Tchaikovsky Sounds Funny: No Leafs Behind Children: They Can't See Them

Is this where I put in key words such as sex, lesbians, vampires, Christopher Lloyd and others things to which this blog do not pertain, but by putting them here, I may get hits from all the Christoper Lloyd lesbian vampire fans (and you know who you are)? This is the primarily humorous and occasionally rambling writings of Leon Tchaikovsky, humor writer. Enjoy.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

No Leafs Behind Children: They Can't See Them

I am one of those people who is concerned about education who sits in the audience listening to the experts explain educational policies. I discovered when I ask experts on educational policy about why schools don’t do something that makes such common sense to me, nearly all of them suddenly look at me in amazement as if I have said something that makes so much sense they wish someone had thought of it earlier. Indeed, I do not claim this is an original idea, as one expert told me there are schools that do this and they have found it works quite well. Thus, I started asking the experts: if this idea makes so much sense, won’t do more schools realize it and adopt it. They answer the idea needs to be better publicized. Thus, I write this in hope that a basic idea gains acceptance.

The idea is simple: Instead of keeping students in the same grade and promoting them or failing them according to their overall performance, let them proceed in each course level at their appropriate level of educational attainment. This would be done by offering all basic courses at the same time. A student should not be passed to the next level until the student successfully complete the level the student currently attends. If a student excels, that student may be advanced at an accelerated rate to a higher level.

Under this plan, all students would be kept in home room according to age. Students would go to the grade level in each course that is appropriate to them. Some students learn subjects at different rates, and may even learn one subject more rapidly while being delayed in learning another subject. Thus, for instance, a 5th grade student would be in 5th grade homeroom but may be in 5th grade English, 4th grade Math, and 6th grade Science.

This recognizes that children learn different subjects at different rates. This has the benefits of lowering stigmatizing students for not being in their proper grade level, at least in home room. It avoids the problems of failing or promoting a student in all subjects, which is what many schools do: i.e. a student who fails 5th grade repeats all courses in 5th grade the following year, What it avoids is failing a student who may become bored repeating the subjects where the student excelled. It also avoids promoting a student to another grade who has fallen behind in a subject and who will have even greater difficulty keeping pace with a higher level of the same subject. It also allows a student who does well in a subject to move at a more appropriate faster pace.

It is my understanding from some education experts that the schools that do this have found this solves several learning problems that schools that do not do this face. Thus, from my layperson perspective, I would urge more School Directors and school officials to seriously examine how their schools schedule basic courses, promote students, and tweak their current policies towards these more common sense ideas.


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