, but not as a measure of how you compare to everyone else.


I believe every person has their own abilities and talents and that these should be encouraged and explored. Not everyone is an expert in every area, nor should they be. Not everyone needs to be "perfect" in any area for that matter. I say we need to encourage curiosity and show children things of interest that as teachers we have come across in our own lives.


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In my run for U.S. Senate against Utah's Orrin Hatch, I posted many progressive ideas and principles that I internalized over the years. I'm leaving that site up indefinitely, since it describes what I believe most members of our species truly (more...)

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