Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Student Gets It Better Than "Reformers"

I saw an interesting education segment on Fox and Friends this morning. They tend to do education stories at 45 minutes after the hour on many days, and I always cringe because it's almost always negative when discussing public education. The segments are always packed with people with opinions on education who never taught with the usual cries against "tenure" and pensions. 

Well, after citing the usual statistics about our education system lagging behind other countries such as Latvia, there was a 17 year-old student on today's program who offered a different opinion on how to improve things. I see him as being more informed and knowledgeable about this issue than most adults who provide the typical anti-public education commentary on the show. His name is Nikhil Goyal, and he wrote a book called One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student's Assessment of School that will be released in September. I am afraid to give a full endorsement of him and his beliefs, because I obviously have not read the book and can only base my opinion on what I saw in this short interview. However, his solutions are nearly identical to what teachers have been requesting all along. In fact, when teachers say these things, they are usually accused of supporting the status quo, called "union thugs," and are assumed to be poor in ability and just want job protection. 

Here are some of his suggestions:
  • Schools have become too "drill and kill" with standardized tests.
  • Endless testing must stop.
  • Students should learn through the use of projects and field experiences.
  • President Obama should call for the immediate repeal of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top.
  • There should be some sort of council of parents, teachers, students, and politicians to drive education policy. He stated that teachers and students have been left out of the discussion
Notice that none of these suggestions would cost any extra money. It was refreshing to hear an education story on Fox News without the usual cry against teachers unions who don't select textbooks, create curriculum, train teachers, hire teachers, or guide their instruction. Yet they are constantly seen as the source of all of the problems.  

I will scour YouTube over the next few days to see if a video of the interview appears so you can get the entire context of the video. 


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