Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that providing a high-quality education is key to addressing many of our country’s challenges, and that world-class public schools provide the path to global opportunity, high-quality employment and strong local communities. While we have many good schools in America, we can still do a better job educating our children and replicating and scaling up successful programs so that they are the norm across the country. We must set ambitious goals for education that include advanced 21st-Century skills, good character and informed citizenship.

Please give your suggestion.

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Ironically I'd argue most kids learn more watching tv, txting and playing video games than in many of our classrooms today.

Schools are held accountable for the same reason police and held accountable for crimes and doctors for public health - it is our job.
Gladwell's chapter in Outliers on the KIPP schools makes some good points. One point he makes loud and clear is that most children learn from September to June no matter what their socio-economic status. The big differences come from being out of school in the summer. Therefore I'd like to nominate year-round schools. I'm retiring in a few years so I won't have to teach in one.
How do we do these things? How do we fire bad teachers when unions are so strong that it makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to fire bad teachers? How do we change the mindset of parents who are so apathetic towards education and don't really care what happens to their kids? How do we convince the people in charge to at least try year round school and if it doesn't work, then go back to the way we were doing things? I'm a big believer in trying something and if it doesn't work, scrap it. Why can't these things happen more often and what are we afraid of? A lot of questions and not a lot of answers.
A system that has been in place for so long and is so entrenched in same-ness? Excluding every teacher at CR2.0 of course, most teachers are not change agents or risk takers, Many got into teaching after being taught by the teachers they model. They like the routine, they like things the way they've always been. I would think the young teachers would be more willing to change but they were trained by 'old school' teachers.

Lots of issues--no answers. If I was younger I would get some of the stimulus money to start a charter school.
You're right, Nancy. Change is the key - but change is scary, chancge is uncomfortable - it means we as teachers must be willing to truly evaluate the job we are doing and then be willing to do what is needed to fix it. I think for most it is simply much easier to continue doing as we have always done. There is also the underlying threat of "what happens if I try something new and my scores go down?" Pressure to perform strikes fear in all but the most hardy.
I am heartened by the discussions I read on CR2.0 and can only hope it will spread beyond those of us in the know. I am no longer a classroom teacher (I teach the teachers how to use technology in their classrooms), but I like to think that if I were to go back to the classroom now I would be a different teacher than I was just a few years back.
Although, adults are generally more sophisticated than children due to life experiences and knowledge, in many important ways they are similar. It is from this conclusion that I reached some other conclusions:

1. People, adults and children, are naturally curious about the world and wish to learn. It is almost impossible for people to not be interested in things. People learn new things each day.
2. People do not like being coerced, forced, or bullied by other means into doing things. People like feeling like they have control over their lives. They like to make decisions instead of being forced to do things they wouldn't do without external threat.
3. People like to be challenged. They like to use their powers, mental and physical, or they get bored or feel useless.
4. It is a given that some people prefer solitude more than they prefer groups;however, generally people need other people and wish to interact with those that bring them joy and knowledge.
5. People like having fun. Learning is not always fun. It can be frustrating and, indeed, frustration is a good sign that you are learning something, and is part of overcoming a challenge. When frustration is born out of a self-motivated desire to accomplish a goal, it is much more easily overcome.
6. People need positive role models. People choose the roles they wish to model.
7. If something is necessary for survival, a person will learn it or will not survive.

How do you learn best? Compare this answer with the ways schools are structured. Where do they match up? Where do they not?

Since every person learns differently and is interested in learning different things, a school that reflects this belief would be structured in a flexible enough way to allow the individuals themselves to have say in the way they are educated and what they learn. A school must be a place where the free flow of ideas, questions, and exploration is encouraged.

This private school is organized democratically. Students are given a tremendous amount of freedom but also a tremendous amount of responsibility. They have a direct say in all aspects of the managing of the school. Each student has one vote. Each faculty member has one vote as well, but there are apparently no trumping by the faculty. I am very curious about this dynamic. Does anyone have any experience in a school like this?
http://www.sudburyvalley.org/

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