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Thoughts from a High School Teacher - Running Education Like a Business

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posted on Jan, 18 2012 @ 11:00 AM
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I am a current high school teacher and have been for several years. The classes I have taught are: Business Computer Information Systems, Accounting, Sports and Entertainment Marketing, Fashion Marketing, Entrepreneurship, and Virtual Business. I have certifications in Social Studies Composite 6-12, Business Education 6-12, Information Technology 8-12, and Marketing Education 8-12. I also have my undergraduate in Business and will complete my MBA this semester. My father is a small business owner and I have several years of experience in the private sector with plans to eventually start my own business. I tell you this in order to give you a background into my business oriented frame of mind.

As someone who teaches honors, dual-credit, and on-level or regular classes, I see a wide variety of students. For instance I have 2 students who are national merit scholars and have been accepted to Harvard and Brown, I also have 3 or 4 students who show up about twice a week, don't turn anything in, and their parents refuse to return my phone calls. I see it all.
My concern is that the education system is a direct reflection of society. It's become a very much entitlement educational system. The diagnosis of learning disabilities is a joke, parents are much more of a hassle than a help, and the increasing federal regulations are continuing to make our educational system worse. The only thing America is #1 in is spending. No Child Left Behind is a complete failure, Unions make it almost impossible to fire bad teachers, and Athletics are a priority in most school districts.

My business instincts have observed several inefficiencies, and I have devised several solutions. If I were able to run the public education system like a business, here is what I’d do.

1) After 8th grade, public school is optional - So much time is spent on the kids who don't want to be there and it really takes away from students that do. Whether its disciplinary problems, calling home, tracking them down to turn in assignments, or talking to them outside of the classroom, it’s a distraction. It inhibits the learning process and because we are limited on actions we can take it continues to be a distraction. It’s the good students who are penalized.
1A) Alternatives are given to High School - Trade schools, early admittance into technical schools or maybe even some junior colleges, or an employment training program. Let’s face it; some students would be much better off learning a trade than about algebra or chemistry. Teach them technology not on how to write proper MLA format.
1B) In order to get government services: unemployment, welfare, SS, etc..., you must graduate from High School, a technical school, Junior College, or employment training program.
2) Students are able to be kicked out of high school (as it is optional now) - make it very much like college in this regard. After so many semesters of failing or unacceptable disciplinary problems, kick them out. There would ways to be readmitted much like there are in college.
3) Students must maintain a 2.5 GPA in order to have and keep a driver's license until the age of 18 - If you're not smart enough to maintain a C average in high school, you are not smart enough to operate a vehicle.
4) Teacher's pay is based on production and review - this can be calculated through peer reviews, superior reviews, student reviews, parental reviews, state test scores or End of Course Exam scores.
5) If in high school, students will once again be required to take a technology, PE, and Health class - You talk about idiotic. Students no longer have to take a class teaching MS Word, PPT, Excel, etc... They also don’t have to take a class teaching fitness and health (yeah good thing those aren't worsening trends in society today).
6) There will be no more free and reduced lunch to students who are failing a class - its high school, there is no excuse to fail a class.
7) Tie tax credits in with grades - Parents will be able to turn the student’s official transcripts in during tax season and receive tax credits.
8) Get rid of the Department of Education!

My conference period is ending but I have a few more ideas. I'll post them later. What do you think of these?




posted on Jan, 18 2012 @ 11:16 AM
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reply to post by stdscf12
 


I liked most of your points but disagree on a couple:




3) Students must maintain a 2.5 GPA in order to have and keep a driver's license until the age of 18 - If you're not smart enough to maintain a C average in high school, you are not smart enough to operate a vehicle.


What if they enter the trade apprenticeship or training alternative? And what does a car have to do with learning at school?




4) Teacher's pay is based on production and review - this can be calculated through peer reviews, superior reviews, student reviews, parental reviews, state test scores or End of Course Exam scores.


I see inept teachers either trying to fudge the numbers or outright lie to earn a higher wage. Perhaps if the review was done by an independent body, but then it would be creating more bureaucracy.




6) There will be no more free and reduced lunch to students who are failing a class - its high school, there is no excuse to fail a class.


What does nutrition have to do with grades?




7) Tie tax credits in with grades - Parents will be able to turn the student’s official transcripts in during tax season and receive tax credits.


Interesting thought, realistic? Not sure. Could have some major unintended consequences.




8) Get rid of the Department of Education!


And so much more...



posted on Jan, 18 2012 @ 11:21 AM
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The whole idea behind the drivers license and the free and reduced lunch, is it creates an incentive. You better believe if students weren't able to get a driver's license unless they were making a certain GPA, they would make sure their grades were there.

Also with free and reduced lunch, why should the State have to pay for the lunch of the child who is not contributing to the educational system. It's high school there is very little excuse to fail anything. If a student can't make a 70, then the state shouldn't have to pay for their lunch.

I agree with you about the 3rd party conducting the review of the teachers 100%.

Thanks for your input!



posted on Jan, 18 2012 @ 11:24 AM
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reply to post by stdscf12


The whole idea behind the drivers license and the free and reduced lunch, is it creates an incentive.

 


That's not an incentive, that's a restrictive punishment.




You better believe if students weren't able to get a driver's license unless they were making a certain GPA, they would make sure their grades were there.


That's not the case. If they are not making a certain GPA there are a million negative things that can impact their life. Yet, they don't care about those factors. Whose to say they would car about the one you are outlining? Not only that, but in large cities, a number of people will never need a car.




Also with free and reduced lunch, why should the State have to pay for the lunch of the child who is not contributing to the educational system. It's high school there is very little excuse to fail anything. If a student can't make a 70, then the state shouldn't have to pay for their lunch.


Free and reduced lunch could be an incentive. But if it is already being offered, then it becomes a restriction. That's a tough one....



posted on Jan, 18 2012 @ 11:33 AM
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reply to post by boncho
 


Some states do require a certain GPA for a drivers license already and it has proven to be a great incentive/restriction. There are already several mandates for drivers license - vision, school enrollment, citizenship, I think demonstration of applied knowledge should be one of them to. I think this creates an incentive and increases driver safety. I do realize that its not something that will affect everyone but I do think its a start.



posted on Jan, 18 2012 @ 11:38 AM
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Originally posted by stdscf12
reply to post by boncho
 


Some states do require a certain GPA for a drivers license already and it has proven to be a great incentive/restriction. There are already several mandates for drivers license - vision, school enrollment, citizenship, I think demonstration of applied knowledge should be one of them to. I think this creates an incentive and increases driver safety. I do realize that its not something that will affect everyone but I do think its a start.


The issue I have with this is:

There are tests required to obtain a driver's license. These tests are what should be a gauge to let someone drive. When I went for a driver's test, there was no calculus on it, and need not be, because I don't need calculus to drive.

What I see here is an opportunity to create a lower class of people. Perhaps someone may not be the most adept student but would excel as a truck driver, or in some other type of transportation where licensing is required.

-B
edit on 18-1-2012 by boncho because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 18 2012 @ 11:40 AM
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Originally posted by boncho
Not only that, but in large cities, a number of people will never need a car.


Until maybe 30 or 40 years later they want to move to a more rural area.
What do they do then?
Does this middle aged adult have to go back to school for a year or two to prove that they've now grown up, matured, settled down and are ready to deserve to have a car?



posted on Jan, 18 2012 @ 11:48 AM
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Originally posted by boncho

Originally posted by stdscf12
reply to post by boncho
 


Some states do require a certain GPA for a drivers license already and it has proven to be a great incentive/restriction. There are already several mandates for drivers license - vision, school enrollment, citizenship, I think demonstration of applied knowledge should be one of them to. I think this creates an incentive and increases driver safety. I do realize that its not something that will affect everyone but I do think its a start.


Perhaps someone may not be the most adept student but would excel as a truck driver, or in some other type of transportation where licensing is required.

-B
edit on 18-1-2012 by boncho because: (no reason given)


I do agree with you on the whole truck driver thing. But also keep in mind the restriction is only until the age of 18. The whole basis for the drivers license idea, is from athletics. I always have a ton of athletes in my classes. During their season, they are great students. They know that if they misbehave I can talk to their coach, or if they don't pass they can't play. But as soon as the season is over some go through a rapid transformation. To me meaning - if there is some sort of restriction/incentive, in other words, added consequence, they are more likely to keep their grades up. Just my thought and absolutely debatable topic.

Any ideas on how to create more parental involvement. I think this is a huge reason why students do not perform to their potential. I know when I was growing up my parents knew my grades and if they weren't acceptable there were problems. Today it's not the case for a lot of students and I fear this will be a continuing trend.



posted on Jan, 18 2012 @ 11:49 AM
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Originally posted by alfa1

Originally posted by boncho
Not only that, but in large cities, a number of people will never need a car.


Until maybe 30 or 40 years later they want to move to a more rural area.
What do they do then?
Does this middle aged adult have to go back to school for a year or two to prove that they've now grown up, matured, settled down and are ready to deserve to have a car?


No I said they need to maintain a GPA of 2.5 in order to have and keep a driver's license until the age of 18



posted on Jan, 18 2012 @ 11:49 AM
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reply to post by stdscf12
 


It should be and we see private schools do well WITH the teachers making much more. A friend of mine is a HS math teacher and he is amazed at all the non-teaching jobs in the system that pay 2 or 3 times a teacher salary. I think a big part of the problem is the systemic problem that family members tend to get hired and jobs are created for them that are not needed, so what we see is whole families ALL working for the education system in a state and none of them are teachers....do we really need so much overhead? In a real business I bet 70% would disappear. In the 60s EVERYONE was a teacher first. Even the Principle would fill in with maybe you had a few office workers...and that was it.



posted on Jan, 18 2012 @ 12:00 PM
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reply to post by Xtrozero
 


Those are also some great points. There is so many jobs that overlap in duties. If it really were to be run like a business, there would be a lot of "house cleaning"



posted on Jan, 18 2012 @ 12:01 PM
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I agree with school optional after 8th grade.

Take my son, he's only in first, but I can tell he is beter at hands on things, like mechanics, then book smarts



posted on Jan, 18 2012 @ 12:02 PM
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The number one problem facing education, especially in elementary, is the lack of parental accountability. We keep trying to associate teacher performance with children’s test scores, but when a teacher inherits a child that is performing at a much lower level or even illiterate, that teacher will always suffer. One or two of these children may only have a slight effect, but imagine 25% to 50% of your class.
My wife teaches second grade at a low performing school in the New Orleans area school (Her first year there) and her class contains at least 60% low level students with a handful that can barely read, if at all. Her career is linked to their performance on test scores of which a lot of the students can’t even read. The law prevents her from even reading the questions to them.
My wife has her Master’s Degree from Columbia University in Educational Leadership and is a very capable teacher. She goes out of her way, and pocket book, to provide the students with the resources they need, but ultimately some things are left up to parents. She is constantly trying to make contact with parents of failing or low level students with unveil. There is no support with homework and many have been simply neglected by their parents with evidence of NO early interaction with THEIR children during their preschool years. I forgot to mention that my wife’s Bachelor degree was in Sociology and she was a supervisor for child protection and even wrote a guideline that was initiated agency wide. She understands child neglect. The children not only suffer from parental univolvement academically, but many show up dirty and smelly.
Hygiene and emotional neglect compounded by being simply ignored.
At some point we have to realize that longer school hours, replacing veteran teachers with Teach-for-America (worthy of its own thread), and Charter Schools replacing District ones (Hugely unreported on their extremely low performance score and worthy of about 50 threads) will never result in any real results.
We had a truancy problem years ago until parents were fined and faced possible jail time.
Parental responsibility checklist (not for those with mental disabilities)
(1) If your child can’t count, read, or speak clearly and able to get their point across before going to Kindergarten you have failed and suck as a parent.
(2) If your child is dirty and smelly when you let them leave your house you have failed and suck as a parent.
(3) If you are not daily checking your child’s homework and have not made contact with their teachers at anytime within the first month of school you have failed and suck as a parent

It is not a teacher’s job to raise your children and every parent has a duty in the education of their child.

edit on 18-1-2012 by sensible thought because: left out word NO



posted on Jan, 18 2012 @ 12:14 PM
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Absolutely love the Tax credit idea and the Government assistance idea.

Drivers license option is currently working in several areas

Big Yes on trade schools. Many students are not going to college and have little desire, but teaching one a trade such as air-condition repair, electrician..... gives them a real option. I would tie in classes on how to create your own business from your trade as well.



posted on Jan, 18 2012 @ 12:34 PM
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I like what you're saying.

I think that there should be a test during junior high school. If you can't pass the test, then you are not college bound so you should be given some options for trade school like you mentioned.

If you don't realize the value of a free education,then most likely you're not getting much benefit from it.

I'd also like to see society place a much higher value on academic accomplishment then on sports.

We need to publicly acknowledge academic success. If you're in the top ten percent of students, then you get some sort of freebies from the local area.. ie free bus pass, or free admission to something. Let the kids know that when you succeed in the classroom that you'll most likely succeed in life.

If you can't maintain a B average, then you shouldn't be playing any high school sports. My kids were A students and also played school sports (and later college sports)



posted on Jan, 18 2012 @ 12:36 PM
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Originally posted by sensible thought

(1) If your child can’t count, read, or speak clearly and able to get their point across before going to Kindergarten you have failed and suck as a parent.
(2) If your child is dirty and smelly when you let them leave your house you have failed and suck as a parent.
(3) If you are not daily checking your child’s homework and have not made contact with their teachers at anytime within the first month of school you have failed and suck as a parent

It is not a teacher’s job to raise your children and every parent has a duty in the education of their child.

edit on 18-1-2012 by sensible thought because: left out word NO




posted on Jan, 18 2012 @ 04:51 PM
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Originally posted by stdscf12

My business instincts have observed several inefficiencies, and I have devised several solutions. If I were able to run the public education system like a business, here is what I’d do.





What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland`s School Success


Have you seen the tremendous advances Finland have made over the past few decades ?

They have however, taken a completely different approach than the one you propose.

These are a selection of the key components of the Finnish education policy taken from the article linked above:


Finland has ranked at or near the top in all three competencies on every survey since 2000, neck and neck with superachievers such as South Korea and Singapore. In the most recent survey in 2009 Finland slipped slightly, with students in Shanghai, China, taking the best scores, but the Finns are still near the very top. Throughout the same period, the PISA performance of the United States has been middling, at best.




....there are no private schools in Finland.



There are no private universities, either.



Finland has no standardized tests.

The only exception is what's called the National Matriculation Exam, which everyone takes at the end of a voluntary upper-secondary school, roughly the equivalent of American high school.



... all teachers and administrators are given prestige, decent pay, and a lot of responsibility.



A master's degree is required to enter the profession, and teacher training programs are among the most selective professional schools in the country



There are no lists of best schools or teachers in Finland.



The main driver of education policy is not competition between teachers and between schools, but cooperation.



Decades ago, when the Finnish school system was badly in need of reform, the goal of the program that Finland instituted, resulting in so much success today, was never excellence. It was equity.



Finland offers all pupils free school meals, easy access to health care, psychological counseling, and individualized student guidance.


source

As a teacher yourself I would be interested to hear what you think about this approach.

------------------

What percentage of U.S. teachers have a master`s degree before entering the profession ?

-----------------

Is this just too left for it to be adopted ?

_______________

Cheers stdscf12






edit on 18-1-2012 by UmbraSumus because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 19 2012 @ 05:03 PM
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reply to post by UmbraSumus
 


So many of the worlds problems could be fixed by moving away from the competitive model into the co-operative model.




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