Some Gripes about Education

My posts have been thin and mostly concerned with education lately.  Unfortunately, I will continue that trend today.  I hope to post with more variety and frequency over the holidays.

Gripe 1:  I understand that in college, long summer breaks provide opportunities for students to pursue research interests, internships, and career opportunities; however, in K-12, long summer breaks inhibit learning.  Moreover, many kids do not have access to summer camps and other activities to occupy them ALL SUMMER LONG.  A break of 2-3 weeks during summer would be plenty of time for many summer activities, and the rest of the difference could be spread throughout the school year to make school less stressful and more productive.  The long summer is the vestigial remnants of an antiquated agricultural age.  Spreading summer break more equally through the year has the added benefit of making school the norm for kids, rather than a separate institution from one’s “real life.”  A year-long approach also means that students who need help mastering subjects like math can get it when they need it during the school year rather than in summer school.  When your friends are having a three day weekend and you aren’t because you’re failing and have to go to school that Friday, you might be incentivized to put in effort if you weren’t before.

Gripe 2:  Why is a “D” considered passing?  In math, especially, students who “pass” with less than an A or B are ill equipped for long term success in math.  I would rather advocate for a mastery-based approach where students don’t move on until they have an A or have shown mastery in some way.  There should be a list of topics that students need to know (standards, ahem?), and students should have to work through them all to mastery.  Maybe there could be different kinds of diplomas based on everything a student has mastered so that students can graduate with recognition of their preferred areas of interest.

Gripe 3: This is more of a money issue.  I wish school Library services (technology in particular) were open late after school.


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