Educational Reform: Where to Begin?

Curriculum Left Behind

Your Ideal School: Conceptualize It!

Arts and the Core Curriculum

I have been puzzling over the question of Educational Reform and Arts-in-Education (AIE) since I got my teaching certification in 2005. Yes, not a long time, but once I was in the system it has become a major concern of mine. In the links  above, I’ve stated some of my opinions, provided links for further information,  and asked questions of the readers of this blog. If you haven’t had a chance, please add to the discussions on those pages. The more we bring to light what concerns us in regards to education, the better the chance to start making things happen.

During an online conversation with Dr. Molly Faulkner, professor at Palomar College in California, we were brainstorming a questionnaire that I am formulating.  Ms. Faulkner said, once we boiled down the ideas to the Big Topic:

“Educational reform has to start at home. Once we realize the importance of education then we are willing to fund it.  There needs to be a massive ad campaign about parents/guardians being part of the solution.”

I had brought up, in the initial notes I presented to her, and in a previous blog, that holding parents  accountable in all areas in their child’s schooling is one important step. Not just a voice to add at PTA meetings, but involved in the day to day process with their child, supporting challenges along the way at home and in school.

Taking this one step further, I’d like to ask your views on the following questions:

  1. Where will educational reform happen?
  2. What is the role of parents in educational reform?
  3. What is the role of the school (principal; teachers)
  4. What is the state goverments role?
  5. What is the national government?

Here are some sites on Educational Reform to read:

The Center for Education Reform

The Progress of Education Reform

Technology and Education Reform

The Debate Over Education Reform and Funding

Please join in. I am looking forward to reading your responses.

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dangerous Linda
    May 22, 2011 @ 20:52:42

    I believe parents are ultimately responsible for the education of their children. That’s why I home-schooled my oldest son and I found a new school for my youngest son virtually every year until Jr. High — he was an unusual child who was either the “teacher’s pet” or the “teacher’s pain in the ass” depending on the disposition of the teacher.

    I look back on my children’s school years as one of the greatest frustrations of my life and I’m so glad it’s OVER!!

    Having said that, both my offspring have bloomed in AMAZING ways resulting from their unique educational experiences. They are successful and fulfilled adults.

    I don’t believe any of this can be legislated. I was an extremely involved parent who was also considered a “crack-pot” by many in the public school system. I would not have accepted the system’s dictates on how to raise my kids.

    I don’t know the answers but I do my part by working to educate those within my (ever-growing) sphere of influence by example, mentoring and storytelling. Education of parents and teachers, as well as children, is the key to progress in my mind. It’s a slow process.


    • bornstoryteller
      May 22, 2011 @ 21:06:39

      Thanks Linda. yes, it’s not an easy answer. I do believe, though, that only real dialogue, real communications,and letting go of ALL agendas except one will make good education happen. The one agenda; what’s best for the child.


  2. Debra Elramey
    May 22, 2011 @ 21:27:44

    My response to the following questions:

    Where will educational reform happen? In the home.

    What is the role of parents in educational reform? Be all there. And cease to be blind followers of the blind.

    What is the role of the school (principal; techers)? Answers to this question can be found here:

    What is the state governments role? To offer freedom of choice.

    What is the national government’s role? Stay out of education. Period. I’m sick of bailing water out of the Titantic. The gov’t system of education is broken and sinking fast.

    My philosophy of education is reflected best in the writings of John Taylor Gatto…
    John Taylor Gatto, named New York City’s teacher of the year in 1990 and State teacher of the year in 1991 took his students to a new level with his “practice-over-theory” methods which involved real life learning.
    He believes that:
    – Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist;
    – it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges;
    – it should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life;
    – it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing,
    – wherever you are, whomever you are with;
    – it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die.”


    William Purcell, founder of the grassroots movement: TAKE A TIME OUT FROM EXCESSIVE & HIGH STAKES TESTING.

    Demonstration of Mastery video:


  3. Debra Elramey
    May 22, 2011 @ 21:48:52

    And Stuart, thank YOU for all you are doing to help students enjoy learning! If there were more of you out there schools might not be so dreadful.


  4. Roy Durham
    May 22, 2011 @ 22:58:05

    Stuart; i have a lot to say on this but i need time to put into words. for now here is a starting point . if you like please use it at your next meeting with the group you are working with.

    Ok folks! We got a bucket of fresh interroggtaberry’s just picked. The Indians call them tokno-italberrys! What am I bid for? Do we have a bid? These berries have been around a long time. Adam ate one and I guess Noah had some on the ark. There was this feller that had one hit him on head some time back. His name was Sir Isaac Newton. Will there have been a lot of people eat them. I must warren you. Kids especially 3 to 5 year old can have a problem with them. So ya mite want to keep them in a safe place. There is an art to eating them. It’s kind of like eating watermelon ya got to spit out the seeds, and don’t sallow. There is something that is incredible about them they come in six flavors all form the same tree. Ya got too watch for them youngen! They get the seeds stuck in their teeth. It can be a little ruff to get them out they just keep spiting. Hey!! Well alright now I have a five dollar bid; do I hear ten? There is a down side if you eat too many they can make you pull your hair out. I have seen some of them fellers go bald. But you know the minute you put one I your mouth your ears perk up and your eyes open wide. Ya kind get all excited and it sure feels good when you spit it out. I have twenty do I hear thirty?? Now the stem of them berries look like this [?]
    as you can see they look like a hook. Well I have taken them and let them dry in the sun for a day or two. Then I take some line and tie them on and then tie the line on a willower. You guess it, go fishing. Well that brings up another problem with them berries, that stem, ya got to pull them off before you put them in your mouth else you might get hooked. That can hurt a little bit. I hear forty now fifty now fifty five do I hear sixty? Sixty going once, going twice, Sold! To the lady with the mouse scratches
    one bucket of interrogatory all six flavors “who? Why? Where? When? What? And how?” Now ma that bucket is the bucket the cow step on; the bottom is a little loose and it won’t hold water. So if you like I will put it all in a feed bag. Paper or plastic?

    Foot note: When you fine a child that has started to use these, tell the truth as much there young minds can take. For the tech mined, and teachers these six words are the input statement to the programming of the human mind. You are what you eat. you reap what you sow.

    i am dyslectic, a slow learner they say, but i have a communication disorder , not a slow leaner just not able to untangle the log jam in my head at times. thank you and god bless


  5. Sweepy Jean
    May 23, 2011 @ 02:45:54

    Interesting questions, Stu. My daughter will be stepping into the fray soon as a new teacher. She is very enthusiastic and has a lot of fresh ideas, but she already realizes from her experience as a student teacher that new ideas are not readily accepted. She has seen young teachers no more than five years out of school already on the road to burnout, just going along with the status quo.


    • bornstoryteller
      May 23, 2011 @ 03:21:59

      Adrienne: yes, that happens, and it happens a lot. I almost burned out during my first half year. Depending on the school, you are often just thrown in with very little guidance. They may have all the teacher manuals in place, but that does not help in the least.

      One of the worst things that goes on is this comment: “It’s always been done this way.” Nothing can kill your spirit to hear those words. It means, as you wrote, they will not listen.

      I do wish her luck in finding the schools that do listen.


    May 23, 2011 @ 06:18:35

    To me education starts at home, where I lead off the teacher begins, and where she leads off I begin. My daughter, very smart but struggles learning is teaching me a new appreciation for this.


    • bornstoryteller
      May 23, 2011 @ 12:37:25

      This is the essence of what’s been lost, I think. My father took me to museums, the zoo, movies (silents), botanical gardens as well as amusement parks and the like as I was growing up. I Listened to all types of music with them, my own in my own room. Exposure to things, not just the ABC’s, is education. Thanks for posting Lucretia.


  7. Sharon Holzscherer
    May 23, 2011 @ 16:07:49

    As long as we have a public education system, it will be ultimately determined by the public. If we want reform, then the public must want reform. We are stuck in the “It’s always been this way” mode. We need to show that there are other ways of educating our young. There are numerous scholarly works about the harms of the present system. Parents need to take the initiative and insist that they be heard. Only if parents convince the rest of the public that something needs to change will true reform ever happen. Teachers and administrators usually do an amazing job within the constraints of the government’s policies. In order to allow teachers and administrators to do the job that they were trained for – to teach the children – we must change the policies. Only the public, led by parents, can do that.


  8. bornstoryteller
    May 23, 2011 @ 17:06:36

    This is with permission of Dr. Faulkner, a conversation we were having (she had to split for a two hour meeting):
    ME: btw..getting some interesting responses on the blog..s

    [Molly Faulkner]
    sure I was thinking that my answer didn’t go far enough, we have to convice people that education is important so when the government puts educational initiatives on the ballot that people will vote for them

    [Molly Faulkner]
    also we need our NEA and Lobbyists in Washington influencing what types of initiatives they send down to the voter
    it’s a two fold process, grass roots and high stakes political game
    as teachers we can always do more with less — we just can’t do more with less with our hands tied behind our back, our feet shackled and muzzled
    go ahead and take away funding, just don’t take away freedom
    we are so scared as administrators to lose funding — when did education become about money? — living wage for the workers — and the respect to let us do what we were trained to do
    well then I go on the pro union rant
    so we’ll just stop there


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