Smart Education Reform
In my book Solutions: Ways to fix America I discuss changing America’s education system for the better: a career-based study plan with the essential core curriculum. This document expands on those points in a more refined way.
We all know that the first 5 years of life are critical – so are the first 5 years of education.
In this 5 year span (what we Americans call K-4), students will participate in a generalized course of study to teach them the essentials of learning.
1st year students will focus on 3 main sections of study: reading/writing, mathematics, and social skills.
Students will learn to read by learning the alphabet and most common sounds. The goal is to be able to read children’s books with little to no help at all.
Students will learn to write in basic English (print). They must learn to write their names, yes, no, and numbers 0 – 9. They will also learn symbols like multiplication, commas, and question marks.
Students will learn basic arithmetic (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division). Stronger focus will be given to addition and subtraction but the basics and relationship of multiplication & division will be explained.
Students will also learn basic social etiquette like sharing, taking turns, waiting in line, raising their hands, and not behaving aggressively towards others.
Failing one or more of these key points will result in supplementary summer classes or repeating the school year entirely.
2nd year students will continue expanding on these key points with the added introduction of science.
Students will learn how to read and write in cursive. They should be able to read children’s novels with moderate difficulty.
Students will learn more advanced mathematics like multiplication, solving small equations using basic math + the order of operations.
Students will be introduced to material sciences such as colors, forms of matter, the concept of gravity, and basic shapes.
Students should have basic social skills and be able to behave civilly/understand bad behavior equals punishment.
3rd year students will move on to more advanced topics such as problem solving, probability, and more advanced math. They will also focus strongly on language skills such as grammar/syntax.
Students will learn how to form proper sentences, use correct punctuation, and practice their spelling/sounding out words.
Students will be able to solve math problems of moderate difficulty, including word problems, very basic algebra, and simple versions of long division/advanced multiplication.
Students will be introduced to physical sciences (bones, organs, etc.) and learn about electricity. They will solve basic formula problems and understand much about the material & physical world.
Students must be able to conduct themselves civilly or face harsher penalties, including suspension.
4th year students will move on to much more advanced topics such as physiology, big words, hard math, and a small bit about history.
Students will be challenged on all knowledge learned thus far – reading should reach ‘young adult’ levels with a decent accuracy in spelling.
Students will learn basic formulas like how to convert percentages and how ratios work. Long division + hard multiplication will receive much focus. Exponents will be revealed.
Students will learn more about the human body and material world such as blood, veins, arteries, and functions of organs. Also magnetism, electromagnetism, and friction.
Students must behave civilly or be entered into a program to reduce aggressive behavior. Possible sanctions on parents including assessment by DCS.
A standardized test will be given to determine aptitude at the end of the year.
History lessons will be short and extremely broad: basically summing up civilization in 20-30 minutes.
Year 5 students and teachers have very special jobs: making sure they have learned the basics and starting to think about a career path.
Students in 4th grade will be taught about the 4 basic career paths and some of the jobs that are held. They will learn about majors and minors and be able to ‘test drive’ those studies. The majority of the year will focus on this with some remedial math to make sure good relationships in understanding/underlying principles are established. Some effort will be given to English/language/social studies with a bit more history mixed in.
At the end of the year students will register the paths of their choice. At the beginning of Year 6, they will begin accelerating toward the paths of their choosing.