Vision For A 21st Century Set of Goals for Public School Districts

How to Fix Our Public Schools

#noneoftheAbove On Education

This article is the second of several aimed offer a refreshing look at how to fix our public schools. This article aims to provide a simple, free, and common sense model to help educators make more of their students successful.

I wrote this article out of frustration. It is frustrating to listen to people from all walks of life and in all circles, even the ones who think they are out of the box thinkers, fall prey to the erroneous narratives put out by “educational experts”. Never forget that it was by listening to experts that we find ourselves in trouble all to often. To quell my frustration I ran my own non-expert analysis.

Step 1: Stop accepting the absolute truths you were fed starting the day you were born

To learn how to fix our public schools you must learn to question how we have been indoctrinated into automatically assuming that:

  • Every year, semester, grading period, or test someone is going to fail
  • Teachers can’t deliver a lesson where ALL students “get it” on the first try
  • Public high schools don’t have the capacity to graduate EVERY SINGLE returning senior
  • Students on free and reduced lunch live tragic lives that prevent them from being able to perform at high levels
  • K-12 public schools, presently costing tax-payers over $700 Billion/year, are underfunded
  • Public school families don’t have the right to DEMAND not having to drive their children out of their neighborhoods, hence weaken them, to expect receiving a quality education

Stop accepting the claims that you and your child are to blame for the failures of our public schools!

To learn how to fix our public schools you must learn to question how we have been indoctrinated into automatically assuming that:

  • Students with severe learning gaps can’t recover in an extremely short amount of time
  • A teacher without a credential, fresh out of college, and more spirit than most can handle, can’t school a 15-year veteran with 3 credentials and two master degrees
  • Kids with learning disabilities are being taught by adults without teaching disabilities. Think about that one for a second.
  • Educational leaders shouldn’t be thoroughly scrutinized AND FINED for insisting to force-feed teachers off-the-mark professional development, presently with a $19 Billion/year national price tag, despite decades of student achievement data proving this insistence is unjustified.

Step 2: Get your hands on some public school data

You can begin by getting the presentation (made on PowerPoint and uploaded as a pdf). You will find many cool charts and illustrations to follow along as you view the video at the end of this article.

I could go on forever listing the myths we have fallen for these past five decades, but that’s not the point of this article. The point is to make you aware that it is okay to trust, but verify. I am claiming the list above is made up of myths, because I already bothered to verify for myself, using publicly internet-accessible data from my daughters’ school district, LAUSD. Check out the image below, debunking the myth that schools are underfunded.

The Myth of U.S. K-12 Public Schools Being Underfunded
The Myth of U.S. K-12 Public Schools Being Underfunded

Do you see that? The U.S. is #1 in overall spending, #5 in per pupil spending, #24 in science, and #38 in math compared to other OECD nations. If you start questioning the data, the tests, or the homogeneity of our competitors student populations, then you have revealed yourself as a myth propagator, and you do not have sufficient experience overcoming barriers in life. You have even less experience teaching children how to do it. Please step aside.

Do not be deterred by folks who understand the data less than you do

Before I continue speaking to higher level thinkers, I will give the naysayers one more chance. The next chart is from a study I conducted, where I compared 15 LAUSD Local District West High Schools. You ready for this? The only thing I will say is, the greener the better and the redder the worse. Yellow is in the middle.

Data to Dispel Multiple Myths About Public Education
Data to Dispel Multiple Myths About Public Education

If you desire to read the details of my findings, the source of this data, and the methodology used to prove the myths, listed in the yellow textbox on the left-hand side of the image above, read my blog article, What Does Not Make Schools Better.

Step 3: Look around, see things for what they are, see what needs to be done, and do it

Want to learn how to fix our public schools? Look around and make a list of things you believe your child must know and be able to do before he or she leaves the public school system to thrive upon departure. You are going to find a tremendous mismatch between what is on your list and the grade level standards your child is presently forced to master unsuccessfully.

Do you know what to do? What are you going to do? What can you do?

Are you asking yourself these questions? Then that means you are asking the RIGHT questions. If you have answers, start taking action. Public school parents, do not wait for someone to give you the right answer, not even me. What I can do is give you data to show you what I see.

Seeing things for what they are

Want to know how to fix our public schools? Study the history of public schools. See who conceived them, designed them, what their purpose for public schools was, and why they made sure they would control them at any cost. Check out the timeline below.

Highlights From History of Public Education
Source: Highlights From History of Public Education

What do you see? What I see is that that the purpose of public schools has always been to give those who today we call the “disadvantaged” just enough knowledge to be a cheap, replaceable, and harmless labor force. Its purpose has never been to serve as a pathway for millions of the “disadvantaged” to gain upward mobility. I see that one of our founding fathers knew it was necessary to throw some of us disadvantaged folk an occasional bone to appease those he classified as “the rubbish”. I see that anytime we, the “disadvantaged”, figure out and learn to play “the system”, those running it will change the rules to protect their profit margins. Can you say Game Stop and robinhood?

Getting Upset?

If what I am saying here is upsetting, good. But just remember this, I am an unaffiliated former teacher who has three daughters enrolled in public schools with no money invested anywhere and no income. All I am proposing to you is to see things as they are, decide what needs to be done for yourself, and then do it. I do not want you to agree or disagree with me. I hope that you will act, and think outside of the box. Question and scrutinize the reply you get when you ask your educational leaders why every urban public school in the country speaks of equity, yet after half a year of distance learning, many of our most vulnerable students still do not have the hardware to receive a reliable signal from their school or school district.

Looking around?

Looking at history is difficult. I get it. Seeing the future is a little easier. Our kids can see it. That is why more of them are rejecting what we have been feeding them at school. This what I see when I look around.

Market Conditions For Our New Economy
Source: The Third Industrial Revolution: A Radical New Sharing Economy

What do I see when I look around? Well what does the image right above tell you?

To get my answer you will have to stick around until I share my next article with you. I have said enough for now. Fixing our public schools can be simple, but it will be a two step process. The first part is the easier part. The video below, lasts a little over 30 minutes, and it is worth it. I hope you watch it and enjoy it.

The last 5 minutes are the best, but you will not appreciate them if you do not watch the first 28 minutes. Watch! It will make more sense than anything you have heard. Enjoy, share, leave your comments, and subscribe. I am really on to something, and I hope we can work together making this world a better place.

Quick note

If you like what we’re saying, please watch the video to learn about what we’re doing. If you like what you see, please donate today. Thanks!

Keep reading and watching to learn more about how to fix our public schools.

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