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Okay, you'll say I'm cynical. No question. I've been writing about education for 25 years and there is one thing I can promise, there are many reasons for cynicism.
But follow this blueprint and you'll find that fixing schools is a much simpler proposition than people think.
The tricky part is confronting the possibility that most of our problems are man-made. Made, that is, by John Dewey and his progressive thinkers. As part of their social engineering, they put inferior ideas into the schools. They wanted to keep children relatively equal. This is always a socialist dream. In practice it means you don't want some children sprinting way ahead. So you deliberately make that less likely. in practice it means that few students-- at any level-- will reach their potential.
The paradigm, of course, is a reading theory which requires that children memorize English words as if they are hieroglyphics. Completely insane but it's the official way for 75 years!
I would argue that there are a dozen dysfunctional theories in the schools that are causing most of our problems. QED: get rid of them.
Then you bring in the good stuff, as described in this article: Seven easy ways to fix bad schools and save lots of money.
The reading mess is very important because it's the heart of darkness and you can explore that heart if you can stand it. To cut to the chase, the people who introduced Look say in 1932 were NOT trying to improve reading in America. http://www.examiner.com/article/public-schools-have-been-sabotaged-...