Concrete Ideas to Improve Schools and the Lives of Children

There are concrete things we can do to improve our schools and the lives of children.

They need to be given more and higher quality attention.

They need to see that they have a future.

They need to see that they can change the world, even if only a tiny bit.

Moving toward these goals, we can:

  • SHOW THEM THE MONEY. I made $40,000 at my first job after college, with only a bachelors degree, and $14.000 in loans to pay back. Some teachers make less than $30,000 at their first job, with a masters degree and $80,000 in loans to pay back. Pre-school care is in even worse shape. The children know that adults are not willing to pay for a good education.

  • FIGHT POVERTY. Some students will eventually use geometry and trigonometry. All students would be able to use personal finance math. All students should be able to calculate the value of compound interest. All students should be taught to interview for jobs, or write thier own business plan. How can people plan for the future if they are not told how to read the map?

  • NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE. If you wrongs are commited against people time and again, and they have no recourse in the system, they will strike back outside the system. Create systems that encourage dialog, assume innocence, and give punishments that explicitly allow for rehabilitation. Zero tolerance is just another way of saying we don't care enough to look at the situation as a whole. It's a shortcut.

  • KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS. Give individuals individual attention. If the schedule and population is such that it is impossible for all students of a school to recieve 1/2 hour a week of one on one time with a teacher you need more teachers or less students at a school.

  • LEARN BY DOING. Do something. Don't simulate, don't calculate, do it. Set goals. Design the new playground. Lobby the school board to the level they cannot ignore you. Bring the town to small claims court. Start your own newspaper. Start your own business.

~by Jeff, age 24

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