I propose Massachusetts towns adopt Montessori schooling or 'In-House Homeschooling' alongside offerings of conventional classroom learning. Families will optionally enroll in a Montessori or open research school shift running at the same time as classroom schooling to give their children a more nurturing and accommodating learning environment.
Students will be encouraged to participate in Montessori study and MIT type open research alongside their coach teachers and parents in gymnasium and lab-group settings. Learning enhanced with MIT opencourseware and other advanced open research programs will truly turn on our high school students to learning and keep them occupied with good things and enjoyable participation. The benefits of these programs will be great. Before and after school programs and parental involvement can expand monumentally. Change in education can be good.
Studies have suggested that every student is a self taught learner from birth and institutional learning forces them to learn a different way than they would naturally. We can do more for our children by letting them use their own creative skills and have the childhood they desired first.
Video: Montessori Elementary Education in Action
Video: MIT's Opencourseware celebrates 1800th online course
Video: MIT's biology course playlist
MIT's first video, 36 minutes of introductory biology. Massachusetts schools and Montessori / research oriented students can benefit immensely from these videos and other free media, with teacher and parent coaches to support them.
The Westford School Board:
Diane Weir <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Bill Olsen <email@example.com>
Arthur Benoit <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Margaret Murray <email@example.com>
Betsy Andrews <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Judith Culver <email@example.com>
Mariclaire Oneal <firstname.lastname@example.org>
John Moran <email@example.com>
Thank you Bill, Arthur, Margaret, Betsy, Diane, Judy, Mariclaire, and John for helping Westford's public school program. I appreciate your dedication to education.
I oppose the MCAS. I believe accountability is critical. Imagine instead of one MCAS to pass high school, 8000 MCAS-style tests, one for each level of knowledge and topic. Students would select them like merit badges in Boy Scouts and begin moving towards their areas of expertise at their convenience. Combinations of these merit tests will build advanced and professional degrees after the high school diploma. Students could begin working on merit tests from as early as they wanted through doctoral programs.
Diane Weir wrote [abridged]:
Hello, Mr. Bunker.
You bring up many good points. I do agree that there are likely many students in Westford who could excel in a self-paced environment.
About the MCAS. As I mentioned before, state assessments ensure accountability. Too many children are simply passed on from one grade to the next without having learned basic arithmetic or how to read. I believe the assessment could be improved, but based on my experience as a public school teacher, the accountability system is needed.
Regarding the relation of creativity and basic skills, as a former music teacher I believe they go hand in hand. A jazz musician is only able to improvise after much practice of rudimentary scales. An author can only craft a novel after learning the mechanics of writing. In general, I believe the problem we have in public schools is not too much focus on basic skills, but too little.
I do like your system of choice. Some students will thrive in a Montessori setting. Others would not. Both should have a choice to learn in a system which suits them. Have you spoken to Bill Olsen? He is currently looking at ways to expand the school day.
Thank you for your patience and spirit of giving, Diane. Students should want to learn. The world is bright and full of amazing and wonderful things. Why limit creativity and wonder? I support free form/Montessori education.
Group and individual activities at museums, engineering labs, businesses, and civic and technical studies with professionals and scholars can be better selected and planned through merit based achievements. I also support home schooling and invite home schoolers to use public research resources and take merit based tests. I would love to see home schooling extend to home college and degree programs through merit programs.
A two-shift school day with first and second programs from 8am-8pm may help urban environments such as Lowell, Lawrence, and Dorchester where kids face challenges that a safe and educational haven at school could address. A full day school shift will uplift our urban environments and give more opportunities for education, apprenticeships, and achievement.
Video: William proposes a Two-Shift School Day for Cities
Look at what these students did at a high school in Nova Scotia:
Youths at Central Kings Rural High School in Nova Scotia began a campaign for boys at school to wear pink in support of a boy who was bullied. These kids have a great idea and a good way for us to strengthen tolerance. School bullying and dispute is a pandemic social problem and follows many people into their adult lives. Nova Scotia now has an official Anti-Bullying Day recognized on the second Thursday of each school year. I will ask Massachusetts and the world to adopt this holiday and reduce competition in the classroom.
Students in any setting can benefit from open source education, online college classes and MIT's free opencourseware. Modern academic journals are published online and great resources for students at home and in school. Any serious academic study should be encouraged by teachers, parents, and counselors who will be the guides they were meant to be.
While our universities are tip top they do not offer the classes students need or the freedom to pursue opportunities they are curious about. Many are training for jobs that don't exist yet in classes that do. Children starting school in 2006 will be retiring in 2065. I would let students study as they feel guided to and award them degrees of assessment and other independent professional licenses as they earn them through merit tests. Examine the 2006 TED convention hosted by Sir Ken Robinson, who says school kills creativity. Let students enjoy and pursue their educations to gain skills for when they become adults.
Grassroots civic research groups are a strong source of education. I study and broadly cite intelligence and media gathered from internet journalists. Grassroots local media and entertainment should be a large part of public awareness and student education. We can develop stronger community bonds through these channels.
Try these great informational websites:
And these journalists:
Examine this video about civics by the late great Aaron Russo. Non-institutional educators such as Mr Russo are a valuable resource for students.
Video: Investigator and Teacher Aaron Russo [1943-2007]