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What new technologies and strategies can we use to be more open, efficient and save taxpayer money?

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Submitted by (@peter.row)

Review the efficacy of graded homework

Does graded homework improve students (across multiple subjects) or is it just a sub-optimization? If a student is given more graded homework in Physics, then they won't do as much ungraded homework in Biology (especially if the grades go towards their final marks). So do students learn more by doing graded homework, or is it just a turf war between different teachers all trying to push kids to work harder in their ...more »

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11 votes
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Submitted by (@hals00)

Fund research into optimal school start times

"From the onset of puberty until late teen years, the brain chemical melatonin, which is responsible for sleepiness, is secreted from approximately 11 p.m. until approximately 8 a.m., nine hours later. This secretion is based on human circadian rhythms and is rather fixed [by exposure to sunlight]. In other words, typical youth are not able to fall asleep much before 11 p.m. and their brains will remain in sleep mode ...more »

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55 votes
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Submitted by (@adamm.smith)

Universal procedural literacy / computational thinking

Introduce foundational programming skills to all students at least by the middle-school level. A procedural literacy program could bootstrap from the computer skills (including the use of spreadsheets, programming in a data-flow paradigm), but should quickly move to take a more universal role across broader areas of knowledge. Computational thinking is important not only in STEM careers, but business/marketing and even ...more »

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39 votes
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Submitted by (@dgodon)

Allow democratic innovation in public schools

Public schools are an important part of a democratic society and public funds should not be farmed out to private charter schools (whether non-profit or for-profit). And, part of that is modeling the democratic process within schools - allowing teachers, staff, administrators, parents, and especially students to have a voice in how schools operate. Learning how to work together is not only an important skill in an increasingly ...more »

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13 votes
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Submitted by (@duncan.john)

Schools, not prisons

Encourage schools to become less like prisons and more like educational campuses. Off-campus privileges should be the rule, not the exception. Study hall is a bad idea, compared to free periods. I watched my high school degrade from an open campus created in the 70s to a locked-down prison in the 90s. No-one would say the education was better in the 90s.

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25 votes
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Submitted by (@svetlanamedusa)

Adopt mastery approaches: #1 Scrap letter grades (off topic)

Dgodon suggested we have more comprehensive methods of assessment; I want to suggest something more stark. Scrap letter grades completely, and replace with pass/fail. If you want to distinguish the elite from the ordinary, use portfolio samples: there's enough variation in pass-fail work to please everyone. Elite students can also distinguish themselves by simply getting through more work faster. Pass/fail typically ...more »

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2 votes
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Submitted by (@svetlanamedusa)

Adopt mastery approaches #2: Scrap social progression (offtopic)

I'm not sure how age-based progression ever became the standard, but it stinks. Offer students a comprehensive mastery syllabus that they can navigate at their own pace (possible within a normal school setting without anything too radical) and let them progress as they master skills. If you're 15 and still working with a bunch of 11 year-olds on Arithmetic 3, so be it. Caveat: keep the overall age limit on schools (ie ...more »

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43 votes
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Submitted by (@grant5000)

Eliminate the Federal Department of Education

The Federal DOE is a 48 billion dollar duplication of state agencies. Instead of collecting taxes from states and then distributing that money to states minus the costs of collection and distribution, leave the money where it is. Local agencies know the needs of their constituents better than a distant office and did arguably better without the DOE, which only came into existence in 1980.

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-4 votes
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Submitted by (@megan.eskey)

OpenEducation v2.0: A Next Gen Opensource/OpenSocial Portal

A pilot project to build a next-gen Dept of Education portal for the Federal Community Cloud. The idea is to build a suite of opensocial portals, one at each Federal Agency, based on The Open Stack that will enable communication with all opensocial partners.

 

Useful Links:

http://tinyurl.com/yks78pg

http://bit.ly/cUrTv8

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4 votes
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Submitted by (@suevanhattum)

Stop Measuring Quality by Standardized Tests

There is plenty of evidence that standardized testing is inadequate to measure what most of us really care about. (See books by Alfie Kohn, and the blog by Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch at http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/.) There is also plenty of evidence that the time and money spent on this testing take away from what schools need to do - help kids learn. Better measures of quality are not straightforward. ...more »

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40 votes
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Submitted by (@derrickjohnson)

Utopia: The initative to be better.

It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it is one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure. We have come to ...more »

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-1 votes
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