Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bringing Basics Back

I was intrigued by an article in today's post about how Bill Gates, the Microsoft mogul, wants to reform American education because it was NOT focused on technology. It was the total antithesis of what I thought he was all about. He is a strong proponent of standardized tests and wants to see them become more challenging and more uniform. Why does each state have a different test? He believes there must be a national standard. His plan to fix schools:
He argues for using phonics to teach reading. 'When we gave up on phonics, ' he says, 'we destroyed the reading ability of those kids.'
He also wants to reward quality teachers and believes in creating small high schools so that students will not be pulled into cliques. Presumably ones where it is "cool" to fail. The article ended with this question:
Do you agree with Bill Gates and his solutions - or do you have your own?
My solutions:
1. Smaller class sizes.
2. Year round school (with many two week vacation breaks instead of a full summer off).
3. New class offerings such as robotics, Chinese, Japanese, Global Etiquette, Nanotechnology, etc.
4. Lap top for every teacher and student.
5. Strong school partnerships with corporations and businesses with more internship opportunities at middle and high school levels.
What are yours?

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