Public Feedback & Involvement, Tools & Strategies...

Bring back music in schools.

Do what it takes to bring back music, curiosity, experimentation and fun in learning. Regimented learning has gotten to the point where most students hate going to school. This needs to change - school is supposed to be fun. 1) Get domain experts to share their love of a subject with the kids. 2) Bring back chemistry the way it was taught. 3) Music.. let people play.. make noise and fall in love with it. 4) Make education ...more »

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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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Data Availability, Information Quality, Accountability...

The Department of Education should live webcast all meetings

The Department of Education should live webcast all meetings for proposed rule making and regulations where the public comment should take place. They should make these meetings available for on demand viewing and have the ability to have that content be indexed for video search. By doing this the public and stakeholders will be able to see the inner workings of the rule making process and make the content and proceedings ...more »

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Public Feedback & Involvement, Tools & Strategies...

Give them a break!!

Children are not meant to be sitting down and studying for 7 hours a day! Recess time has shrunk to almost nothing, gym is often culled if other 'more important' events need to take place and then children are penalized for having too much energy. Schools need to incorporate multiple breaks for the children throughout the school day. Learning does not occur only at the student desk. Our elementary school recently shortened ...more »

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Truly Healthy Lunches

Doing away with sugary foods in lunches is a start, but it is not the biggest problem with school lunches! Fresh locally grown food in school lunches should be a priority of the Department of Education. Most school lunches in America consist of heavily processed industrially created food that is often times poorer quality than fast food restaurants. -The Department of Education should team up with First Lady Michele ...more »

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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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Teach to ability and not to age

It is illogical for us to insist that a child of a certain age needs to, and is capable of, learning only a set number of items and in a certain order. Instead of trying to force all chilren to progress at the same speed we should be allowing those to can work ahead to do so at their own pace. We need curriculum that includes progressive acquisition of skills and knowlege but this should not be linked solely to the age ...more »

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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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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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Use more comprehensive methods of assessment

Qualitative assessments, portfolios, written evaluations, demonstrations of work, performances all give much greater insight into what students are learning. On the other hand, grades provide little real insight into student learning, no constructive feedback for improvement, and tend to undermine genuine interest in learning.

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Public Feedback & Involvement, Tools & Strategies...

Scrap "No Child Left Behind"

This has been a travesty. It was passed as a bill that would help school children excel, but all it has done is to take classroom time away from teaching in order to teach the students how to take a test. It is teaching rote learning, which is not learning at all, but repetition. It is teaching children the wrong thing. It is teaching them that test results are more important than learning the material. It is ...more »

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Data Availability, Information Quality, Accountability...

Renaissance in Education rebirth of Arts/Woodshop/Home Economics

In order for our children to compete with the rest of the world we need to bring back the valuable subjects of Art, Woodshop, and Home Economics. We need to teach our children how to create with their hands. Did you know the Arts teach kids to be more tolerant and open. - allow kids to express themselves creatively. - promote individuality and bolsters self-confidence. - provide an alternative to delinquent behavior ...more »

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National program evaluation data should be public-access

Too many national program evaluations are conducted by contractors who hold the data to themselves, when it's taxpayers who foot the bill, and one evaluation may be idiosyncratic or have methodological weaknesses. If we have a national program evaluation, evaluators must be obligated to provide the USDOE with an archivable copy of key data (made anonymous to protect privacy of individuals whose data was collected) that ...more »

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Universal district maps

I'd love see all of the local school districts overlaid, as polygons, on a Google map. It is hard enough just to get to view the exact boundaries of our local districts, so trying to draw conclusions about the layout of neighboring districts becomes near impossible, let alone making comparative studies across regions. If district bounds were available as a standard data-set, third parties could mash up other data layers ...more »

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Public Feedback & Involvement, Tools & Strategies...

Better leverage open source software and open IT

The 1,600 members of Open Source for America are dedicated to supporting and guiding federal efforts to make the US government more open through the use of open source software. We have established recommendations for all agencies to consider in their Open Government Plans, with these recommendations especially highlighting the need to remove barriers to the successful leveraging of open source software and open IT more ...more »

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Data Availability, Information Quality, Accountability...

Schema (data format) for student performance records

Come up with a relatively general-purpose schema for encoding records of a student's performance in a sharable data format. The schema should be flexible enough to support some local customization by institutions but rigid enough to allow instant import of foreign sources. This schema should be paired with anonymization guidelines so that institutions can feel comfortable exposing this data to the public and other bodies. ...more »

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Innovative Process / Mini Trade School Within High School

Please we beg of you, let our kids go to trade school for high school. By the time some kids get to high school they are already interested in computers, cars, sports, science, math and English. Take some of the European schools for an example, where kids high school education offers trade school quality education for those preparing for work and college. The well rounded education is boring, there is too much homework ...more »

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Listen to Teacher's ideas first

There is no one more important in the learning of a child than the teacher. They are the most qualified persons to advise on what works, what doesn't, how performance should be measured and what they need in order to improve the education system and their student's learning. So ASK THEM. Form each school individually and democratically, empower teachers and involved parents to generate their own ideas. Reach out to ...more »

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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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Reform

As a high school senior I have numerous suggestions to better our educational system. 1. Getting prepared for college doesn't start in high school, it starts in middle school. I do think we should start preparing students as early as pre-K, but emphasis should begin in middle school. Most students and parents don't realize the fact that what courses the student takes in middle school will determine what high school courses ...more »

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