SOURCE: Vision Media

January 18, 2011 04:00 ET

Public Schools System in the US -- Off the Assembly Line: Vision.org

Education Reform That Can Help Our Children Today

PASADENA, CA--(Marketwire - January 18, 2011) - Recent documentaries such as Waiting for Superman and Race to Nowhere, have raised the dialogue concerning some of the dysfunctions of the public schools system. A new article from Vision titled "Off the Assembly Line" offers an overview of the history of school standardization and how it has led to a system that shortchanges individuals as well as society overall.

How can we help our children, our students, our next generation of leaders navigate today's education system?

Education reform such as merit pay for teachers based on student achievement and the removal of the tenure system are often touted as long overdue solutions to underperforming schools. Unfortunately, these efforts would come too late to help our current student body. Vision notes, "We may hope for change, as do many advocates for reform, but our children live in the system today; they cannot wait for a future thaw that may move the glacier."

The key to student success, whether in the public schools system or not, says Vision writer Dan Cloer, is an engaged parent. "The adult who should be most aware of the child's strengths, weaknesses and talents is the parent. Teachers and other adults certainly want to help, but strong pressures often stymie their efforts. Parents must take a more active role in helping their children explore and cultivate their unique talents."

"Off the Assembly Line" suggests that the parent-child relationship should be the locus of first educational reform. Parents must first understand where the public schools system is failing their children so they can effectively compensate for its limitations. "Over the last century public schools systems around the world have been designed and standardized with [a] basic concept in mind: to prepare a small group of people for managerial training and a larger cohort for the labor market," said Cloer.

"When stated so plainly," Cloer continues, "the gap between what we really desire from our schools -- that they help guide our children toward their best talents -- and the reality that stands before us, is huge. Without minimizing the real improvements that have been made in general education for an ever widening diversity of children, nor the many instances of individual accomplishment, we must acknowledge that we're squandering a great pool of latent talent under the bell curve. This is creative potential that many critics of the system argue we will need in the challenging decades ahead."

Read the full article at http://www.vision.org

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