The one thing I would do to improve education is do away with the compulsory part. I would remove the coercive power of government that forces kids to do something that requires buy-in. Let me quote an old bit of wisdom,
“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”You can force a child to come to school but you can’t make him learn and contrary to what I keep hearing at faculty meetings and in-service training, you can’t consistently trick him into learning. Maybe I am confused. Maybe the world I live in is full of aliens in disguise. Maybe I have lost it. In my world when you tell someone they “must” do something the natural reaction is to dig your heels in and resist.
Under current law a child must attend school. If a child is not attending then the parents become liable. This can lead to jail time in extreme cases. Since the parents must send them, the schools must accept them. Funding is based on having the students on campus. It used to be that schools would get money even if the student had an excused absence but this led to so many abuses by the schools that they are now paid only if a student is physically on campus and in class. This leads to all kinds of crazy schemes to get the money. It sets up a cycle of destruction.
When a student causes chaos and should be sent home the school looks at the loss of revenue and finds ways to keep him on campus. They pay an adult to babysit, tell the teacher who kicked him out to provide work and act like education is happening. They increase the paperwork and multiply forms and do nothing to really solve the problem. The student knows that nothing serious is going to happen and so there is no change in behavior. After all, where else can you go for the day and act like a fool with no consequences?
The next day, or usually the next period, they continue the disruption. I had a student last week that had been kicked out of two of his classes by the time he got to me. He only has four classes a day. The first class he was kicked out of is across the hall from me and I saw him standing in the hall causing problems half the period. He should have been banned from the campus immediately.
Education should still be provided. I have no problem with that. The difference would be that the student would be forced to earn the privilege of attending. If he could not cooperate, he could go home. Since most of them, even the trouble makers, really want to be with their friends it would generate an entirely different way of behaving. There would be consequences. There would also be education because the most serious roadblocks would be somewhere else.
Think about it.
homo unius libri