Thinking Outside The Box On Education

crayon-banner  “Thinking outside the box” is a new sub-category within the Crayon Marks category. The term “thinking outside the box” entails a thinking process, which uses an unusual approach to a logical thinking structure. It´s a process which aims to escape relational reasoning,  and rising to another level.

school-1465744-640x480 copy.jpgThere is just too much stuff today where people say “That’s the way we have always done it.” To me, that is just an excuse for being too lazy to try to find something better. One of those areas is in our educational processes. I recently read some articles written one hundred years ago that show we really haven’t made much progress in education reform. We are stuck facing the very same issues without really trying alternative methods.

Most people, especially progressives are pretty upset that Betsy DeVoss is the new education secretary, but I welcome the radical change in leadership. Maybe some basic change will finally happen in this area. I have several retired teachers who read RJsCorner and they often vent their frustration with the educational systems today. I hope some of them chime in on this post to give their opinions.

The public school system as it is currently set up seems to be biased against a child who really wants to learn. Instead, it is about handling the ones who just don’t seem to care about their educations. That attitude likely comes from their parents for any of a number of reasons. For teachers, it is mainly about keeping control of their classrooms and not actually teaching students.

I am a Hoosier and I’m pretty sure that Indiana is toward the front when it comes to charter schools and vouchers.  I know there are a number of charter schools in our adjacent county which includes a major university. We are told by our government representatives that having a choice allows those who really want to learn to find a venue to accomplish that. I kind of buy into that.

Teacher’s unions just seem to be more interested in teachers than educating students. That is another basic problem that needs to be addressed.  How much will Mrs. DeVoss end up accomplishing in this area is very much the question at hand? But I think it is finally time to do some destruction so that maybe a phoenix can rise from the ashes.

I know that educating future generations is and should be a top priority of our country.  I also know that the vast majority of my property taxes and even my State taxes go toward that purpose and that much of that money is currently being wasted. Right now change, any change is better than kicking the can down the road. I wish the new education secretary success in changing the status quo.



7 thoughts on “Thinking Outside The Box On Education

  1. Okay, I can’t leave this one alone. Minnesota was the first to experiment with Charter schools and they have been a mixed bag of successes and colossal failures. Full disclosure, I am not an expert, I worked for 22 years in an elementary school as the Media Ctr clerk…I am not a teacher. I worked in a good school system so I may have blinders on when it comes to other parts of the country.

    Yes, teachers have a strong position in public schools. They have great security and benefits, something that should be the norm don’t you think? Their job, even at Elementary levels is not as “easy” as people may think. Yes, school districts are a seemingly bottomless pit for expenses, however technology costs are a huge part of the budget, not just salaries.
    But, think about what it would mean to do away with the concept of public education, because that is what charter schools would do. They are publicly funded but privately run with each having different admission criteria and fees. They have less transparency and accountability. If all schools were Charter or voucher, they could each select or eliminate students as they choose. Their fees can be greater than the public funded portion and those with enough money can pay the difference to put their children in a higher class school. We could end up with schools even more segregated by race, language, religion, and economic class. I’m sure this would be perfectly fine with a lot of people, but I dont think ‘t would not be good for society as a whole.
    And, I am so tired of hearing how teachers and schools aren’t doing the job…that kids are dumber than ever, etc… The school system is not set up to be biased against kids who want to learn…that’s preposterous! Teachers have to work with the children they are given…including the baggage they bring with them from their homes. Parents have shifted the bulk of responsibility for raising their own children to schools and caregivers as though it was an entitlement. Many kids are shuffled off to daycare at 6 in the morning and picked up at daycare at 6 at night. Worse yet, many are left home to catch the school bus to school, and then come home to an empty house. Schools are expected to feed, handle emergencies, transport, handle medications, and mental health issues….endless responsibilities.
    Even parents who can afford it don’t feel obliged to pay for damaged library books, or overdue lunch accounts etc…not their responsibility, I guess.
    Parents who can afford it put their children in more programs after school and summers to keep them busy and out of their hair. Then, when things go wrong they look around for who to blame…anyone but themselves. Sorry to be so angry, but I have seen this behavior too many times. And of course, this isn’t all parents and I shouldn’t generalize, but it is the case in far too many homes and people seem to think it’s okay and “normal”.
    You want to fix public schools…start with the parents and not the teachers.
    Phew…I guess what I’m trying to say is, change for the sake of change is not the way to go. The Public School system is still one of the greatest achievements we have in America. Work on it, improve it, but don’t throw it away for the trendy new silver bullet….there’s too much at stake.


  2. As to Betsy DeVos: How is this woman even qualified to be a leader in education? She is not. She has never been an educator, and doesn’t know the first thing about public schools. What she and her family is are major financial donors to Trump and the Republican party. She has used her wealth to position herself to promote Republican ideology, period. I am sickened by the thought of this person being a puppet for Trump to destroy the public school system.


    1. Actually, your information on DeVos is false. It is almost impossible, anymore, to get actual articles about her work. She was willing to walk into the absolute worst PS system in the nation and propose a different way to educate children. If she were a liberal, she would be praised like Gates, who attended private schools, the architect of Common Core. Gates’ kids go to private school.
      Horace Mann, the father of our current system, never even went to school until University.
      Puppets we all are, of people who have never attended public schools!
      Schools have to change. Teachers don’t want a new way, who does in their 50’s?


      1. What is false? You have one point, many former Secretaries of Education did not have educational backgrounds…but then, that reinforces my point does it not? They didn’t make any significant changes or contributions did they? Why do we not have some candidates with some real experience who could truly understand what public schools need? Because this position and others are filled as rewards for donations and for lock step obedience to a party? Probably not worth arguing about since this is the way it’s always been.
        How do you know teachers don’t want a change even in their 50s (like they stop thinking at that age?). I don’t know any teachers who wouldn’t love more to say about curriculum, testing, teaching techniques. It would be many of these same teachers who would propagate the Charter Schools if that became the norm. There’s no pool of extraordinary teachers who just waiting for a charter school to employ them. And the kids would be the same kids, troubles and all. There is no magic in a building, it’s in the teachers.


  3. Homeschool until end of second or third grade so kids can self pace. OK that is not reasonable. Basics fully gained by the end of third grade. After that the teachers should be starting to see that the, “Sage on the Stage” does not work in today’s computer society. Teachers need to be, “A guide on the side.” In turn they need to teach their students to be “guides on the side” as a part of a team. Not an easy transition.
    Charter schools are beginning to move the solution forward. If parents want their children to be educated by authoritarian teachers, they can choose that system. Those children will be good worker bees. If parents see a different learning situation, they may choose that. The educational decision lays on the parents. My old small town of Flagstaff now has a number of charter schools- the whole system has been pushed forward. I worked with several charters in Chicago in abandoned churches.
    We might have to “buy out” bad teachers and get the public schools to move forward.
    There is a reason why the Obamas did not send their children to public school…..
    Special Education is an area that needs a serious look at as well—soon.


    1. Did I say anything about homeschooling? That is only for a very few people, most parents couldn’t handle that if they tried. As I said, I’m not an expert and I live in a state where schools are quite good. Are you saying Charter schools a problem free? Are teachers in Charter schools perfect? No. There has been plenty of mismanagement of finances, misbehavior by staff, and poor achievement in charter schools too. I just think we should move cautiously before we throw out all the good parts of public education.


  4. I have been holding off to let the above thoughts come before wading in. I agree with some of what both of you say. No one in this debate is without some degree of truth. Yes, many parents today shun their responsibility as far as raising their children. Maybe some of that is because they are holding down multiple jobs just to pay the bills.

    Some teachers care very much about their students but some just seem to want to put in the hours and then go home. Some are prepared for the job, some aren’t. My main exposure to teachers has been dating some of the single ones. From those experiences, I generally believe many are just naive what it takes to make it in this world. Technology is and will continue to be a major driver in well-paying jobs. Teachers just don’t seem to be that up on it so they don’t particularly want to do much with it. That is a mistake. So, yes teachers are part of the problem.

    As far as having education secretaries who know the job, it seems that Arne Duncan who came from twenty years in the Chicago school system couldn’t affect any more change than those who have no experience. I don’t really think it takes a leader from within necessarily to affect the changes needed in our current education system. But, I do agree that Betsy DeVos is primarily a daughter and wife of billionaires and doesn’t seem up to the task at hand.

    There is more than enough blame to go around on this topic, but we need to get over blaming others and look for how to make the system so that everyone who wants to learn gets the best opportunities to do just that. How do we handle those who don’t want to learn and are just wasting our money and talents? How do we handle the discipline necessary to control them?

    We need a paradigm shift not tweaking the edges and fiddling. Plain and simple the current public school system is simply not up to the task but that doesn’t mean it has to be completely dismantled. There are other options if we just quit blaming each other for the problems.

    I could like both of you say much more about this but will close for now.


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