Education an Art Based on Science

The education system in the United States is so messed up that we need to go back to basics.

What should the goal of public education be? Historically it was to teach children to read the Bible, write and do basic math.

Today reading is still a goal of public education, but it now draws on all genres of literature to learn life lessons not just the Judeo-ChristianBible.

Basic math today is still a goal of public education. It was needed to participate with business in buying and selling. However, if you look as school curriculums they take all students beyond basic math to higher math. Why? So they can get into college.

I was fortunate to be involved in the opening of a job oriented high school. There was still English and basic math, but the rest of the curriculum was devoted to occupational skills such as: carpentry, electrician, computer programming, culinary, plumbing and nursing.

Then the state started a universal testing program based upon traditional high school curriculum. To get funding our students had to focus on courses that could get them into college. As you can guess, the school essentially became a typical high school focusing on college preparatory courses that were tested state wide and used to allocate school funding. Technical schools essentially stopped focusing on the needs of business, parents and students. How did this change things.

Our culinary program trained students to work in high end restaurants. They learned to be to flamb’e, prepare lobster, prepare fresh vegetables, make all kinds of baked goods. The district cut the budget so that the culinary department only prepared dishes that were on the district’s cafeteria menu. (to be specific, the students were used to open cans and boxes of frozen food, and reheat them. They went from culinary students to cafeteria workers.)

What should be the goals directing our states and local school boards? We are far away from reading, writing and arithmetic. Does every student need to do calculus, read Shakespeare, study physics?

We will look at that question next time.

Please feel free to comment.

Education & Covid-19

What did we learn?

That parents view teachers primarily as baby sitters?

That getting the kids out of the house and back to work is more important than the health of students or teachers?

That local or state control of education doesn’t work?

That remote learning is not equal to person to person learning?

That remote learning is not available to lower income families and rural areas?

That teachers are non-essential workers?

That educational equality is available based upon income, race and geographical location?

If They Told the Truth On All Classroom Teacher Job Descriptions

Below is an actual job description for a teaching position that was posted online, which has been translated into a realistic description of the job.
— Read on www.boredteachers.com/humor/the-realistic-classroom-teacher-job-description

So true! And why teachers retire or go into other fields.

Common Core

I understand that they are standards.  I believe standards are a good thing.

What concerns me that as of yet no one had defined the goals of our public education system.  What do we think that every student in the United States should be able to do by the time they graduate?

Let’s take math.  Most school require at least four years of math. So are we talking about Year One is addition, Year Two is subtraction, Year Three is multiplication, and Year Four is division.  Seems like an awful long time to learn four skills.

Does everyone need algebra, trig, geometry, solid geometry, calculus, etc.?  I have justified algebra to all students by showing how it teaches logic and how I have used it in remodeling my house.  But a whole year?  And how do you justify graphing, x and y axis, and slope and slant?  I’m seventy-one years old, a college graduate and a teacher, and I have never found a practical use.

I can justify geometry for all students by showing students how to figure out how much paint they need for their room, car or bike.  But a whole year?  And how do you justify points, and lines, and tangents, and segments?I’m seventy-one years old, a college graduate and a teacher, and I have never found a practical use.

I took trig and calc and geometry and got my “A” but haven’t thought about them on a personal level other than when I have seen my students struggling.

So, my question to you is what should be our goal for every student when it comes to math?  Please share the question with everyone and share their responses.  There are a lot of frustrated students, parents and taxpayers wondering the same thing.

No Time Off For Good Behavior




In most, if not all, of the states in the United States education is mandatory for all children of a certain age. Generally, students between the ages of six and eighteen must be receiving education whether public, private or in the home.

They proceed year by year through the system grouped by age and having completed the previous year’s work in English, math, science and social studies. Because of the “promotion by age” process, the academic strengths and weaknesses of individuals cannot be addressed efficiently or at all. No matter how quickly a student masters the subject matter, they must complete twelve years of schooling, Ergo, twelve years with no time off for good behavior or for that matter chance of parole. No matter how hard you work in school, no matter how many extra courses you take, the bottom line for the ninety-nine percent of students is that they have to serve their twelve year sentence.

Stop sentencing our children to twelve years without the possibility of parole or even time off for good behavior.

Make education about competency not “doing their time”.

Think about all those times when you sat through a lesson that you already knew and were bored to tears.

Think about all those times when you could have used to go a little slower to get a lesson but couldn’t.

Think about all the time wasted when the teacher had to discipline fellow students who were bored and acted out.

Think about the highly motivated and talented students for whom there was no hope of advancement because they weren’t yet old enough yet to proceed to the next competency.

Think about the economic advantages.

Think about teachers teaching highly motivated students.

Think about the students who will benefit from their hard work by being able to complete school early and begin their careers.

Think about the parents who will have children who will want to go to school.

After you have thought this through, ask your board of education to justify their current method of promoting students. If they have no good justification, push for “true” competency based education; not competency based in name only.


The Secret to Finding Happiness

To introduce an experiment, I asked my students if anyone had found any money in the last month? Their ears perked up. They looked at me to see if they needed to call the principal because i had cracked up.

I asked again, an not a single student raised their hand.

Everyone wants happiness, but very few find it.  The reason is that they are not actively looking for happiness.  We are going to test this theory.

You assignment is to for the next week actively look for money.  Obviously, you may not steal it.  (I always point that out because for them it is not so obvious, and they would like to say that I told them to steal.)  Again I got the crazy looks.

In every class some students always find money.

Do you look for happiness?  Where do you look?  Do you look in the newspaper?  Do you look to your spouse?  Do you look to nature?  Do you look to a pet?

Where you look is not important.  What is important that you start to look and keep on looking.