I “met” Roy A. Ackerman on Facebook through some of my postings and his blog The Adjuvancy, LLC. An intelligent, thoughtful, and passionate writer about “Wanting to make the world better, one enterprise at a time“; we don’t always see 100% eye to eye (as you’ll see below), and that is what makes the world go around. I respect the fierceness of his dedication to education, and so he is the first of many who answered my questionnaire/online interview.
You can follow Roy on Twitter: @RAAckerman and on Facebook at Roy A. Ackerman.
1. Why do you care about the educational system of today?
a. To be perfectly honest, it is not clear to me that the educational SYSTEM is any better or worse today than it was previously. Instead, I see a few major problems
b. Too many folks think that the education budget needs to be static. That would be correct in a perfect world where no expenses changed. And, could be ok if the numbers of students are the same or lower. We need to buy new books (it would be nice if these were staggered, but that would require a different mindset than exists now.) We need to upgrade our classes, because the equipment is decaying from use. We need to adapt our teaching for the 21st century- which means computer skills, and different sci/tech.
c. In general, we need to pay our teachers more. And, we need our teachers to have lesson plans that are posted, so that children’s parents can be apprised and deal with absences.
d. We need to recognize that a one-size-fits-all fits none. Oh, we can go back to the old one room school room- but that was for a time when parents insured their children knew they were responsible to share their knowledge and time with younger children. Given that no longer obtains, stop telling us about the good old days (which usually were not good).
2. What is your background (short bio)?
a. I am an ex(?) professional student. I personally consider myself a chemical engineer with a broad background (accounting, management, finance, medicine, and biotechnology).
b. I have taught at the college and grad school level. I have also taught younger children special subjects and teenagers different ones.
3. What do you feel is an overriding problem(s) educators are facing today?
a. Being held accountable for children of parents who don’t give a damn.
b. Being compared falsely to children in charter schools where the students get chosen, as opposed to open to all comers. Moreover, the results from the charter schools, once truly analyzed, are not showing differences- but selective reporting may indicate otherwise.
4. How do you feel this problem (these problems) can be solved?
a. Hold parents accountable for their children.
b. If the parents receive state/federal funds, then they must be insure that the children have set times for homework without distraction. Homework MUST be done.
c. Regardless of assistance, if children are routinely late or absent, FINE the parents to assure the diligent action on their part to maintain their children’s presence in school.
d. Hold children accountable.
e. NO sports without timely attendance, homework completion, and grades of C or better.
f. Remove politics from the schools. (Easier said than done.)
g. Make drug trade unpalatable. Put drug dealers who “pimp” kids in jail for twice the normal term- or under house arrest where they must work for things of benefit for the state or city. NO tolerance for children with drugs. If it means removing them from their parents (second offense), so be it.
5. What changes/paradigm shifts do you feel are necessary?
a. Given 4b(iii), the only way kids can get ahead is with education. That HAS to be the message- the only message.
b. Not being politically correct. If you’re poor and minority- you will stay so without education. Want to move on up? Learn.
c. It’s a re-education process.
6. What is your view on Process vs. Product?
a. WRONG question. We need to teach the children to do research on their own and find facts. They any process and product is ephemeral. They must know WHAT is a valid source on the “net”, how to use the library, what is polemic, what is science, how to discern fact from fiction, and the like. The goal is an educated populace.
7. Do you believe Arts-In-Education are important? Yes or No, can you please explain why you feel that way?
a. I believe arts are important. I have never truly considered the concept of arts in education, per se.
8. If you believe we should replace the Standardized Testing process, what form of assessment do you feel the students would benefit more from and the policy makers would be “happiest”with? If you agree with Standardized Testing, could you please explain why?
a. I have NO problems with standardized testing. I have problems with the testing that is being done. I was tested every year using the S-B IQ test. So what?
9. What role do you feel parents/guardians should have with the schools?
a. See above
10. You can create the ideal school: what THREE things must be in place that are non-negotiable?
a. No rules as to who fits or does not fit in a class room.
b. Screw political correctness- those that can, those that hope, and those that don’t care are in three different classes.
c. No rules as to what can or cannot be taught in class
11. If you have one, what is your favorite quote dealing with education?
a. Those that can- do
b. Those that can’t- teach
c. Those that can’t teach, teach teachers (Sorry Stuart)
12. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
a. This questionnaire was too long.