Monday, October 5, 2009

Falconist Educational Policy

For the past two decades, we tried to improve America's educational system by putting more money into it. DC Public Schools went as far as spending $12,000 a year per student and still attained mediocre results. Our schools need reform now. For this blog, we will talk about Preschool through 12 education. Higher education will have to be discussed in a later blog entry.These are the refoms we propose.

  1. Institute a school-voucher system where parents will recieve educational certificates to enroll their children at any public, private, nonprofit, or faith-based school.

  2. Institute a "flying leap" program to supersede "Head-Start"

  3. Shut down undergraduate schools of education and hire teachers who have a Master's in Education and a Bachelor's degree in the liberal arts, sciences, engineering, etc.

  4. Institute teacher candidate schools in every municipality to train people with degrees in other fields to become teachers and institute a "field-training" program in every school system for public schools.

  5. Allow parents to educate their children at home and provide them with the means to do so.

  6. Replace the SAT and ACT with a test similar to the IB system in France

  7. Rebuild our educational facilities and build more clasrooms

  8. Make the whole world a student's classroom

  9. Send "at-risk" youth to private military schools and develop of system of military prep schools modeled on the West Point Prepatory Program.

  10. Raise teachers salaries and develop a system of reward and recognition
  11. Expand the Junior ROTC program to every high school and establish a Cadet Corps program for home-schooled students.
  12. Restore discipline to the classroom with uniforms, dress codes, and authorizing teachers and educational administrators to discipine misbehaving students.

Parents should have the same choice in where to send their kids to school as do the Clintons, the Obamas, the Gores, the Hiltons, and the Olsens. Parents of all incomes should be able to send their children to any school they see fit to educate their children as well as educate them at home if they choose. Parents should not be forced to send their children to failing schools. This would have the following effects (1) Parents will provide a better education for their kids; (2) Schools will have to compete for students which will force schools to be more effective in their mission and (3) with the private, nonprofit, and faith-based schools enrolling more students and more children educated at home, we can reduce overcrowding in public schools and reduce class sizes.

In some cases, we need to take at-risk youth off our streets and order them into private military schools or programs like "Freestate Academy" run by the Maryland Army National Guard. Some youth today are totally lacking in discipline and structure and are lost in broken homes, broken schools, and failed neighborhoods. It would be an injustice to leave them in their straits. In addition, we should establish and run more schools similar to the prep school programs offered by the service academies.

We do need to reduce the bureaucratic oversight of our schools and make Principals, Headmasters and school Presidents the true CEOs and "Commanding Officers" of their schools. At the same time, some schools that are total failures need to be taken over by the state or nationalized. The Defense Department maintains a school system for military families. Why can't the U.S. Department of Education maintain a system of schools modeled on DoD's system and be just as effective?

In addition to real school choice, we need to establish a national core cirriculum. However, we need to give parents and schools the freedom to accomplish that cirriculum. The Department of Education will monitor schools in how they are achieving those goals as well as administer a new national exam that would replace the SAT and ACT. But schools and parents will be free to choose how to implement that cirriculum. The core ciriculum will include mathematics, applied sciences, chemistry, physics, fine arts and music, practical arts, physical education, motor vehicle operation, religion/ethics, and military science (except for conscientous objectors).

We believe we need to replace the SAT and the ACT with a exam modeled on the IB system in France. Not only would this be a better measure of seeing who is prepared for college and who isn't, the exam system will award college credit to those who demonstrate proficency in college level material if they have learned it. In addition to this new exam system, all students will take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test.

One tragedy of our education system is undergraduate schools of education. We need teachers in our schools that know what they are teaching. We propose shutting down undergraduate programs in education and require all teachers to have a B.A/B.S. degree in one of the liberal arts (English, History, Political Science, etc.), engineering, the natural sciences (Chemistry, Physics, etc.)buisness, and foriegn languages. Teacher candidates will have either (A) a master's in education or (B) attend a Teacher Candidate School in each municipality followed by a period of field training with a senior teacher similar to the field training program for police officers. For college graduates participating in Mandatory National Service, participation in the Teach For America program will also meet this requirement.

While the Great Society programs of the 60s had for the most part negative results, one program that was a sucess was "Head Start". But our children need more than just a head start. Our children need a "flying leap". We will bring in the top experts in preschool education to develop a program to educate the very youngest of our children nationwide.

As part of our program to rebuild America, we will rebuild and redesign existing educational facilities and fund the construction of public, private, nonprofit, and faith-based educational facilities to educate our youth. We will no longer have overcrowded and crumbling schools. We will have smaller schools, smaller class sizes, and schools equipped with the state-of-the-art educational equipment.

One reason schools have trouble educating our youth is the lack of discipline in our schools. We propose a national law authorizing all public schools to use corporal punishment if absolutely necessary. We also propose school uniforms for kids in primary and middle schools and a conservative dress code on the high school level.

Part of our educational program will be to expand the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps to every middle school and high school in America and making it mandatory. For youth that are home schooled, they can particpate in the Civil Air Patrol, Sea Cadets, Young Marines, or in a new Cadet Corps program based around military, national guard, or militia bases or around megachurches. The Junior ROTC program will be overhauled to provide not just instruction in military history, civics, drill and ceremony, customs and courtesies. Junior ROTC will also provide instruction in the use of firearms, small boat operations, backpacking, rockclimbing, and other practical skills to not only prepare them for military service but for life as well.

While reforming our educational system to make it better, we must also recruit and hire the most capable people to teach in our schools and retain them. We must improve the compensation and benefits of teachers. I believe we need to double the salaries of teachers and educational administrators. I also believe we need to have teacher's medals for those who have distinugished themselves in their efforts.

The left is correct we need to invest more into our educational system, raise the salaries of teachers, and hire more teachers. The right is correct we need to give parents the same choice as our elities in where to send their children to school, allow parents to educate their children at home, and restore discipline to the classroom. We champion all these ideas as well as bring a few our own to the table to develop a real comprehensive program to transform America's educational system and lay a foundation for the future of this country. John McCain said in his campaign education is the true civil rights issue for our nation today. Nothing can be further from the truth.

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