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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 46,179

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It's been well-established, since long before the current deform models, that the biggest predictor of standardized test scores is parent SES.

Brain research informs us about the critical birth-4 year period when neural connections are formed that are crucial to later academic learning...long before children get to kindergarten, ensuring that students enter public education already ahead or behind, and, in terms of brain development, tend to continue the way they began. Those starting behind CAN grow more connections, although not at the pre-K rate, and they do; of course, so does everyone else, so they don't "catch up."

Our society is based on capitalistic values: competition, haves and have-nots, the "bootstrap" myth. Our society is not interested in closing economic gaps and equalizing the playing field. Our economy and our society depends on keeping a large pool of cheap labor and cannon fodder. Getting to blame teachers and the education system for "failure" is just a bonus for privatizers who want access to all of the public money spent on the system.

If the U.S. truly, honestly, wanted to improve the education of all, we'd start by eradicating poverty, and making sure that every person in the U.S. had fundamental rights to clean, healthy, safe, shelter with light, heat, etc.; appropriate clothing; abundant healthy food; easily accessible, high-quality health care, including mental, dental, and vision, free at point of service, funded 100% by taxes; clean, safe neighborhoods and communities, with parks, libraries, etc., etc., etc., close to all; a guaranteed minimal income for all, a job for all who wanted it, and a living wage.

That right there would increase learning without changing ANYTHING at schools. If we then wanted to provide every person with equal access to a world-class education, we would:

1. Fully fund every aspect of public education, including daily PE, health, counselors, art teachers, music programs, etc., etc., etc..

2. Reduce all class sizes to the optimal 15 that research tells is best.

3. Make pre-school universal and free.

4. Invest in comprehensive parent education programs: at school, on tv, at obstetrician's offices, as public service announcements on tv, radio, internet and bill-boards, etc., etc., etc.; blanket the culture with the information about how to raise children birth - kindergarten, and how to support students once they started school. Things like keeping them away from electronic toys, tv, etc. for several years; direct conversation and interaction with adults; developmentally appropriate play/exploration opportunities; singing, rhyming, poetry, storybooks, cooking, building, climbing, and all of the things that develop strong language skills and strong brains. Things like a dedicated reading and homework time, when there are no electronic distractions going on. Things like parents modeling reading and language and learning as family values by engaging in them themselves. Things like regular extended family conversations.

5. Make college, university, and/or trade school universally available and free.

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