Institute for Planetary Renewal



A New Educational Paradigm


... a Spiritual and Rational Approach to Education

When We Look Around The World At Education, The U.S.A Does Not Rate Well
Lets Look at Why Public Education Isn't Working.

Public Education isn't working because it's based on some wrong assumptions about learning, namely...

Anyone who has taught in the public schools quickly realizes how confining the learning environment is, and how little is accomplished in an ordinary day. Simply watch the tranformation of children from excited 1st and 2nd graders to the "I gotta get outa here" attitudes shortly before graduation. There is a demoralization the that both children and teachers take on. Teachers sometimes feel they are at fault when they can't inspire children to be better than they are, children blame themselves, parents blame both. Actually it is the design which is at fault. It cannot be repaired with superficial quick fixes. Perhaps it cannot be repaired at all. This must be addressed soon. We are losing whole generations of minds and hearts. We recommend students and teachers to simply start something new and better where they are, either within the schools, if you can do it, or through home schooling or cooperative schooling. As a beginning we offer the following solution.

The Solution (which could take many forms)

Oddly enough, the computer can provide a more coherent, personalized, presentation of information than most teachers. Not because teachers are bad teachers, but because they simply don't have the time to give all children as much individual attention and opportunities for backtracking and repetition as an infinitely patient computer can do. Therefore, let technology do the presentation. Teachers and parents can do the one-on-one mentoring, encouraging, tutoring, inspiring, etc. that they really want to do and are good at. Computer-based education saves time (well over 50%) and tedium for all involved. The current body of knowledge in K-12 could be finished in 6 years. We recommend computer-based education, developed and distributed locally, nationally, and internationally coupled with personal one-on-one tutoring for mentoring, inspiration, and project-based learning.

Start with a good basic curriculum, based on those from the best private schools.

Add to the curriculum lots of subjects which are not currently included in schools such as:

Add to this other practical courses which make an environment beautiful, functional, and rewarding to live in.


Method

We propose the following method to create a new educational system. It will take time. We believe the development of a curriculum for all of K-12 could be done in less than a year by 100 capable writers. Remember you have all existing textbooks and encylopedias as your starting point to begin with. Of course, you cannot plagerize, but easily rewrite and add graphics from hundreds of free sources including many on the internet. It would be great if the government with it's vast resources would create an internet-based K-12 educational curriculum in HTML format for every student to use. For a neighborhood or town effort, the development might look like this:

You and your friends can create lessons using a word processor and html. Link to other sites and grow the presentation as time and energy permit. Each writer is responsible for a small chunk which they maintain (or find someone to maintain in their absence). Maintain a database of these people and lessons, an easy job for a personal computer. Begin with the best textbooks and encyclopedias and rework the presentation in your own words to customize it for your children.

Parents must take an active role in the education of their children. I believe there is no other way. The parents brought them into the world and they are responsible for their nurturing. This is a job which should NOT be simply turned over to the "state." State run schools, where the state decides the curriculum, the state manages the education, the state defines the rules, etc. is no better than communism. In fact, that is the definition of communism: the state decides. In countries with the highest quality education, such as Japan, it is not the schools which are doing it, but the widespread after school tutoring that makes the difference. We can do better.


Note:

We could reduce the cost of education to less than half while paying teachers double the salaries they get now. We are not getting a good value in education today with the current system. In many states, 75% or more of all revenue goes to education. This is unreasonable. There is now a huge vested interest in the large expensive beauracracies that now exist. These systems have a proven track record which is dismal.

A Note for Teachers:

You already know the system isn't working well and may not ever be fixed. The values and assumptions which built it are too entrenched. Consider tutoring for a living or forming small private schools with the best teachers from your school. Most states tax $3500 to $6000 per year per student for education. Imagine what you could do with that kind of money! Work to redirect that money into a voucher system which gives parents a choice on where and how to spend it. They would gladly spend it for tutoring and assisted-learning projects for their children.
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