Molly: What is your optimal design for a school system
First, I would abolish A.P. classes. Second, I would like to receive graduating credit for projects like writing my book. Third, I would love to have had my voice valued in the administration. And fourth, I wish that there was more collaboration between teachers across departments.
Smaller class sizes play a very important role in these changes. There is an exorbitant amount of research that links smaller classes to higher student achievement, if you want to use test scores as a yardstick. It's really a no-brainer.
The "reformers" changes, as demonstrated by experiments and trial studies, simply do not work. The teaching profession still needs to be transformed. This means teachers need to paid MUCH more, given adequate professional development, evaluated holistically, and taught learner-centered techniques in graduate education schools. Absolutely.
I love technology. I'm fueled by social media especially. At times, it can be distracting, but that's something that children of this generation must learn to overcome. Technology can be an extraordinary tool to engage with all types of people. But what inBloom and these data hungry companies are engaging in is simply wrong. Stealing students' data for profit and manipulation while violating their privacy cannot be tolerated. Students will not stand silent.
My suggestions for people applying or thinking about applying to college would be to fundamentally evaluate what you, as an individual, will gain from the experience. Obviously, some people are required to go to college -- doctors, some lawyers and engineers, public school teachers. But for a majority, it's important to consider the debt you will be burdened with, the prestige and brand of the institution, and whether alternatives like apprenticeship programs, self-directing your learning, volunteering, or traveling work better for you. At the very least, I advocate for students to take a gap year at some point. I plan on going to college eventually, because I want to go into politics.
I would suggest that they start a blog and begin documenting their opinions on schooling and other issues. Having a Twitter account is also very important.