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Sometimes it feels as if our school system is at war with parents, and winning. The kids are just the ammunition.

Take homework, for example. Most schools load up the kids with hours of homework, which ruins a family's quality of life after school, putting parents in the position of being bad cops from the time school is out until bedtime. The kids are stressed, overworked, and tired. You might assume there is a scientific basis for assigning so much homework. Does it make our nation more competitive on the International playing field? Answer: Nope. In fact, the Charter School down the street, that presumably looked into best practices, gives kids time during the school day to complete all of their assignments.

Now suppose your kid joins a sports team, or band, or competitive cheerleading, or just about anything. You'll find yourself spending weekends out of town for tournaments and competitions. You might be booking hotels for overnight stays, and generally building your life around these occasions. I will acknowledge that for an elite student athlete/musician/mathlete/whatever, the opportunity to compete with the best in the state might help secure a college scholarship. But parents know early on if they have a scholarship-winning sort of child, and most do not. Most parents just want their kids to be active and stimulated, and to have some meat for college applications. For that, do they really need to travel across the state? Where is the scientific basis for the notion that Joe Average Kid is made into a better human being by playing soccer against kids that are six hours away by car?

Things don't get better after high school. The cost of college is absurd, and half of the value of the degree involves the brand recognition of the school. Worse yet, the best classes fill up early. If society started from scratch to design a system of higher education, I can't imagine it looking anything like the current system.

Interestingly, society probably has all of the knowledge it needs to fix the problems I mentioned. And parents are probably the strongest block of voters in the country. That tells me the real problem is a lack of leadership. Once again, I must reluctantly step into the void.

When I'm president, I will use the power of persuasion to encourage schools to adopt the best practices of the Charter Schools. I'm assuming Charter Schools have less homework and fewer unnecessary competitions on the road. But more generally, I'll follow whatever direction the science points to. I'll also use my powers of persuasion to come up with a useful ranking of colleges by value instead of brand. In time, that sort of comparison should drive down costs and perhaps attract innovative competition. Value rankings already exist, but making those rankings more important will require leadership.

Vote for me and I'll end the war on parents.
 
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+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 19, 2012
@HaraldB: Didn't watch the video, but you mean they learn new stuff in order to solve a problem just like in the "real" world? Amazing! I'm an electrical/software engineer. Learning new stuff to solve a problem is a common occurrence for me.

Also, if you want to see a blog where they put together statistics, science AND politics (they even cite their sources), you might want to check out Political Calculations. Here is an interesting post about why the cost of college is so expensive. http://politicalcalculations.blogspot.com/2012/02/rising-unaffordability-of-college.html
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 19, 2012
Here in Wyoming, the nearest high school from mine was 30 miles. The next nearest was 2.5 hours. It would be hard to have any decent competition at all by staying close to home.
 
 
Mar 19, 2012
1. You need to use a font with more space between rows.

2. You can't really do much about local education as US president. At that level, every level beneath you is lying.

3. The college system needs to be reworked from the ground up. For starters, why spend all that expense and use up all that real estate when it'd be cheaper for college students to live at home. 1/3rd of them will wind up there after college anyways. Unfortunately, the existing colleges don't want it improved.

As a bonus point, look how retarded the BCS is and it was made by people who went to college. So if the BCS is the best that college educated people could come up with...

4. "I'll follow whatever direction the science points to."

Doesn't science point to home schooling? In college I met a 16 year old in 2nd year math courses who happened to be home schooled. If this is the case you'll never do it because the unions would roast your you-know-whats if you tried. Even if not, pay the scientists to point science in the cheapest direction and let the next guy worry about the consequences.

5. You want to end the war on parenting, but what about bad parents and the weasly definition of bad? Shouldn't we order drone strikes on them? Or are you coming out as pro-bad parenting?
 
 
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 19, 2012
Scott,

Parents who can decide what is good for themselves are often right about what is good for their kids.

Children come in so many shapes and sizes. Each one deals with abstractions in different ways. Some are spell bound by cognition, some go overboard with normative, and some fall in love with aesthetic abstractions.

Formal educational can never meet all the needs at one go. When should a parent shrug?

I'll vote for you anyway. A known devil is better than an unknown God.

.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 19, 2012
The fantastic Ricardo Semler created Luminar. The school doesn't teach subjects, they create projects that children work on. Learning becomes a method for solving a problem and not the goal, and children thrive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzuhoTDPoBU
 
 
Mar 19, 2012
"I'll also use my powers of persuasion to come up with a useful ranking of colleges by value instead of brand. In time, that sort of comparison should drive down costs and perhaps attract innovative competition." You also need to change the structure of federal financial aid which builds in an incentive for colleges to raise their tuition.

But otherwise, like the idea!
 
 
Mar 19, 2012
Uhhhhhhg. The majority of the charter schools here in SW Ohio are places I would never send my kids. Low low test scores, gross mis-management by people/organizations who have no educational experience, and corruption via mis-use of funds. I'm sure the teachers do their best, but overall the charter schools have a rotten reputation around here.
 
 
Mar 19, 2012
The added advantage of having students complete assignments in class is that you can be sure that it is actually the students doing the work.
 
 
Mar 19, 2012
What's next: Comic Sans?
 
 
 
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