Saturday, December 13, 2008

Priorities for the new Secretary of Education

At Leader Talk Kevin Reilly had a post about what he thinks the new Secretary of Education needs to do.

His ideas are very interesting to me. Most of them do not ostensibly sound like education goals. They are more related to what you might think belong in departments other than the Department of Education.

For example...

"1. Provide health care for all of my students so we can finally address the scourge of childhood obesity, diabetes, and poor nutrition;

2. Ensure that every child has access to comprehensive eye exams and appropriate interventions when they are struggling just to see let alone to read;

3. Ensure that every child has regular dental checkups and access to highly qualified dentists so that my students’ baby teeth aren’t rotting in their heads;

4. Provide the funding support and infrastructure so that all of my students can attend preschool like the affluent kids do;

5. Create a way for every child in America to have a laptop and access to the Internet so that poor children aren’t pushed further behind by the technology divide that favors their more affluent counterparts;

6. Divert the 10 billion dollars we are currently spending every month in Iraq and re-invest in the modernization and construction of state-of-the-art school buildings in every community in America;

7. Guarantee a college education of the highest quality for all children so they are motivated to apply themselves academically;

8. Eliminate unemployment so that the parents of my students can properly provide the basic necessities for their children-food, clothing shelter;

9. Significantly raise the minimum wage so that our parents are not forever struggling against the tide…fighting the unwinnable battle to stay ahead of a runaway economy and its stunning indifference to the working poor; and finally…

10. Eliminate politically motivated accountability systems like NCLB that primarily test our students’ ability to take tests while ignoring all of their other assets: like their creativity and their critical thinking and problem solving and communication skills; or their proficiency with technology or their ability to speak in multiple languages or lead others or serve their community…"

Items 5, 6, 7, and 10 do apply more directly to what is commonly considered the Department of EDUCATION.

For more information, you should check out the blog for his charter school as well. It will explain why he has these items listed on his top 10 things for the new Secretary of Education to accomplish.

It is important that everyone think about all aspects of education. There is more to education and teaching than just the 3R's, NCLB or mandated state testing results.

What do you think is the answer to these problems?

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