CNN: What’s wrong with America’s school system

Offical photo of Fmr. Vice President Dan Quayl...

Offical photo of Fmr. Vice President Dan Quayle (1989-93) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CNN posted an interesting (to me anyway) topic for debate.  CNN wants to know what iReporters think is wrong with America’s school system.

http://ireport.cnn.com/topics/797107?hpt=hp_bn1

One woman responded by saying 1. Teacher pay should be increased so that some of the more talented people would be interested in teaching as a career; 2. Teachers should have authority in their own classrooms.  Not surprisingly, I agree with both statements.  I’ve met tons of really bright and intelligent people who have told me they would like to be a teacher, but that they can make a lot more money doing something (almost anything) else.  I’ve also experienced what it feels like to not have authority in the classroom as a teacher, and to not be supported by the school administration.  It kind of undermines everything you’re trying to do with the kids, and makes you rethink your career choice.

Someone else suggested making the school day and school year longer.  I don’t really have an opinion on this point.  I think it is good for kids to have breaks, and that there is probably a way that we can teach smarter, not harder (http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/Why-Are-Finlands-Schools-Successful.html).  But adding a bit more time to the school year might not hurt either.  This man also suggested, however, that we only teach math, science, and reading.  This is something I will never agree with.

Case in point: Dan Quayle.

Geography – “I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix.”  “It is wonderful to be here in the great state of Chicago.”

Sociology – “I understand the importance of bondage between parent and child.”  “Unfortunately, the people of Louisiana are not racists.”  “When I have been asked during these last weeks who caused the riots and the killing in L.A., my answer has been direct and simple: Who is to blame for the riots?  The rioters are to blame.  Who is to blame for the killings?  The killers are to blame.”

Political Science – “Votes are like trees, if you are trying to build a forest.  If you have more trees than you have forests, then at that point the pollsters will probably say you will win.”

Psychology – “What a waste it is to lose one’s mind.  Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful.  How true that is.”

If you don’t want to look like a fool, you need to learn a little about the social sciences.  Oh, and the arts are pretty fantastic as well.  We should keep those too.

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