Friday, April 3, 2015

King for a Day in 562 Words

In no particular order these shall be my declarations as #OKlaed king for the day.

Develop a feasible and aggressive technology vision for our states education system in its entirety. Oklahoma is becoming increasingly behind the nation yet again, this time in the area of providing avenues to which all schools can garner an equal opportunity to provide an environment that accommodates students’ technology needs. We continually hear that we are not producing workers that are prepared for the 21st Century workforce, yet there has been little to no discussion on the basis of how we can provide an infrastructure, as well as actual devices, to our students PK-12. Our students will be working within environments that are saturated with technology and need the skills to produce in these surroundings. This has simply fallen under the umbrella of what a school is expected to and needs to provide to students to offer a high-quality education, along with the bevy of other things that are now necessitated over and above even just 15 years ago.

Competitive starting pay for our teachers, and better pay for our best teachers. I don't know a single industry that does not benefit from a good salary attracting the best candidates, or from paying their best the best. (I have another blog coming soon about this topic only) Education is no different, and I cannot fathom as to why some will say that education is an anomaly in that regard. It's not 'whining', its backed up by actual research, of which this is simply one example. Stop redirecting and dancing around the issue whilst talking about administrative salaries, consolidation and ‘propping up unions’. Get to real problems and real solutions. Get to factual information in those areas, as well as do them in the name of transparency and efficiency, but can’t we do them all? We are 49th. We’ve tried the cheap approach. It’s not working.

Restructure schedules, both daily and yearly. We are operating under a standardized calendar simply out of 19th Century compromise and convenience, and not even agrarian principles, as most would be led to believe. If we are to get serious about true education reform, and we know there are many that get excited just at the utterance of those two words, then we cannot do so without tackling our inefficient and outdated school schedule. In regards to the calendar, most outside of education probably do not even realize the issues that come along with the feast and famine school schedule as it currently stands throughout most of our state. The ‘summer slide’ is very real and can be minimized by the creation of a more efficient school calendar. With regards to daily scheduling, we must embrace research that strongly suggests that the school day should start later. We could also look into staggering start times, especially for Middle School and High School, allowing for parents and students to choose the best fit. We like choice right? This approach would also save money by allowing for doubling the usage of buses and therefore requiring less buses. However you slice it up, our school schedule is archaic and harming the educational attainment of our students.

There are more things that I would obviously address if I were ‘King for a Day’, but I only have 600 words and “wish for more wishes” was already taken.