Dear Mr Obama:
I realize there is no point in writing to you about education. Your mind is made up. Evaluate teachers; everyone should go to college; school is a big competition and there have to be winners; the 1892 curriculum cannot be changed in any way because Bill Gates and all the book publishers want it that way.
But I will ask anyway. Please do the following.
- fire Arne Duncan
- abandon Common Core standards
- let teachers teach and by that I do not mean test prep and I do not mean lecturing
- let students learn what it interests them to learn
- build thousands of on line curricula, so that anyone can learn whatever they want to learn
- make sure that these on line students are learning to do something and not to memorize and pass tests
- allow students the option to get out of all the mandated standards
- stop pushing college, which as any professor knows is simply a four year party for most students
- get rid of courses (including MOOCs); replace them by experiences in which real skills are learned
- re-train teachers to be mentors, to help students achieve their own goals, not ones that the school has established for them
Yes, I know its hopeless. But I thought I’d ask.
Just as a suggestion, take a look at the new computer science short courses we are now offering. Open to anyone, but not free (we spent a lot of money building them, something the government should be doing.