‘Primary’ education should refer to a child’s formal general educational career from birth all the way up through age 12. The core curriculum for this phase of education should basically be the same for everyone. Included in this phase would be all the mandatory core courses in all subjects necessary for a firm foundation for literacy and civility as well as continued education in coursework that becomes progressively more tailored to each student’s interests and abilities.
Kindergarten Should Be Mandatory
Kindergarten should be a mandatory grade level for all children because of the continued recognition of the extremely high capacity for efficient learning at these younger ages. Learning while younger is always easier than learning when older. The natural progression to more advanced curricula and standards at these younger ages testifies to the fact that children (more of whom have attended preschool) are definitely able to perform and thrive at these higher academic levels. Wanting the best for our children means that we must harness this great potential for learning at these younger ages.
Preschool Should Probably Also Be Mandatory, At Least Highly Encouraged
The same that was said for Kindergarten above could be said about preschool. In preschool, the major emphasis would be on social behavior skills (sharing, asking, etc.) and hygienic skills (rear wiping, hand washing, shoe tying, etc.) Preschool would naturally be more of a playtime/daycare environment rather than an academic one, but preschoolers could definitely learn some numbers letters and sounds as well.
‘Secondary’ education should refer to formal instruction provided from around age 13 through age 19. It should still include mandatory courses which focus on perfecting literacy and civility, but this curriculum would consist progressively less of these mandated subjects, and include progressively more courses and topics that students would choose for themselves. Of course, students would choose from approved lists of topics so that a balanced education could be maintained. The idea is to allow students, as teenagers, to become knowledgeable about every type of occupation in which they may have an interest, including having some hands-on experience, so that by the time they graduate from secondary school (namely, by age 20 according to these proposals), students should have a pretty good idea of what they would like to do professionally for a career.
Students in secondary schooling should be progressively exposed to actual work (like an apprentice) in a field in which they they show an interest. This would allow them to determine whether they actually like that field, gain work experience and a work ethic, and potentially earn some money as well.
First 2 Years of College Required Under Secondary Education
A secondary education should satisfy the general education requirements for all further optional educational specialization. This means that the first and second years of college should be reclassified as being under the secondary education umbrella, thus their completion would be required to graduate from secondary school.
Secondary schooling should be designed to provide the degree of general and specialized educational training necessary to gain access to an average job that, upon the gaining of more job experience, would enable a worker to earn enough of an income to support a family with a spouse and two children. The ‘rule of thumb’ should be that job experience rather than further academic training is needed after a successful completion of secondary school. Of course, many factors are involved in making only a secondary education sufficient for the general job market, but the point is that a secondary education should be sufficiently tailored to each student’s interest, that it should not present a significant problem to land a job in the student’s chosen area of interest.
Terminology for Educational Degrees
A ‘secondary’ educational degree should be equivalent and interchangeable with the terms ‘General Education Degree’ (GE) and ‘High School Diploma’ or ‘High School Degree’. This level of educational achievement should be expected of every member of the population. General Education Degrees and Associate Degrees (current 2-year college equivalent) would be classified as equivalent educational levels of achievement but Associate Degrees would indicate a measure of specialization within a specific field of study.
Mandatory Secondary Education
Secondary education should be mandatory for every human being on the planet. It is critical for the maintenance of continued civility among all human populations.
If further training is required or desired, then more specialized ‘tertiary’ schooling would be available. Tertiary education should refer to all optional education beyond or outside of the primary or secondary education levels, such as trade schools, colleges, and universities. None of these institutions should provide remedial primary or secondary level education courses at public expense. Instead, students needing such courses should be required to enroll at primary or secondary educational institutions for their fulfillment.
Grade Level Nomenclature Change
It is hard to justify calling 1st grade by that title because kindergarten and even preschool are becoming much more popular and increasing more mandatory, as they should be. It is undeniably helpful to have a grade nomenclature system using numbers as opposed to some other system that uses descriptive words like preschool (for preschool), kindergarten (for kindergarten), learning to read and write (for 1st grade), etc. But because of the advances in knowledge, a better understanding of child development, and a greater awareness of the benefits of early education/intervention to prevent undesirable characteristics in children later in life, these super-absorbent, pre-1st grade years of a child’s life could be better utilized with certain curricular activities. But should pre-school be called 1st grade? If so, we may then run into the same problem in future decades when perhaps some other curricula are proposed for yet younger children.
It may be most logical and most useful to have a ‘grade’ nomenclature system using numbers which are the same as a child’s age itself. For example, a 10thth grader would be the same as a 10-year old. An immediate objection may be that such a system would stigmatize students who fall behind. There are several ways to mitigate such stigmatization by fundamental changes in the educational system as described elsewhere in these proposals. But suffice it to say, that the current grade nomenclature is directly tied to age today, albeit in a more mathematically complex, and thus obscure, way. Currently, for example, by merely subtracting 5 from the age (upon entrance of a grade) of whatever child is under discussion, his/her grade schedule can be determined. In the end, grade progress discrepancies would be more apparent if age and grade level nomenclature were to be perfectly correlated. However, by adopting this new naming system, we could eliminate this mental overhead, simplify the nomenclature, immunize it against similar problems occurring in the future and extend such a system all the way up through universities as well. Terms like freshman, sophomore, etc., could be eliminated as well.
Educational courses geared for one year old children could be labeled as 1st grade level courses (or even 1st year level courses), while courses designed for two year-olds would be called 2nd grade level work, and so on. Though there may not be any formal educational coarse work for such young people, the nomenclature for these grades should be left open for future possibilities. Nevertheless, even at present, such grades would consist more of babysitting, behavioral guidance, and story-telling than specific academic goals. Ten year-olds who have stayed on schedule would be doing 10th grade level work. Perhaps some references to grade levels could be abandoned in exchange for merely references to a student’s age, although some students will always be behind or ahead of schedule.)