Table of Contents

Education

1. Accreditation Regulations

There should be a government-determined nationwide standard for accrediting educational institutions of all types. The purpose of this accreditation is to insure that all such accredited schools are adequately teaching their subject matter at levels which are considered functionally efficient by this government agency. Schools falling below functionally efficient levels will have one year to return to a level of minimum functional efficiency. If they fail to come up to passing levels of functional efficiency by this time, they will lose their accreditation until they show that they can educate their students to functionally efficient levels in the subjects taught.

The minimum functional efficiency level required for the federal accreditation of an educational institution should be defined as a point in which at least 75% of its students score an average of at least 75% in all test materials and critical assignments issued. Testing materials, past and present, critical assignments (such as papers, reports, etc.) as well as any relevant grading criteria must be submitted for review to this federal accreditation agency upon its request so that a sense of the comprehensiveness and adequacy of testing and grading could be gained by the federal agency.

Individual states would be able to develop higher, more stringent standards for educational institutions to meet in order to receive state accreditation, however, states may not force any educational institution to meet the state standards in any way including through the use of fines, revocation of licenses, arrests or other such means. States may, of course, withhold state funds to any educational institution within the state that does not meet the state’s accreditation standards or for any other reason the state may choose.

Any educational institution which lacks accreditation from any government entity, even if it has never been accredited or has no intention of seeking accreditation in the future, cannot be required to close down or even modify its activities in any way. All educational institutions can educate as they see fit. Accreditation is only a means by which the public can be reasonably assured that an individual who has been educated in an accredited institution has achieved a functional understanding of the topics covered in those courses that the school says the student has successfully completed. Students attending unaccredited institutions may take standardized tests for their grade level (for a fee) from accredited institutions, and if passed, such students could be designated as accredited.

All educational facilities who seek to gain or maintain accreditation would be required to pay an annual fee to this government agency responsible for accreditations. This fee will be a small percentage (perhaps .1%) of the total revenue generated by the educational facility each year. This fee could be paid retroactively, meaning that payment for accreditation bestowed for one academic year would not be due until the educational facility has determined its total revenues for that same academic year.

The non-accredited status of any school must be disclosed (throughout the period of non-compliance) on all official documents relating to application, school registration, course registration, billing and receipts, even if the school does not intend to become accredited or reaccredited.

Every educational institution (accredited or not) must be listed in a public database along with all accreditations that are currently applicable for each one.  Each institution’s current address and department telephone numbers must also be included in this public database.

All accredited schools should be required to provide, either free or for a fee, written information (could be on a website) answering common questions.  Included in this information should be things like staff numbers and titles, school programs and summaries, a brief school history and statistics about enrollment, scores and other relevant matters.  Enough information should be made available so that a person would be able to make an informed decision.
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2. National Education Standards

Every level of government except for the federal government (state, county, and city) has the right to, and should, implement certain educational standards that primary school students are required to meet. However, the more local levels of government cannot weaken but are permitted to only strengthen standards set by higher levels of government. The federal government should be allowed to develop their own standards, but compliance among the states should be voluntary.

Consequently, the highest level of government (the federal government) must set the lowest standards. Federal standards or benchmarks should be set only to ensure basic, functional literacy in at least 90% of all subjects of study throughout the student’s primary (defined here as being from birth through 12th grade) education career. Students who do not meet this minimum requirement are not eligible for graduation and cannot receive a diploma.
Furthermore, the federal government should only implement one set of primary education standards to be met upon graduation from primary school. The federal government should not put forward any other sets of standards to be met upon completion of the 4th grade, the 8th grade or any other point before graduation from primary school. Of course, the federal government could publish guidelines indicating where students in every grade level should be academically in order to be on track towards meeting the federal standards upon graduation, but no punitive measures can be taken by the federal government if these guidelines are not met or followed.

Individual states, counties, cities and school districts could set and enforce as many standards as they want and they could test students as often as they would like.

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3. ‘Primary’ and ‘Secondary’ School Redefinitions

Primary Education

‘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

‘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.

Tertiary Education

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.)

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4. Academic Year Definition, Length, Vacation Schedule, and Daily Start Time

The definition of a school year should be the same as a calendar year, running from January 1st through December 31st rather than from July 1st through June 30th or any other such dates. A January through December school year is much more logical and would make referring to school years much simpler. People would be able to refer to a 2004 school year rather than a 2004-2005 school year.

Under this proposal, students would suffer no increased academic regression (forgetting) than under a traditional calendar because a long summer recess would merely fall within a grade rather than between grades.

However, to further mitigate the problem of student regression during extended vacations, vacations should be spread out a little more evenly throughout the school year, making summer vacations shorter. The school year calendar should be organized so that schools will be in session on all days except weekends, major holidays, the last two weeks of December, the first two weeks of January, Easter Week, the month of July and one week off in October.

In all, there should be 200 days of classroom instruction per year, an increase of 20 days over the current schedule.

Formal primary level academic education should begin no sooner than at 8:30 am daily and should go through to 4:00 pm.

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5. Class Sizes Increase With Age

The general rule regarding class sizes should be that the number of students per class should increase as grade level increases, most especially in the first few grades. Preschool should have 10 students and kindergarten should have 14 students per class. First grade would have 18 per class, second grade would have 22, third grade would have 26, fourth grade would have 28, fifth grade would have 30 and perhaps all succeeding grades would also have 30 students or at least increase at a rate of 2 students per grade level. This would enable teachers to better ensure that their younger students properly develop a solid foundational base of knowledge for their future education and development. It is imperative that more time and effort be invested during the younger years of people’s lives so that they are properly trained to make their future behavior much easier and pleasant to deal with.

These numbers would only be guidelines and teachers should be able to determine the actual number of students in their classes each year, though their pay would be determined, in part, on the number of students they educate (see ‘Performance Based Teacher Pay’).

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6. School Sizes – Average of 350 Students per School

Primary schools should generally aim to have 350 students enrolled on each campus with a maximum number of between 500-600 students. A small upward trend for the higher grade schools (middle and high schools) would be acceptable. More students than this would tend to result in greater attitude and social behavior problems, feelings of alienation among students, and loss of community feelings as both students and staff would tend to develop impersonal or distant feelings between each other. Also, large student populations tend to foster a sense of chaos and carelessness among students. Larger populations increase the chances that multiple ‘bad’ students will find each other and form persistent groups unified by their common rebellion. These ‘bad’ students, discussing and planning among themselves, often causes problems for the rest of the students and staff, problems that may not have been as pronounced had a smaller school size reduced the chances that this ‘bad’ group of students would have formed.

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7. School Principals Need More Authority

School principals need more authority over all major school operations and budgeting, especially in the hiring and firing of all employees. They need more discretionary control over their budgets. They need more direct control over the hiring and firing (or transferring out) of any category of employee, including teachers. But first, principals should be thoroughly trained and tested before they assume the job on all relevant principal job duties. If, after the appropriate training, the bureaucracy doesn’t feel they could trust their judgement, then the testing requirements should be revised to make it harder.

Naturally, checks and balances should be instituted and adequate appeals processes (such as for firing employees) need to exist, but the principal’s decisions should be implemented by default and then reviewed in real time (or as close to it) by higher authorities and reversed if found to be faulty. If it turns out that the principal was wrong in the decision, then appropriate actions (anything from reminders to dismissal) could be taken.

This principle should apply to all job titles, whatever they may be. Reliance upon on the job training should not be the default and standard way to train a person for a high profile, high importance job, especially a job function on which many other people directly depend.

To increase quality performance of personnel who are important hubs in a very bureaucratic system, like LAUSD, a natural healthy remedy for many ills is to institute a permanent system to constantly seek to simplify all relevant procedures (without actually changing the spirit of the regulations). The frustrations of

A better alternative is for the bureaucracy to streamline its rules and regulation so that shortcuts are not needed. But the nature of some large organizations, especially LAUSD, is to not be able to even communicate internally to tell itself that something’s wrong.

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8. Teacher Decides Teaching Method

Teachers, in consultation with their school’s principal, should be allowed to use any teaching methods or programs they desire except those that have been expressly disapproved by the school district. No single method should be required to teach any particular subject. For example, the use of phonics or the whole language approach to teaching reading and writing or the use of Open Court teaching programs should not be mandated by a school district, or even school administrators. These options should be left up to the teachers themselves. However, the requirements for what students are expected to know for that grade level would obviously be made known to the teacher who would be charged with making sure that they are met.

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9. Enrollment Questionnaire

As part of the enrollment process into primary and secondary schools, parents should be required to fill out a comprehensive questionnaire about their child’s likes, dislike, learning styles, behaviors, temperament, and a multitude of other characteristics. Such information would increase the chances of the child’s placement with a teacher that is better able to meet those needs and emphasize a child’s strengths. As a general rule, parents should not be able to choose a specific teacher, although they should be encouraged to write down their top two or three favorite teachers (and why) to help the school staff in the potential incorporation of their wishes.

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10. Recess Before Lunch

Elementary schools should schedule their lunch play times before their lunch eating times.  Scheduling this way would result in a greater amount of food eaten, less food waste, and possibly significantly less behavioral and health problems.

The most significant drawback is the logistics of having student gather their lunches and cleaning their hands before eating. However, these are clearly surmountable obstacles and may actually lead to the installation of more wash basins near the lunch areas to encourage students to wash their hands more often, especially before eating. Sometimes having to walk to bathrooms which may be some significant distance away and which may have a reputation for being messy and smelly would be enough of a discouragement for hand washing to make kids decide against it.

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11. Single-Sex Education

The decision to offer some or all classes in a single-sex format should be made at the district and even the individual school level and influenced by the popular demand of parents wanting such a format. However, boys and girls should be allowed to socialize and mingle with each other during breaks, lunch, and before/after school.

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12. Chronologically Diverse Schools and Classrooms

Primary schools and individual classrooms should be more chronologically diverse. Each school should try to have students ranging from pre-school and kindergarten through high school, or at least as wide a range as practical. Individual classrooms should include students across a wider age range (two grade levels) so that the older or more advanced students could help the younger or less advanced ones, while the older less advanced students would not feel overwhelmed by their inabilities to do things expected of their age group. This would help reduce bullying and would result in greater communication between these age groups and reduce the stigma attached to various age groups by members of a different age/grade group. Schools could also utilize the more advanced/high grade students to help teach the less advanced/lower grade students. Valuable social interaction skills may be learned and increases in motivation and self-confidence are likely when children of diverse ages are in the same learning environment.

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13. Schools Archiving Students’ Work

All primary schools should be required to archive and maintain records for each student on at least a yearly basis (though quarterly or even monthly should be encouraged for the younger grades) throughout the student’s enrollment in primary and secondary education. These student academic files would contain samples of virtually all elements of a student’s intellectual development, language, social-emotional development, temperament and personality, and, of course, samples of course work in all areas, including early childhood fine-motor skills such as writing, drawing, coloring, cutting, gluing, etc. Photographs of the student should also be included. It would be nice if video clips of the student could somehow also be included. The school district would be responsible for storing all these original records as well as for their electronic duplication for permanent storage. The family of a student could, at any time, ask to take permanent possession of their child’s original files for any and all previous completed school year(s). The original files for the current school year would be kept by the school and not be eligible for release until electronic duplication has occurred. Upon graduation, the school district would ask the family (if the student is under 20) or ask the student (if he/she had already reached 20 years of age) if they would like to take possession of all their academic files held by the school district(s). If they accept, they may request that the files be sent to any school location within the district to be picked up by the family. If they decline, the files will be held by the district for a period of 10 years from the date of graduation at no charge. During this time, the graduate would have the sole authority to request possession of the files. At the end of this 10-year period, unless the graduate had already requested the files, the school district would make every attempt necessary to recontact the graduate or parents to ask if any of them would want to take these files. If they decline, or if the graduates are deemed unreachable, the original files could then be destroyed.

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14. 2-Day Notice Of New Student For Teacher

Teachers should be given a minimum of 2 working days notice before a new student is placed on their classroom roster. Teachers should have the option to waive this requirement on a case by case basis if they so desire.

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15. Classroom Signs, Schedules, & Clocks

Schools, especially the secondary schools and universities, should be encouraged to have highly visible, luminous signs near the entrances of each classroom informing passersby that the class is currently in session and to be quiet.

Another sign should be placed just outside each classroom door detailing the schedule of classes meeting in that room throughout that term.

Clocks should also be placed outside each classroom or at least in hallways and easily visible from each classroom door so that students would always know the time, especially as they are about to enter the classroom. Clocks should also be place inside classrooms so that they are visible as students enter the class, as well as when they are seated.

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16. Educational Career Charts

Every degree-granting educational institution should make available course requirement charts for virtually every potential academic/career goal such that all academic and other requirements for any given goal would fit onto one sheet of paper.

Perhaps, primary school courses need not be listed on such charts, but secondary level courses should be listed. These charts should be organized in such a way that they are easy to read and so that virtually any student could be able to identify their location on such a chart and use it as a checklist to mark their progress towards their goal.

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17. School Yard Shade Requirements

All primary schools should be required to provide enough shade for all students who want to spend their outdoor time in the shade. Schools should provide enough activities, space, and equipment necessary to satisfy the demand for children who want to play in the shade. Requiring students to be in the sun practically throughout their entire recess time should be prohibited.

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18. Printed Student Term Schedules

All upper primary school and secondary educational institutions should automatically provide their students with their own, personalized, printable schedule of classes. Such schedules should include the full name of the classes, their regular meeting hours, dates for final exams, final drop deadlines, a graphical weekly calendar with the student’s class time slots shaded for quick reference, a list of all relevant holidays and other potential schedule disruptions, regular and special campus library hours and any other significant information relating to that specific school term. All this information should be designed to be able to fit onto one standard sheet of paper and still be easily read.

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19. Corporal Punishment in School

Corporal punishment ought to be allowed in schools only for children less than 10 years old and only if the punishment would not leave any physical damage or permanent harm to the student.

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20. Animal Dissections in Primary School

Students should not be required to dissect animals in primary school in order to complete any core education requirement. However, students who choose to take optional courses that both do require dissections and have made such requirements known in the course description should be required to perform them without objection.

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21. Class, Schedule Change Notification

Schools should immediately notify all enrolled students who are directly affected by a class cancellation, schedule change, meeting place change, etc. through either the mail, e-mail, or telephone as soon as the change is made official. Students should indicate their preference of notification methods during either registration for the term or enrollment in the course. Failure to notify students should result in a minimum 10% refund of all costs associated with the course, including registration, books, and supplies.

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22. Academic Transcripts

All educational institutions should be required to make available to students, upon demand for free or for a nominal fee, their complete unabbreviated transcripts which would include everything related to school work performance including classes, awards, all positive and negative notations, and anything else of significance. These transcripts, while not required to be ‘official’, do need to be in an easy to read format and include at least as much information as is included on official transcripts. All transcripts should keep the use of abbreviations to a minimum or even not use them at all. Codes or other jargon must be fully explained. These documents should be so self-explanatory that all conceivable common and even not-so-common questions should be easily answered through a brief study of the document itself.

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23. Multiple Degrees

No educational institution should institute firm policies preventing students from obtaining an unlimited number of degrees at any level (Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate, etc). However, private institutions could charge whatever they want for 1st, 2nd and subsequent degrees. Government subsidized institutions should perhaps charge standard rates plus 50% of the subsidized rates for classes required for a 2nd degree (of the same level, for example a 2nd Associate Degree) and charge the unsubsidized, full cost for classes required for a 3rd and subsequent degrees (at the same level).

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24. Calculator Prohibition

Students should be prohibited from using calculators at school until the basic mathematical concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are mastered by hand. Calculators should still be restricted at least for the introductory phases of other mathematical concepts that build directly on these basic concepts. The primary and secondary education curricula should continually ensure that students maintain the ability to manually master these four basic mathematical operations, perhaps with periodic tests during which the use of calculators are prohibited.

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25. School Registration, Business Through the Telephone

Students registering through the telephone, adding or dropping classes, and doing other school business over the phone should be allowed to continue doing similar business over the telephone throughout the school term. No one should be required to appear in person to do something that could have been done though the phone at other times during the term.

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25. Tuition for Public School Attendance

All parents of children in primary and secondary schools should be required to pay tuition for each child. Tuition raised directly from parents should be set at a rate so that about 50% of the total cost of education is funded by these tuition receipts.  The other 50% would be provided through the general funds of the state and/or local governments (a pool of taxpayers that includes those without kids) because education is a public good that benefits everyone.  One of the more important benefits of tuition would be a greater sense of commitment by the parents to the school and to their children’s education. Though it serves an incredibly valuable public good to have all members of society sufficiently educated to help ensure a civilized existence for each individual within a society, gargantuan quantities of resources are too easily wasted by the substandard direct oversight which so often naturally results from the total or near total subsidization of a student’s education by people other than those directly benefiting or involved in a student’s education (namely the student, his/her parents, and the teacher, and the school principal). A free or heavily subsidized education by such distant third parties tend to result in students, parents, teachers, school administrators and everyone else involved in the education system to be more careless about or to insufficiently address both economic and procedural inefficiencies within the educational system. By bringing greater control of budgets back to the school site, especially to the school principal and teachers, and by making parents, and to a lesser extent, students pay at least some of these costs, an awareness of the expense of an education would be more prominent on the minds of everyone.

#1 Calculate Average Annual Per Student Expenses

To begin constructing a tuition schedule, each school district must first determine its per capita student expenses at the end of each year. In other words, the school district would add up everything it spends to keep the district running, including administrative expenses, utilities, maintenance, teacher salaries, etc. It is this figure that would serve as one of the two basic figures used to determine actual individual family tuition payments for each child.

#2 Total Per Capita Family Income

The other basic figure needed to determine actual individual family tuition payments for each child would be the total family income generated in the previous year by all members of the family, regardless of age, divided by the number of individuals in that family. This family per capita income figure would be used directly with the school district’s per capita student expense figure to determine the actual amount billed by the school district to the family of the student.

The higher the family per capita income, the higher the tuition charges. At the low end of the income spectrum, families would pay only a fraction of the school district’s actual per student educational expenses, while at the high end of the income spectrum families would pay a multiple of this actual per student educational expenses. However, all parents, regardless of how little they may have earned or whether they have earned anything at all in the previous year, should still be required to pay a minimum tuition charge of $100 towards the district’s average educational costs for each student. If they cannot pay this amount before the due date, interest at market rates would be charged on the unpaid portion and continue to accrue without limit until the entire account is paid.

Tuition Rate Proposal (Assuming $10,000 per capita educational costs.)

Per Capita Income Tuition Rate Annual Tuition Paid
$0-4,999 $100 (minimum)
$5,000 2% $100
$10,000 5% $500
$15,000 10% $1,000
$20,000 25% $2,500
$25,000 50% $5,000
$40,000 100% $10,000
$60,000 150% $15,000
$80,000 300% $30,000
$100,000 600% $60,000

This formula should be a smooth algebraic formula rather than tax rate brackets. Like a progressive income tax, this progressive tuition schedule would constitute an additional element in a progressive tax system.

School Vouchers

Families who desire to send their children to private schools, would be allowed to pick the school of choice for their children and would be allowed to receive a voucher for 50% of their entire financial obligation (up to $5,000) under the cost plan stated above. In other words, if a family earned $40,000 per capita (using the tax rate stated above) and is thus required to pay 100% of the $10,000 in annual per pupil public school average cost (equal to $10,000), but decided instead to enroll their child in a private school, that family would be entitled to a voucher equal to $5,000 to be applied towards that private school tuition.

Families which earn more per capita would not be allowed a larger voucher because the voucher cap should be limited to 50% of the public school district’s average per pupil cost. This cap is set to compensate for and emphasis the role of the public education system’s principal function of universal education, often resulting in the enrollment of a disproportionate share of higher-cost and/or more troublesome students.

Families which earn less than $40,000 per capita would be subjected to a tuition rate lower than 100% (according the table above). Such families who desire to enroll their children in a private school would be entitled to a voucher equal to only 50% of their public school tuition rate. For example, a family with a per capita income of $20,000 would have a tuition rate of 25% of the average per pupil public school costs ($10,000) or $2,500. Thus, the value of their voucher would be $1,250 to be applied towards a private education.

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26. Basic School Supplies Provided by Parents

Parents should be responsible for supplying their primary and secondary school children with all the required basic school supplies such as pencils, erasers, crayons, facial tissue, rulers, paper, glue, scissors, etc. Schools would supply the list of required materials. This would help students and schools to be less wasteful and would encourage them to place a greater value on and take better care of their things and the things of others.

A school should require a student to repurchase, at full price, any materials supplied by the school at reduced cost to a student, and then lost or damaged by that student.

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27. Performance-Based Teacher Pay

A primary education teacher’s pay should be based, at least in part, on a formula that includes the number of students taught by the teacher as well as some form of measure of their students’ success in learning the material. For example, a school district could set the reference point salary figure (standard pay) for a 5th grade teacher with 30 students who score a combined average of 75% on a series of non-teacher-authored tests throughout the year at $60,000 per year (that is, $2,000 per student). If that teacher decided to teach only 29 students, that teacher would take a deduction in pay equivalent to 150% of the per student compensation rate. In this example, that deduction would be $3,000. If the teacher decided to teach only 28 students, the deduction would be $6,000. On the other hand, for every additional student the teacher decides to teach, compensation would increase by only 100% of the per student rate, $2,000 in this example. Compensation for each additional student would not increase by more than 100% of the per student compensation rate to discourage classes from becoming too large and teachers from spreading themselves too thin.

In a similar way, also factored into a teacher’s pay would be the grades the teacher’s class receives in comparison to the school district’s average score within the same grade level. These scores would be determined from non-teacher authored or selected tests, mainly standardized tests. The school district would first need to set the reference point for each teaching position. Again, we will use a sample reference point salary figure of $60,000 for a 5th grade teacher and assume that the district-wide average score 5th grade students receive on standardized tests is 75%. Class scores a certain number of percentage points below the district average would result in the class teacher’s pay being deducted by an equal percentage amount. In contrast, class scores above the district average would result in the teacher’s pay being increased by a percentage equal to 150% of the percentage difference between the district average and actual class scores. For example, if the 5th grade teacher’s class scored a 65% average (which is 10% below the predetermined reference point percentage of 75%), that teacher would take a 10% salary cut (-$6,000). But if the students scored an 85% average (which is 10% above the district average percentage of 75%), the teacher would be rewarded with a 15% (150% of the 10% difference) increase in their salary (+$9,000 in this example).

Of course, teachers tampering with testing or scoring or any other such misconduct would be penalized severely in the form of a big fine that will make them wish they would not have engaged in such misconduct. Cases of clear test or score tampering should be punished by a fine equal to at least 20% of the teacher’s pay for each student whose work was tampered with.

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28. Student Grade-Based Course Financial Refund

To both encourage students to study harder as well as to give all students an opportunity to reduce their cost of education, educational institutions should be encouraged to offer refunds to students for a portion of the cost of a course based on how high the student was graded on the course. For example, if a student earned 100% on a course, that student would receive a 15% refund. If a student scored 95%, then he/she would get maybe a 10% refund. For a grade of 90%, the student may earn a 5% refund. All lower grades would not entitle the student to a refund.

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29. Student Time-Based Course Financial Refund

To encourage students to study harder and faster as well as to give all students an opportunity to get a reduced cost education, educational institutions should be encouraged to offer refunds to students for a portion of the cost of a course based on how fast the student successfully finished the course. For example, if the average time required to complete a given course is 2 months, and a student completes it with a passing grade in 75% of this average time (i.e., 6 weeks), that student would receive a refund of perhaps 5% of the total cost of the course. If the student finishes the course in 50% of the average time (4 weeks), then perhaps a 10% refund could be claimed. This course finished in only 2 weeks (25% of the average time), could entitle the student to a 15% refund.

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30. Monetary Fines for School Children

Children should be issued ‘tickets’ for improper school behavior and parents would ultimately be responsible for paying the fines. For example, fighting with another student may earn the student a $100 ticket. Littering may be a $10 fine, placing graffiti may be a $25 fine, etc. Since they are children, they would not be subjected to the full punitive fines. High school fines should be higher than elementary fines.

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31. Late School Start Date Penalty

The parents of children enrolled into a school after the start of the school year (or after the start of the new semester in the middle of the school year) should be fined $10 for every day of the year that the child missed at the new school. The teacher of the child should receive half of this amount ($5 per day) in direct compensation for the inconvenience and burden of including and integrating the new student into the teacher’s records and into the class’s physical and social environment.

All these penalty fees would be reduced to $100 at the beginning of a new semester in the middle of the school year but would begin to accumulate again for each subsequent day.

Furthermore, an additional penalty should be levied on the parents of children being enrolling in any grade lower than 10th grade. This penalty would consist of a cumulative 10% penalty applied to each grade level going back to the lower grades. For example, the parents of 10th grade entrants would only pay the base penalty of $10 for each day that they are not enrolled after the start of the school year. However, 9th grader parents would be charged $10 plus 10% ($11 total) per day as a penalty, while 8th grade parents would be charged $10 per day plus 20% ($12 total) per day. Seventh grader parents would be charged an additional 30%, 4th grader parents would be charged 60%, 1st grader parents would be charged 90%, and kindergarten parents would be charged 100% more ($20) per day.

The main reason for such a rate structure is to discourage the parents of younger children from transferring children during nonstandard times of the academic year so as to minimize hardships on both students and staff.

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32. School Lunch Subsidies

Government subsidies should not be provided to enable free or reduced cost breakfast or lunch meals for school children. If governments are involved in providing meals, they should operate as a private business and ensure that they make a profit or at least break even. Parents should be required to pay market prices for food offered at the cafeteria or should provide their children with packed lunches. If parents cannot afford to pay for cafeteria food, schools should be required to maintain an account and keep track of balances for each student in debt. Parents must then pay off these balances monthly, otherwise, regular market loan interest rates will begin to accrue until the balance is paid in full.

Schools should make available only balanced nutritional foods from the cafeteria, vending machines, snack bars, etc. Schools may also keep tabs on individual student meal consumption patterns to ensure a long term balanced diet.

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33. More Efficient or ‘Thicker’ Use of Public School Facilities

To make more efficient use of tax dollars, public school facilities should be utilized more and for a wider range of activities than has conventionally been the case. Evenings, weekends, and holidays are times that schools are relatively empty. School administrators should be able to rent their facilities to other public or private entities at market rates with the idea that these enterprises will be financially profitable for the school. Ideas for what events or activities that could potentially be held on the school grounds are almost endless but would include holding church services, parties of any kind (including student birthdays), reunions, festivals, garage/yard sale substitute sites, weekend farmers markets or swap meets, car shows, vocational courses or college courses at nights and on weekends, remedial classes for students, day care (also throughout the day), community/recreation center, and many more possibilities.

Schools could also possibly set themselves up so that they share a library that is both a school library as well as a community library (public or private). This dual-use concept can also be applied to pools, gyms, etc. During school hours, such facilities could be closed to the public and then opened to the public after school or when the required school use has ended.

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34. Educational Financial Aid Grants Should Only Cover Tuition, Books, and Other Direct Costs

Government financial aid grants (for secondary education students) should only be enough to cover part or all of the direct costs associated with schooling, such as tuition, books, school instruction/material fees, etc. Estimated food, living, housing, or transportation expenses should not be given as grants but as loans.

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35. School Community Stores

To raise money for individual schools, every willing school could open a public store on campus (facing the sidewalk, preferably on the business or commercial edge of a school’s boundary line) that would sell things made or grown by the students of that school. Virtually anything that can be sold, including pictures, drawings, poems, writings, artwork, fruits, vegetables, plants, things made from scrap, or anything else made or significantly modified by the students should be allowed to be sold. For the more valuable things, perhaps students could be given a portion of the sale price of items that they make. If it’s not too difficult, it would be nice to be able to give every student a portion of the sale price of things they have made. Any person from the community could also make donations to the school of items that would otherwise have gone to a charity. The school could then sell these items and keep the profits for its own use. All profits would go to fund extra school activities, personnel, construction, or other needs or wants.

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36. Educational Material Publishers Competing Directly for Students

Students, especially those in progressively higher grades beginning in middle school but particularly those in high school and college, should be allowed to choose courses that are taught using teaching styles that each finds most effective. In other words, though students may not have a choice in what course they are required to take, they would have a choice determining in which teaching styles they would like those courses to be taught.

Naturally, such a choice is not available with a live lecturer doing the teaching. However, this proposal is part of a larger thrust presented in these proposals that would encourage a greater, though not total, utilization of independent learning methods, mainly through the use of printed or electronic media.

A whole industry can develop around teaching subjects to people using different teaching approaches to cater to students who may benefit more from utilizing one teaching style over another. Different companies (or even individuals) could produce one or a range of course packages and market them similar to how everything else in society is marketed. Each producer would advertise their own course and the student would make up his/her mind as to which one to buy. Courses, as long as they are properly accredited, could be bought from student stores on campus or at any other place, even online. Thus, students would have a range of teaching styles to choose from and could pick the one they think will work best for them.

This same idea could, perhaps, be applied to the lower grades in a limited fashion, though parents would be the ones deciding (in consultation with their children and teachers) upon which styles from which their children will learn. An example of a teaching style choice parents of elementary-aged children may want to make would be whether to teach reading and writing using either the whole language or phonetic approach.

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37. Schoolbooks; Buying & Selling – Buyback Pricing

School bookstores should buy back textbooks at a price based, in large part, on the condition of each textbook returned. Trained cashiers or other trained employees should rate the book on a three or four point system based on a variety of physical factors such as amount of underlining, highlighting, whether pages are torn or bent, condition of the cover, etc. Obviously, books in the best condition would receive the highest prices.

When these used books are sold back to students, their prices would be determined mainly by the condition of the book, using the same grading scale used to buy books from students.

Charts or informational posters describing the system and criteria used to determine the prices of used books and detailing the condition of a typical book for each category should be posted at places where used books are bought back by the school. If a book is in excellent condition and practically new receiving a four-star rating, probably 75% of the purchase price should be paid to the student. If a book received a three-star rating, perhaps 50% of the purchase price could be refunded. A book receiving a two-star rating may only be entitled to a 25% refund, of the purchase price, while a one-star rating would not be entitled to any refund.

Used Book Advertising Wall and/or Sales Booth

Every school should have a dedicated place where students can post information about textbooks they would like to sell. This dedicated place should be organized and managed by the school and be in the form of a large bulletin board, wall, or Internet page. All classes for which textbooks can be sold (the classes using the same books for the next term) should be listed along the top with lots of space underneath. Then students with either textbooks to sell or buy would walk along the wall until they come across the class for which they want to buy or sell textbooks. Sellers would place all relevant information (their name, name of textbook, price, contact telephone number, etc.) under the correct class listing and buyers would view all necessary information with which to make a decision.

An alternative method of creating an efficient market for both buyers and sellers would be for the educational institution itself to agree to be the agency that connects buyers and sellers. Sellers would leave their books at the school bookstore and when a buyer buys the book, the bookstore would keep a portion of the proceeds to fund and profit from such an operation.

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38. Getting Parents Involved in Their Children’s Education

To encourage parents to get more directly involved in their elementary children’s education and to improve the speed and efficiency of their children’s early educational career, parents should be financially rewarded for their children’s above average or notably high test scores and/or for extraordinary improvements in test scores over the year. These financial rewards could take the form of tuition fee refunds. Families should be rewarded if their child scores in the top third (for example) of their grade level (averaged throughout all subjects) at that school by being given a $100 refund. Or if, at the end of the year, a student had been among the top five percent of students who has made a dramatic improvement since the beginning of that grade, the family should get a reward of perhaps $100.

Students could also be paid a token amount of money for good or great performance on every significant test they take throughout the year. Earning a 100% on a spelling test could earn them $1, for example. Earning a 90% on a history test could earn them $2, etc. These payments could be adjusted according to the age of the students, difficulty of the tests, and other factors.

Parents should be given a specific summary of what their child is expected to learn by the time he finishes that grade. Every quarter, the parents should receive updates on the progress of their child toward these goals and an assessment on whether the student is on schedule to meet them. Periodically, parents could also receive tips (scientific research articles, teacher comments, district/principal notices, etc.) on how to improve the learning environment and behavioral receptiveness of their child to make learning easier for the child, the teacher, and the parents as well.

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39. Student Gardens

Every primary school should have a garden of some sort where students can have a part in deciding what gets planted and where students can take part in caring for the garden. Perhaps children could grow foods, flowers or other plants with the intent of selling them to parents, other students, or the public at a student store to raise money for the school.

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40. Exhaustive Exercise Databases

Students should have access to a virtually limitless number of exercises in math, science, language, and other subjects. These exercises should be divided into narrow categories, each of which emphasizes one particular aspect, potential point of confusion, or certain stage of problem-solving that is prone to causing confusion or mistakes in the subject being taught.

Perhaps the internet the most practical and lowest-cost place for such exercises to be made available to those who need it. All school textbooks and school bookstores should be required to list such websites in a place easily visible to students.

The idea is to provide students with access to a flood of sample problems, organized by category, so that they could practice working through any formulas, concepts, rules or specific portions of them which they do not quite understand. These exercises should be designed so that every possible snag that a student may face could be resolved by having that student work through a series of exercises specifically designed to pull that student through that snag with an understanding of how to resolve that snag in a variety of different situations and contexts. Studies should be made on where students have problems or become stuck, and a series of exercises should be created to specifically deal with each of those problems. For example, if a student has trouble subtracting from rounded hundred numbers (such as 300) because of the borrowing functions that must be performed, there should be a whole set of exercises listing hundreds of similar math problem that, while using different numbers, share the property that borrowing must be performed from rounded hundred numbers.

Other exercises could focus on helping English students identify specific parts of speech like subjects, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositional phrases, etc., within sentences. Students could even diagram whole chapters of books to practice this skill. The learning of scientific formulas and chemical equations could also be enhanced in a similar manner.

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41. Lecture Notes

At the beginning of each secondary level course, or at least in advance of the lectures, instructors should give out detailed outlines of their lecture notes, even if for a fee. In this way, students would better know what to expect from the lectures, what the thrust of the lecture is, and what to focus on. These lecture notes should include everything discussed in class including definitions, diagrams, etc. These lecture notes should be complete enough so that the student would not be required to write down any core elements of a lecture. Students would thus be better able to concentrate more on the material being discussed rather than spend a great deal of time and effort writing things down and, invariably, increasing the chances of needlessly missing out on some relevant points or thoughts.

Students spend too much time and effort trying to think about how to format the notes and trying to guess and imitate the professor’s outline or format of main points, supporting points, examples, definitions, etc. The student’s job is to understand and synthesize the information, not to transcribe lectures into written form.

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42. University Cocoons

Secondary schools and universities should be encouraged to have small individual (4′ x 6′) and/or larger group study booths scattered throughout the campus in libraries or even dedicated buildings for this purpose. Any nook and cranny whether it is inside buildings or anywhere outdoors could be used for this purpose. These cocoons would be places where students could go alone or with a study group and study without interruptions or distractions. Each room would be completely enclosed and each door could be equipped with a small window so that passers by will know that it is being occupied. Possible layout for single occupancy rooms could be a 2′ x 4′ table at one end of the room with a shelf about 2′ above the table and the door at the opposite end to put backpacks and other stuff. Perhaps time meters similar to parking meters could be placed outside so that these study booths could either help fund the school or help offset the cost of constructing them.

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43. Student Uniforms

Primary and secondary schools should require students to use uniforms. However, uniform policies should consist of several different models of pants, shorts, skirts, shirts, blouses, shoes, etc. For example, there should be about three or four allowable models of pants, and the same for shirts, with each model allowed in up to three or four different colors. Colleges, universities and other educational institutions need not require such limited wardrobe options but should enforce decent dress codes.

Primary and secondary school teachers should also be required to wear either uniforms or semi-dressy clothes, regardless of whether or not the students are required to wear uniforms.

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44. School Textbook Stocking Requirements

All schools should be required to have all textbooks (or other materials) required by a class in stock by the first day of that class’s term. Schools that require students to purchase textbooks which are not in stock on time should be required to financially compensate those students by giving them a significant discount on those textbooks. Such discounts should be related to how long after the start of the term the textbooks become available for purchase by the students. Perhaps an automatic 50% discount could be implemented on the first day of the term for a textbook or other required material that is not available for purchase. Such discounts could increase by 1-10% of the products purchase price for each additional day of delay. In addition, schools should entitle students to free photocopies of any reading materials required from books or other materials not yet in stock. A minimum buffer of two weeks of scheduled future reading materials should be provided to each student, regardless of how soon the required texts will arrive in the school’s bookstore after the term begins.

Schools could avoid absorbing such penalties if they agree to revert to using the previous term’s textbooks for the class and make such a decision at least two weeks prior to the start of the term. If the decision to use the previous term’s textbooks is made with less than two weeks to go until the start of the term, students should be entitled to purchase these textbooks at only half their planned sale price.

Students should never be required to go to different bookstores or other locations off campus to get books or other required materials unless they are compensated with at least a 50% discount. Schools should make available all required materials on campus.

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45. Time Compressed Movies and Animated Flip Books as Teaching Aides

Certain portions of history should be taught using a more visual medium. Specifically, time compressed movies and even animated flip booklets could be made to illustrate historical events like the movements of fronts during a war, the evolution of political boundaries, demographic shifts, the meandering of rivers, the evolution of geologic land formations both on the micro and macro scales, and so much more. Two or more related variables could also be included within the same lesson to more directly show students the relationship between the two.

Such a presentation format would enable many students to more effectively formulate and grip larger frameworks around which so much more knowledge can be hung, perhaps with longer lasting accuracy. Students could even make some of these flipbooks themselves, page by page (at least coloring basic, repeating templates) throughout a course.

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46. Preparing Students for Tests

Students should know exactly what will be on their tests. Ideally, everything learned in the class should be on the test. However, tests cannot really be expected to be truly comprehensive both because of the amount of time it would take students to complete them and because of the unacceptable amount of time teachers would need to grade them. Naturally, only a sampling of the material taught would appear on the test. Therefore, tests must be constructed in such a way that forces student to study all the material presented in the course, yet tests them on only a fraction of that material.

Rather than telling students that everything included in the course is liable for inclusion on tests, students should receive, at the beginning of the course, a comprehensive study guide containing a comprehensive listing of terms and questions to study and for which to gather answers. If these terms and questions are constructed correctly, their answers would effectively represent all of the material taught in the course. The students would then be told that this list includes all of the information and questions that will be on their tests, but because of time limitations, only a random sampling of these questions and terms would actually appear. For example, at the beginning of a course students would be given a list of perhaps 200 questions, terms, and concepts they must know and that, when studied for properly, would represent a comprehensive knowledge of the course. But the student would also be told that 15 questions and 5 terms (for example) from this list would be chosen randomly just before the start of the final exam.

The list of questions that is given to students at the beginning of the course should be arranged in the order in which they are planned to be covered in class. This would help students focus on developing comprehensive answers to these questions. If these questions are worded properly, a correct answer would require that students have gained a comprehensive understanding of the material.

There could be many benefits to using this kind of system. Students would be guided in their studies by knowing exactly what to study for (basically everything in the course), they would feel more confident and enthusiastic as a result of the reduction of the ‘unknown’ factor so often found in testing, they could spend less time taking notes in class (because they would know exactly what information they would need in order to fill in gaps in their knowledge rather than just write everything down), they could spend more time listening intently to the lecturer, and they may be able to ask more intelligent questions that would help build a greater comprehension of the subject. Students would also be able to study ahead with the confidence that they are not wasting time studying things that will not be on the test because nobody knows what will be on the test until the random drawing is performed on the day of the test. The use of well-written lecture notes by the instructor would further enable students to concentrate on filling in gaps in their knowledge.

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47. Testing – More Intensive

Courses intended to be longer than about 100 hours should be designed in such a way (i.e., providing multiple tests such as midterms and/or chapter tests) so that portions of the course could be repeated if needed, rather than forcing the student to find out at the end of the course if the whole course needs to be repeated. This way students would be forced to study harder throughout the course due to the higher frequency of testing as well as reducing their chances of failing entire classes at a time. Final examinations should still be cumulative.
The use of self-tests would allow such a system of higher frequency testing to be implemented without requiring significantly extra time from the teacher or instructor. As a regular part of educational courses, several questions of all types (including essay questions) should be included at the end of each section or chapter. Students would be required to answer these questions when they get to them and would themselves check these answers against scoring keys held at the educational institution (for primary and secondary school courses) and perhaps at the end of textbooks (or otherwise included in course packages) for college and university students. The students would correct and grade these tests themselves giving them an indication as to how well prepared they are to being on track for the final exam. Of course, the teacher or instructor would grade all final exams.

The passing grade for all tests should be set at no less than 75% (3 out of 4 questions). Too many people failing a test are an indication that the test is too hard, not that the passing grade should be lowered. Such tests should be redesigned.

Self-tests and the final exam administered to a student who has previously failed that section or the entire course should contain mostly different questions, or at least differently worded questions, than the original exams taken. The test should not be harder, just different.

More Essay Tests

Essay tests should be used more throughout all levels of education. Though they do take significantly more time to grade, the effectiveness of an education would be greatly enhanced. If self-testing methods are used, educators may have more time to spend grading essay questions.

Oral Exams

Students in many, if not most, secondary and higher grade primary schools should have the option of being administered some tests (either in part or in whole), even including final exams, orally with the professor or teacher. Not only would this help make students better speakers and communicators in general as well as benefit them in several other areas, but it would also potentially save the professor time by reducing the number of written papers to grade. Of course, the student would need to meet with the professor, likely at the educational facility itself so that the oral test could be conducted in person.

Students in primary school may utilize oral tests to a great extent on certain subjects, as well.

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48. Grading on a Curve

Educators at the primary school level should be prohibited from grading students on a curve, while educators at secondary and high institutions should at least be encouraged not to use such grading methods. Instead, absolute grading systems should be used that are based upon an absolute mastery of the content.

Some of the benefits provided by curved grading (i.e., dividing students according to their performance relative to their peers) could just as easily and possibly more accurately be provided by making absolute class grades available on a list ranked from highest to lowest grades. At the same time, the inherent unfairness associated with basing grade cutoff points on relative performance rather than on an absolute mastery of the course would be eliminated.

If students know enough to pass a test, they should pass the test regardless of how many others passed the same test.

Sometimes tests could be too hard. If the test maker agrees that this may be a possibility, the test maker may decide to include, at their discretion, additional ‘extra point’ questions that students would have the option of answering and whose points would be valid only if the teacher finds that the entire class as a whole scored below a certain threshold. This way students could essentially purchase a kind of insurance in case the entire class scores poorly.

An alternate, but inferior, method would be to allow the instructor to shift the entire grading scale down 5 percentage points so that a 95% score would factored as a 100% score, and a 75% score would be factored as an 80%. The spread of the grading scale would not be changed, however, so that if an B could only have been achieved by scoring between 80% and 90% (a 10 point spread) under the original scale, an B would now be given for grades between 70% and 80% (again, a 10 point spread). Only for an A grade would the spread be increased from a 10-point spread (90%-100%) to a 15-point spread (85%-100%). This would be a little unfair, however, because a 100% score would lose some of its luster since an 95% score would now be equivalent.

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49. A+/A Grade Point Values, General Grading System

It is very wrong for an A+ to be equivalent to an A grade in terms of the grade point values assigned to them. This defect of the grading system could be easily corrected by just redefining an A+ as being equal to a 4.001- 4.333 GPA. Flat A’s would continue to be 3.667 – 4.00 GPA, A- would be between 3.334 – 3.666, a B+ would be between 3.001 – 3.333, etc.

However, I think a more logical, more accurate, and ultimately more reasonable solution would be to construct a grading system that is based more directly on the ratio between how many questions the student got correct versus how many questions were on the test (i.e., a percentage-based grading system). Naturally, many academic projects such as research papers, reports, etc., cannot really be given a grade using such a grading system. In these cases, conventional letter grades may be justifiably given. Nevertheless, they will, in all likelihood, need to be converted into the same type of grading system used for all other graded activities to facilitate the calculating of a final grade for the course or for calculating an average grade for the student for the year, or whatever.

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50. Answers Written on Tests Proper

As much as possible, answers to test questions should be written on the test itself. All tests with questions which require answers that can reasonably be expected to run for half a page or less should provide space on the test proper for the student to write the answer on the test. Only for questions with answers that can reasonably be expected to run for more than half a page could test makers be allowed to require students to write their answers for such questions on separate paper. Otherwise, unnecessary time demands, difficulty and complexity is introduced during the critical testing period by requiring students to write every answer on a separate sheet of paper and coming up with their own method of formatting and referencing their answers to the questions on the test sheet. Additionally, writing answers on a test would help students more easily catch any answers they may have accidentally skipped over.

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51. Student Testing Materials

All testing materials (for colleges and universities) should either be provided at the place and time that the test is to be taken, or the materials brought by the student (pencil, erasers, calculator, papers, etc.) should be checked to make sure that they are not able to be used for cheating.

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52. Standard Format for Student Papers

Papers written in primary schools (especially in the higher primary grades) should be written in a format that has been standardized across all disciplines. Students should not fret over correctly following one of several different formats in which professors could choose to require their students to write. One format should be enough to fit the requirements of any and all disciplines including psychology, philosophy, biology, mathematics, geology, etc. Standardizing paper writing formats would allow students to devote more time to actual productive study rather than to try to figure out merely stylistic, procedural, and non-productive communication practices.

Teachers and instructors who require papers to be written in any format other that the standard format, should not only provide a good reason for such a requirement, but should also provide students with a sample full length paper written in such a format for the purpose of showing the students how to properly structure, format, cite, and reference sources according to the instructor’s preferences. Otherwise, the educational facilities themselves should either create or, preferably, otherwise obtain conventionally published reference books for students to refer to that would detail every possible common paper formatting style that that educational institution (but preferably any educational institution in the country) is likely to require.

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53. Student Test/Class Rank Postings

Students should be able to know how they ranked compared to others in their class on tests. Teachers/professors should provide students with this data in a timely manner. Furthermore, it would be nice if statistical analysis (standard deviation, class average, etc.) were also provided. This should be the general practice at all educational institutions with perhaps the major exceptions being primary schools because such students may be too immature to properly understand or handle the data.

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54. Testing Rooms

This proposal is applicable to tests given for all independent courses in which tests are taken whenever the student states their readiness to take tests. All testing rooms should be away from all common audible or visual distractions and allow several people to take different tests simultaneously, but well separated from each other. Each test-taker would go to the test site supervisor, ask for his test, and then be directed to a their individual testing desk. These desks should, if possible, be set up in a way so that the test-takers would not see the supervisor looking at them. Each testing desk would have a clock that sets the time allowed for the test and counts down to zero. When time runs out the supervisor would be alerted and a light would blink on the device notifying the student that the time has elapsed. The test site supervisor, who is also keeping track of each student’s time, would then come by and pick up the test if the student had not already finished and submitted it to the supervisor. The desk would then be available for the next test taker. With this system, many students could take different tests at the same time, while each may have different starting and finishing times. The testing room should have several closed circuit cameras so that the test site supervisor could more effectively monitor activities in the room to ensure an absence of cheating.

Sound Proof Testing Rooms

Tertiary educational facilities could also have small, individual, sound proof testing rooms that individuals may choose to use, for a fee, so that they could talk out loud to themselves without disturbing anyone else.

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55. Students to Keep All Tests for Their Records

Students should be allowed to keep their final exams, or at least a copy, after they have been scored. Primary and secondary schools should be required to keep a copy of all tests and, if requested, personally give them to the parents of the student at the end of the school year, upon completion of the class, or upon graduation from primary or secondary school.

In secondary schooling and higher, all tests and other important materials turned in for a grade should be photocopied or digitally copied or in some reliable way recorded by the school after they have been graded but before being given back to the students.

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56. Student Graded Essays

In order to show students how hard it is to score essay-type questions and tests, students themselves should be required to grade other students’ tests. Perhaps the students doing the grading should also sometimes write papers describing the process, especially including difficulties they have encountered while making decisions on how to grade various parts of these test and how they have struggled with ascribing actual point values to some of the difficult, borderline answers. Students doing the grading should also interact with the students whose tests they have graded so that each side could both better understand how to write improved essay answers and also understand the difficulty of ascribing an always completely accurate grade to each essay question and test.

Such a system could be used, at least in part, to help alleviate some of the workload that teachers and professors have when it comes to grading by allowing students to do the bulk of the grading for certain tests. Inevitably, students whose tests have been graded by other students will often dispute those grades with the teacher or professor. The teacher or professor could then review the essay answers on disputed tests and make a final determination on that point.

To prevent students from flooding the professor with requests to review numerous grading disputes, the professor could place an arbitrary limit on the number of individual disputes any one student can bring to the professor concerning any one test. Furthermore, each student whose complaints were not justified would either suffer a reduction in the number of disputes that the same student could bring to the professor in the future, or the subtraction of an additional point on the exam in which the dispute was shown to be unfounded. This deduction would serve as a penalty to the student for bringing up a matter to the professor without justifiable cause, regardless of how honest the student’s intentions were.

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57. Testing Long-Term Retention of Knowledge

To gauge the long-term retention of information by primary and secondary school students, a random sampling of graduates should be tested, 2, 5 and/or 10 years after their graduation. They may be compensated for their time and effort by the government or school district. Such testing would help refine the development of a curriculum by finding out what pieces of knowledge are retained by former students and for how long. This may also encourage curriculum designers more focused on core materials and explaining them well, while minimizing tangential or peripheral information.

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58. Retaking College Courses

Students who wish to retake a class to improve their grade, even though they have successfully passed it on their previous attempt, should be allowed to do so only once and only if they enroll to retake the class within one year of receiving their official final grade for their first attempt. If a lower grade was received on the 2nd go around, the original grade would be the final official grade. Students who have failed a class could elect to take it again as many times as they would like until they pass.

However, with each repetition, the maximum allowable grade and the entire grading scale should be set to the equivalent of one/half to one full letter grade lower than what would have been possible during the previous completion or attempted completion of the same course. Students would be allowed to complete the same class three or more times and, though all these repetitions and their grades would be recorded in the student’s official transcripts, only the highest of the first three attempts could be used to affect the student’s GPA and other academic calculations. Students would be able to exercise this option at a maximum rate of once per year throughout their secondary education career.

For government subsidized tertiary educational institutions, students wishing to enroll in a class for a 2nd repetition would be required to pay the original cost of registration plus 50% of the subsidized cost for that class. Students enrolling in a 3rd and subsequent repetitions should pay the full, unsubsidized price for such courses. In no case, however, should students pay more than the unsubsidized, market value costs.

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59. Mandatory General Education Completion

The completion of a primary and secondary education should be mandatory for all native born individuals and all immigrants under 15 years of age. Dropouts aged 30 and older should be fined $100 for every subsequent year in which they have not attained a General Education Degree. Immigrants would also be required to comply as well, but the ages at which their fines begin to be imposed would be their age at the time of migration into the country (if they were under 15 at the time) plus 30 years. Immigrants admitted while they were aged 15 through 39 would be required to take an abbreviated version of a General Education curriculum consisting mainly of basic literacy, government and social functions and behavior. Immigrants admitted while aged 40 and older would be exempt from all General Education requirements. All people who have reached their expected life expectancy at retirement age would be exempted from this requirement and the associated penalty.

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60. Fulltime Schooling Definition

Full time schooling should be defined as 40 hours of study (both in and out of class) per week (an average of 8 hours per weekday) for all students. for both primary and secondary students, recesses and lunches would be included for these calculations. All students getting a primary and secondary education (including kindergarten) should be required to enroll in at least a 75% fulltime workload. Naturally, at these younger ages, supervised playtime would take up a much larger share of their daily education.

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61. Educational Prioritization, Elimination & Goals

A general priority list for what primary and secondary educational curriculums are expected to emphasize and when, should be as follows:

  1. Pre-school / K – Control over body tendencies, functions and mental control (concentration and focus), peaceful interaction with others, cleaning up after oneself
  2. Elementary/Middle/High – Communication skills (writing, speaking, writing, body language, etc.)
  3. Elementary – Personal/Environmental care (health, personal hygiene, sanitary living, food handling, etc.)
  4. Middle – History/Math
  5. Middle/High – History/Science/Math
  6. High – History/Science/Abstract Math

Naturally there will be very large amounts of overlap. With the exception of abstract math, each of the subjects listed here would actually be taught throughout all level of education. However, the emphasis during each stage of a student’s education should be as stated above.

One of the goals of primary education should be the instilment into every student, at the end of their primary education career, a basic understanding of the kind of work is involved within virtually every type of job as well as every field of study. At the very least, students should be able to describe, in functional detail, what practically all major professions do.

Students who have successfully finished secondary school should be well-rounded in all subjects and qualified to join the labor force without further education. They should be sufficiently informed and civilized members of society.

Elimination of Unnecessary Classes

Some classes currently required as high school graduation requirements should be dropped from such requirement lists, unless the student chooses to embark on an educational career path that do require such classes. Among the classes that should be dropped include calculus, trigonometry, any classes beyond any college level introduction to any specific scientific field of study like chemistry, geography, etc. The elimination of these classes would free up lots of time to either substitute more relevant classes or reduce the length of the standard educational career through high school (which I would redefine to include the first two years of college).

 

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62. Homework

Homework for TK – 12th grade schooling should be limited to a maximum average daily number of minutes for every school day of the week. Understand, that these maximum limits are for conventional classes.  Advanced Placement classes, electives or extracurricular activities may add more required homework time.

Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten should require zero minutes of homework per day. These students could take home or be offered optional homework of any kind, but no homework should be mandatory. Again, Kindergartners (or students at any grade level that have been enrolled in some kind of advanced class) could be required to complete additional homework beyond the maximum limits stated here.

First graders should be allowed a maximum of 10 minutes of homework per day, on average, 2nd graders should be allowed an average of 20 minutes per day, 3rd graders 30, 4th should be allowed 40 and so on, all the way up to 12th grade where the maximum would be an average of 120 minutes per day.

These maximums roughly align with the National PTA recommendations (the largest difference is that the PTA requires homework for only 4 days a week). The purpose of a general education is to ensure that enough information is imparted to the student to become a thoroughly literate, functional, well-informed and civilized member of the population. Though it would be great to have all students exceed these minimum standards, it would not be proper to set a mandatory higher bar for all students to achieve because it is not proper or beneficial to expect or even to encourage 100% of the student population to meet such higher requirements. Not all students want to go to college or want to be anything more than nominally productive members of society, not should they be mandated to do such things. Even in hindsight, people often want to live ‘simple’ lives. However, the minimum expected of everyone (with the exception of several disabled students) should be the successful complete of a general education curriculum.

Useless Homework

Too much useless homework is being assigned to students and this has the effect of stifling their enthusiasm for schooling.  It is imperative that schools and school districts develop system to check whether assigned homework is genuinely useful or just busywork. High quality homework for each grade level should be found. Since students learn in different ways, perhaps two or three different methods of teaching the same topic should be provided by the school as an option for either the student and/or the parents to choose. Just like we have professional teachers, perhaps professional homework creators should be created as a profession to create homework designed to be both efficient and effective.

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63. Standardizing Courses and Their Nomenclature & Numbering Systems

This county’s educational system should function as an actual integrated system rather than the current conglomeration of systems. The entire span and range of education from preschool or before all the way up to the highest levels of structured formal education in universities should be categorized and organized using a standardized system for the naming and numbering of the courses. Each course should have a name and number that would be shared by all other courses in the country that contain practically the same outline. The benefits of having a standardized naming system should be obvious. A standardized naming system would significantly simplify the process of planning an educational career, especially for students who transfer between institutions. A standardized numbering system (a continuous one beginning with kindergarten or even before) would help students by giving them another tool to more accurately sense the degree of course difficulty or level of advancement. If necessary, to uniquely identify a course as one taught by a particular school, the name of the school (or its abbreviation) simply could be appended to the name of the course when printed on a transcript or anywhere else.

Many institutions or school districts have their own methods of naming classes as well as their own procedures for determining what topics are included in those courses. The result is a confusing system containing similarly named courses containing significantly different content and significantly different names ascribed to similar courses. Among other things, this results in the frustrating reality of seemingly equivalent courses not being accepted for credit at transferring or other institutions. A system incorporating a greater degree of standardization between both course names (including course numbers) and actual course content is needed to reduce confusion and improve the transferability of coursework while reducing the amount of accidental or intentional redundant learning required to fulfill transfer requirements to other institutions.

As a general rule, educational institutions need to create courses that discuss standard blocks of knowledge. Courses that discuss blocks of knowledge that differ from other standard blocks of knowledge by more than 20% would be classified as nonstandard courses. Using these criteria, it would be much easier for educational institutions to determine whether such courses meet their standards and fulfill their transfer requirements.

Students who have taken courses that contain less than 80% of the material included in equivalent standard courses at the transferring institution should be granted partial credit and then should be allowed to do one of two things to achieve full credit. They could either take additional courses, preferable other required courses for their degree, that fill in this gap in knowledge, or they could be told exactly what subjects or topics to study and then told to study that and take a test to demonstrate their satisfactory understanding of that material whenever the student is ready. The institution offering or requiring the original nonstandard courses should be required to offer the means by which to fulfill any requirements needed to complete the equivalent standard courses, although any institution should be allowed to offer them. Using such procedures, students would not be required to waste time engaging in the redundant learning involved with taking a full term course to make up for a relatively minor content deficiency in a course taken at the previous institution.

Redefining ‘Units’ Into ‘Average Total Hours Required’ for Completion of a Course

One ‘unit’ should be equal to one hour of work or study for the course (including class time). ‘Units’ should be called ‘hours’ instead and should not be stated in any other derived terms such as number of hours per week because the number of weeks are not the same for all courses. Instead, to communicate to the student an estimate of course difficulty and workload, the total number of hours estimated for successful completion should be stated in all course descriptions. For example, a course that takes an estimated 200 hours for the average student to complete would be described as a 200 hour course. To get an accurate idea of exactly how much time students are spending on a given course, school administrators or teachers themselves (perhaps right after finals are administered) could have students fill out a questionnaire asking how much time they think they have spent studying and working in this course. School administrators could revise the estimated hours needed for successful course completion as necessary.

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64. Self-Paced Flexible Packaged Courses

The general method, approach and goals of education should be to teach knowledge depth rather than a multitude of shallow facts. Students should be taught fewer things, but they should be taught those things much more thoroughly. Shallow learning (merely or essentially memorizing facts, names, etc.) is inefficient, unrewarding, quickly/easily forgotten, and essentially a waste of time. Deep or exhaustive learning is the opposite. It’s just like drilling research wells: you learn much more about the geology and history of a landscape by drilling a few deep wells (but learning a lot with each one) than you would by drilling many shallow wells. Everyone would agree that education should be deeper and its easy to say this, but how it can be done is harder to plan out. First, we must realize that there is no shortage of knowledge that we would like our students to acquire. So much can be and had been included and defined as necessary to the proper education of an average individual, that there is often not enough time for students to fundamentally understand and internalize what they are studying. Effectively, students graduate knowing superficially about a whole lot of different subjects, but too much of that information is quickly forgotten. In the end, much of the effort placed by both students and teachers has been wasted. Furthermore, students often graduate and enter the labor force in their mid-twenties or beyond, spending the first several of their potentially most productive and energetic years in the classroom rather than perfecting their skills on the job in their chosen career. The following paragraphs represent some proposals to make the educational process more efficient, more tailored to specific student interests, and able to produce people ready for full time participation (beginning with on-the-job-training, if necessary) in the labor force at a younger age (age 20 for most non-technical or non-specialized labor).

Flexible Course Design

As many educational courses as possible, but beginning with courses intended for children around 13 years of age and especially for students towards the end of secondary school and beyond, should try to be designed in such a way that allow students a much greater flexibility in scheduling their study time, including in-class study time. The more that students progress through a secondary education, the more they should be responsible for choosing, within proper parameters and oversight, when to study a subject, how much to progress in a subject each day or each week, and when to schedule their testing for each subject.

Designing this degree of student flexibility into the educational system would require some fundamental changes in conventional education practices. The following suggestions are general guidelines for how educational courses and facilities should be structured. These guidelines could very well require modifications depending on students’ ages and abilities or the nature of the course.

More Self-Driven Learning

First, students would primarily learn through the reading of textbooks, viewing of videos and other media on their own. In fact, students should learn to learn from more passive, ‘dull’ methods of instruction (i.e., reading a book) early in their educational career so that they do not become so bored of lecturers in the future that they will require a passionate lecturer just to keep them awake in class. The standard teacher lecturing format would become a secondary teaching method, except for maybe the lower grade levels where students may not have yet developed the discipline to work independently. Even tertiary level education (colleges and universities) could use self-driven, passive materials for many of their courses, though lecturing may be more appropriate in certain courses due to the unconventional nature of teaching cutting edge knowledge. In the latter grades of secondary school, lecturing could still account for perhaps 25% of the school day. Students in the lower grades should be gradually transitioned or weaned off the lecturing method onto more self-driven methods. Though teachers may not always lecture to the class, they would always be in the classroom to supervise and be available to answer any questions that students may have. Teachers may also lecture to a subset of the class when a significant number of students have reached the same point in their studies that require teacher assistance. Throughout secondary and tertiary school, students needing assistance from a teacher could possibly pay a very small token fee for that assistance. The idea is to more effectively encourage students to study on their own, ask their friends, and make greater efforts to understand.

Packaged-Course Design

Second, educational courses (especially common ones) should be given in packaged form. This means that students should be able to go to the school store (or anywhere these courses are sold) and purchase the required courses which would ideally include the following items: a complete and detailed syllabus of the course, textbook(s), either the inclusion of and/or a list of all tools or materials required, a list of tests and/or papers due, description of the course grading method and other such relevant information. In other words, the course that the student buys should consist of a package that has virtually everything needed for that student to know what the course entails and to successfully complete the course, except for the actual tests themselves.

Independent Classroom Studying

Third, except for lecture classes, students, for the most part, would be studying independently. They would be given individual desks arranged so that when students are sitting in them, they are not able to be distracted by either other students or other things going on in the classroom. Students would be given individual desks that are large enough to contain all of the conventional supplies that they would commonly need throughout the day (pencils, erasers, pens, crayons, facial tissue, pencil sharpener, rulers, dictionaries, textbooks for all their subjects, paper, etc.). These desks should be at least three feet wide and two feet deep, though larger would be better. Desks constructed against and facing the walls of the classroom may be the best option. Students would place their backpacks or any things they brought from home under their desks or in an open shelf space provide under or over their desks.

Perhaps the main benefit of these flexible packaged courses is that students would be able to progress through a course at their own speed. Since all students do not naturally learn at the same speed, they should not all be required to learn at the same speed. Unfortunately, the conventional educational system, and lecture structured courses in general, tries to educate all students at the same speed. Using flexible packaged courses, students wanting to finish a course in a matter of days or weeks would experience no resistance, whereas students who may need or want more time or more accommodating testing dates would also be allowed that flexibility. Such flexibility would dramatically reduce unnecessary artificial stresses associated with education, especially for secondary and tertiary courses.

For these independent, flexible courses to successfully impart the required knowledge to the students, the information contained within the courses must be complete and easy to understand to a wide range of students. To be most effective, they would need to present the information using various different styles to appeal to the various different styles of learning to which students are most receptive. They must contain far more details, charts, graphs, photographs, etc. They would include information that would answer the most common questions students may have. In fact, students who are old enough (and parents of younger students) should be able to request and choose certain courses that are taught using a teaching style or method that may provide the greatest benefit to the student. Of course, since every question of every student could never always be anticipated and answered in advance, these courses would rely on feedback from past students and a large sample of educators about what information to include in future editions of the course so that those questions are answered. Included in the course could be website references to short video clips where students may also have the opportunity to view videos that would discuss a very narrow issue, which is usually what students have difficulty understanding. Many different professors could each make multiple videos about the same topic, describing it differently each time. Perhaps one professor could also make his videos on different days or weeks so that he describes the same problem/solution/topic slightly differently. The student could then choose to view as many of these video clips as many times as necessary until the student is confident about his understanding and knowledge about how to work or solve the math problem or whatever matter it was that was explained.

Tests Administered At School

Fourth, students would need to go to a school, educational facility or any place supervised by a school official to take the tests required by the course. Exams should be given periodically throughout the course and comprehensive final exams should be given for each course. The student would request his or her test from the school test site administrator by providing proof of enrollment in the course and successful completion of all previous tests. The student would go to a room without taking any of his/her unnecessary belongings with them. The student will either be supplied with all necessary items or all his/her necessary items would be inspected by the test site administrator to ensure that they may not be used for cheating. Only the test scores, projects, papers and other specific assignments would determine students’ grades that they receive on their classes. Nothing else should be taken into consideration.

Naturally, the more self-disciplined and motivated students would excel under such arrangements, nevertheless, most students, even young elementary-aged students may be able to successfully operate under such condition. Furthermore, students of all ages may also find studying in such an environment described here more satisfying and rewarding than the conventional educational environment, while simultaneously being less stressful. Regardless, this system would encourage students to develop their own initiatives to propel themselves to set and complete their schoolwork goals.

Due to the lowered demand for lecturing space, schools, especially colleges and universities, could enjoy an excess capacity of space which they would be able to dedicate for other uses, rent, or sell, thus reducing the operating expenses of educational institutions. Most of the school’s facilities would be open for as much of the day as possible and seven days a week so that school would not interfere with students’ other, and possibly more urgent or important, activities.

Short, Single-Topic Educational Courses

Small, short, independent, single-topic educational courses should be designed to supplement or even partly substitute standard general education courses. These courses could be called mini-courses because they would take one aspect of a larger subject and study it in great detail. The student would come away from such a course knowing a whole lot more about the larger subject by studying a narrow facet in great detail. Students would identify and analyze how virtually every possible influence has interacted with and affected that facet of the topic being studied. Studying narrow, specific topics within larger subjects enable students to construct deep pilings of knowledge which can later be used to construct a solid framework on which to securely hang future knowledge. Allowing students to have a much greater role in picking and choosing what they want to study would make education more exciting, rewarding, fulfilling, and efficient.

Absolutely any piece of knowledge could possibly be made to be taught in a mini-course. Examples of what could be taught in mini-courses would be things like very narrow and limited periods of history, such as the Presidential Election of 1912, Watergate, Vietnam War: Tet Offensive, the Yalta Conference, Texas’ role in the Civil War, the Little Ice Age, etc.), or other things like history of company mergers and the pedigree of the current business world, sonic booms, meteors, the sun, sound waves, the blue sky, why tape is sticky, or absolutely anything else. Some mini-courses could explain in detail what each profession does and give the student a feel for work life in that profession. Still others could teach students about how to choose and write about their own topics, improve writing skills, another could teach good use of transitions, and smooth flowing writing, and one could teach the proper use of all kinds of punctuation. Classes that teach how to take notes from lectures, discussions, observations, readings, etc., would also be another good option for students. mini-courses could also deal with large scale but yet narrow topics such as principles of problem identification and solving and various ideological approaches to solving environmental, social, economic, political, personal, and other problems. Students should be required to choose a minimum number of these mini-courses throughout their educational career while achieving a minimum balance throughout the major subject areas.

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65. Combining School Subjects to Increase Educational Efficiency

In order to save time and increase the efficiency of learning, attempts should be made to include as many elements of as many subjects as practical into each exercise a student is given to perform. The clearest example of how this could be performed would be to combine English grammar and spelling lessons with history material. For example, the sentence “George Washington was the first President of the United States” could be used to teach the student both history and proper grammar and spelling. Math lessons could be combined with history and/or politics, too. There are nearly an infinite number of possibilities in which such teaching methods could be utilized to increase educational efficiencies, at least in part. Of course, combined-subject exercises should not be a litmus test for determining whether or not to include a particular exercise in a course, and there may be several instances where this would not be beneficial, but this method of teaching should be near the front of every education designer’s mind.

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66. Textbook Organization & Design

Answers

Textbooks, especially math and science, should have the answers to all the problems given in the book (not just the odd ones, etc.) located at the end of each chapter rather than at the end of the book.

Spelling Guides

Books, esp. educational textbooks, should have phonetic pronunciation guides for either all fairly complex or rare words and/or for all words that may be sometimes mispronounced by people or which are significantly more likely than average to be mispronounced. Preferably, these phonetic pronunciation guides should be located right next to the word either in the text, in the margin, or at least on the same page of where the word first appears. In addition, and at the very least they should be located at the end of the chapter or book, such as in a glossary of terms section.

Glossary of Terms

Every textbook should have a glossary of terms.

Detailed Explanations

All textbooks (especially math books) should explain and show, in detail, every single step of problem solving without skipping or combining steps and without assuming that the student would know to accomplish a step without being shown, regardless of how simple or seemingly insignificant the step appears to be.

Textbook Indexes

All textbooks, especially 10th grade and higher, should contain an exhaustive index.

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67. Instilling an Appreciation for Common Social Benefits and Social Stability

All people, but especially children and students in primary and secondary education, should perhaps take some courses or at least be constantly reminded of all the rights, opportunities, protections, government and social stability, transportation infrastructures, sanitary and utility infrastructures, and many other good things that they are able to enjoy due to their living in a relatively modern country and this country in particular. People/children should constantly be forced to think about and ponder about those things which either they enjoy or have available to them so that they are less likely to take such things for granted or diminish the value or significance of such benefits.

To really emphasize these ideas and drill them into students, schools should teach students several examples of other people around the world, or people during other time periods in history, who do or did not have access to the same benefits we do today. Some of these courses or teachings, especially those that compare our benefits with people currently living in other parts of the world, should be so powerful that it should cause a significantly large percentage of students to be crying during or after such presentations. A flood of specific examples should be showered on students about what other people in other parts of the world cannot do or enjoy and the reasons why. For example, children (especially girls) should be taught that many girls/women in other parts of the world aren’t allowed to even learn how to ride bicycles, they are not allowed to go to school, cannot vote, and that they are forced to cover their bodies from head to toe every time they go outside. People should be taught how if feels to live in a war zone or in a country where corruption runs rampant. Students should be taught that they didn’t choose where they would be born, and they could just as easily have been born in a poor country, in fact, the chances are such that it would have been more likely for them to have been born in a poor county. Students should be made to write papers, watch movies, hear speeches, perform plays and do other things that would deeply instill in them a deep appreciation and value for the benefits they enjoy in this country as well as forcing them to truly understand daily life in places that do not have such benefits.

Perhaps students, as well as virtually every other member of society, should be encouraged to deprive themselves, for at least one day each year, of some modern convenience, such as running water, electricity, natural gas, etc. Such periodic deprivations would highlight to everybody how integral many of these resources are to daily activities and how different their lives would be without them. Maybe schools could organize field trips designed to immerse students in such environments. Children should be required to experience, for one day (perhaps on Child Labor Day on June 12), an immersive experience of a full 12 hour work day common for children in gold or coal mines, brick factory, textile mill, etc.

A beneficial side-effect of these experiences may be to encourage people to better learn how to survive after a major disaster, such as an earthquake, without such utilities.

An appreciation for the major advances in technology in virtually every major scientific field, but especially the medical field, and those advances that provide our culture or society with either practical or technical advantages over others should be emphasized. The negative implications for people not enjoying such benefits should also be required study for students. Also, intensive study on how life was like for our ancestors before the development of certain technologies should be required.

An appreciation for the decreasing number of illnesses experienced by the average population should be instilled in students and the rest of society. People should be told statistics about the frequency of illnesses in the past, their higher fatality rates, and how modern advances have improved the situation.

Teaching people to have an appreciation for things which are so often taken for granted should not be limited to an academic environment. The public and private sectors should take many opportunities to educate people along these lines. Lessons of this sort should occur scattered throughout all types of media, including television, movies, books, music, newspapers and virtually every other place where it may be practical.

When people begin to lose an appreciation for a benefit they enjoy, they begin to lessen the value they place on that benefit. They also begin to lose perspective on its importance or the degree of difficulty with which it was attained. People then begin to tinker with it or its essential elements in a much more lighthearted and even cynical fashion. Such views and behavior could then lead to a dangerous corruption or even collapse of the benefit requiring a much larger struggle to reattain it than would have been required to just maintain it.

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68. Health & Cooking Classes

Health classes should be taught to students in all age groups throughout primary school and should be considered one of the regular classes just like math, English, or history. These classes should include teaching primary students personal hygiene, keeping a sanitary living environment, safe food handling, emergency care procedures, etc.

Personal hygiene and maintenance of body health would include proper hand washing without wasting water, soap, or paper towels (and how to keep hands clean) and rear wiping without wasting toilet paper, bathing, brushing teeth, flossing, and other personal body care. The importance of proper exercise, proper diets and safe food handling practices, rest, and risk avoidance should also be taught. Students should know everything about maintaining sanitary living conditions which would include keeping clean bathrooms, kitchens, etc., and maintaining sanitary food storage conditions.

Emergency care should be the next highest priority topic taught to primary school students. Included in this category would be things like emergency first aid treatments for common injuries and illnesses and their prevention.

Some of the highest priority lessons should teach students how to remain safe during emergencies, especially with respect to how to act and remain calm during civil emergencies, how to stay out of trouble in such situation, and how to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

Cooking classes should also be incorporated so that all students would know the basics of food preparation relating to all of the common foods. All students should probably know how to cook at least 10 dishes before they graduate from high school.

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69. Writing Classes

To help students develop their writing skills with more enthusiasm, they should be required to write more papers on topics almost entirely of their own choosing. The teacher would help them develop their idea and express their opinions more accurately and more convincingly, better organize the material/ideas, construct good transitions between ideas, make the writing flow smoothly, etc.

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70. Foreign Language Classes

No student in secondary school (especially past the age of 15) should be required to take a foreign language course, unless, naturally, such courses are an integral part of the students educational or career goals. Requiring people past their teen years to learn a foreign language is just not an efficient use of time. The best time for learning a foreign language is when one is a child, the younger the better–even in kindergarten or before. Naturally, parents would be required to choose the language they would like their children to learn. If a mature child expresses a strong, reasoned desire to learn a different language, then that student could switch languages.

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71. Short-Term Intensive Student Workloads

To help students develop more efficient studying and learning skills all primary and secondary schools should require all students go through a period of intensive study that lasts around two weeks for high school grades, one week for middle school grades, and perhaps a couple of days for elementary school children. One way to encourage students to do this, at least for the higher grades, would be to assign a task (like a research project) or a series of different tasks to all the students at one time and either the first one to complete them or the first one to get the highest scores while taking the least amount of time would be the winner of some prize.

Students should be required to go through at least one, but preferable two, such study periods per year. Such exercises will help teach students how to study faster as well as give them a sense of appreciation for how much free time they usually enjoy and how little free time people who work all day (especially to support families) have to enjoy. The purpose of these exercises is to take students out of their normal routine and sort of shock them into a different, faster paced, stress-filled schedule that will give them new insights on life. Such exercises would help students appreciate their ‘normal’ life more, while simultaneously showing them how much work they are capable of doing in short periods of time.

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72. Mental Conditioning Courses

It should be mandatory that speed-reading, comprehension and memory enhancing courses be incorporated into student curriculums throughout primary school. These courses should be administered to students most strongly at their optimum ages.

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73. Properly Communicating Criticism, Discontent, Anger

People in general, but children in particular, should be taught how to communicate criticism, discontent, anger, and other such feelings using polite, well-mannered ways and with a constructive spirit and when appropriate. Conversely, people should be taught to not be so easily offended when others criticize them or express some displeasure with what they do or say. People should even encourage others to convey constructive criticisms of themselves.

People should be taught to give others the benefit of the doubt. In other words, people should tend to assume that the offending party is going through a bad set of circumstances, the stress of which may have given rise to the offending behavior. People should be taught to not be offended by the vague, unclear, or unspecified actions of other people, and that they should not retaliate in any way to suspect or questionable behaviors made towards them by other people unless they are certain of valid reasons for such offensive behavior. Many times people with poor communication skills or even those with good communication skills but having a bad day, often don’t get their points across in the best possible way and may choose words that may be taken as an offense to listeners. People should be taught to assume that people who seem to be offensive at times, or all the time, usually have hidden or underlying frustrations, problems in their personal lives, medical problems or whatever else may be the case. Especially during times of crises, emergencies or other high-stress events, people should exhibit much more tolerance towards these types of behaviors.

People should be taught to ask for and seek true forgiveness much more readily from those whom they have wronged.

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74. Being Part of the Solution

Students in primary school, but all people in general, should be taught that it is right to make a small effort to fix easily solvable problems wherever they encounter them. In effect, all people should be taught and encouraged to be part of the solution to problems instead of merely passive observers or worse, part of the problem.

For example, if someone is walking on a sidewalk or crossing a street and notices a plastic bag, newspaper, or other piece of litter right in front of their path and also notices that there is a trash can up ahead along their planned route, that person should make the effort to pick up the bag and place it in the trash can.

People should also be taught to put clearly misplaced item on a store’s shelves in their proper place, if it is not too far out of the way for them, and to make every effort necessary to make sure that any items which they themselves removed from the shelves are put back in their proper places. Anything above a minor effort to correct someone else’s mistake would not be required, but would be cheered and appreciated.

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75. Arguing In Favor of An Opposing View

Students, especially college students, should be required to periodically write a convincing paper or give a speech advocating a point of view they really do not believe in. These types of exercises would give students a deeper understanding and respect for people holding the opposing view. It would make students more aware of the fact that sincere people who genuinely seek the truth or solutions to problems can hold different views. Students should also be taught how to disagree with others in a humble and truly respectful manner.

In addition, these kinds of activities would help students understand how different views could be arrived at and defended (at least to some degree) from the same set of facts. Students should learn how to construct arguments flowing logically from undisputed facts as well as how to defend the choosing of those facts used in support of their conclusions.

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76. Religion Taught In Schools

Religious education should be taught throughout primary and secondary school from the very earliest grades continuously through to graduation. Christianity should be the default religion, but parents should be allowed to choose any other religion they would like their children to study. At age 14, children should be allowed to choose which additional religion(s) to study, but they should still study the religion their parents chose for them. Regardless of which religion is studied, fundamental religious teachings should include a thorough study on the religion’s facts including logical coherence as well as its historical and scientific accuracy. It should be taught that religions are not merely a form of entertainment, but that all aspects of every religion should be tested for accuracy and truth, especially in the scientific sense. Simultaneously, students should be taught that neither religions or religious doctrines or statements cannot be correct for one group of people while simultaneously incorrect for another. Naturally, variations in style, form, custom, or any other aspect of how a religion is practiced can almost always be accepted as unobjectionable variety and diversity within the religion. If any provable contradictions are found within a religion, that religion should either be discarded outright (if it is a fundamental error within the religion) or at the very least the scientifically offending portions of the religion should be discarded or modified.

Parents should be encouraged to have their children study Christianity. Children who reach age 14 should be allowed to choose for themselves which additional religions (if any) to study, but Christianity should be encouraged. Christianity is the only religion that is logically coherent as well as historically and scientifically accurate.

To provide the most immediate secular benefit, emphasis should be given on religious teachings, whether they are from Christianity or from any other religion (as much as is possible within that religion), that relate to the existence of one loving and personal God, the reality of an afterlife, the existence of both Heaven and Hell, and the reality of each individual’s appointment with God to give an account of every evil word and deed spoken and committed throughout an individual’s lifetime.

One essential purpose of such teachings throughout primary school is to instill within each student an effective internal mechanism which would allow them to more effectively resist the temptation to do mischief, even when they think no one else is watching or that they will never be caught. Many religions from around the world can accomplish at least most of these goals; however, Christianity may be the most effective and comprehensive.

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77. Anti-Discrimination Classes

Students of all ages throughout primary and secondary school should be required to regularly take several short but comprehensive classes, designed to shatter the views/ideas that women or members of a minority group are inherently inferior. Each of these classes would focus on a single separate race while others could focus on women.

However, these courses should not be biased towards these groups, either. An accurate assessment of each group’s abilities or advantages/disadvantages based on their geographical location, culture, technological advancement, education level, social development level, historical treatment by foreigners, fate, etc., should be conveyed to the student in a way that will help them understand why or why not that group or individuals within it may tend to behave or think in certain ways. The emphasis should be that normal inherited characteristics cannot be used to think that a person or groups of people are inherently less capable in any way though inherited traditions can be detrimental to a society or individual.. Nevertheless, such courses should also discuss the physical, genetic and psychological differences between the sexes and how these may act to create differing tendencies.

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78. News Reading and Analysis

As part of regular secondary school assignments, children should be required to read newspaper articles about news events on all scales from the local to the international at age appropriate levels. They should also be taught to analyze and critique the reporting of both historical and current news stories by reading between the lines and by searching for errors or gaps in reporting and to identify slanted or biased news coverage.

They should be taught the corrective skills of making an incomplete or biased article balanced by rewriting it and removing or adding bits of information in order to balance or negate any bias and make it fair. Apart from students learning about several different subjects through these readings, like the workings of government, history, modern scientific discoveries, crime and punishment, natural disasters, and more, they would also learn some writing skills like how to construct interesting sentences and stories and how to write more precisely while always keeping an eye towards anticipating counterarguments and closing loopholes in their own writings. Importantly, students should be taught multitudes of examples of stories printed or broadcast in the media in which the reporter left out critical or important information resulting in a story that was wrong or misleading. Students should also learn how to criticize an author’s use of facts and evaluate such facts for their relevance, accuracy, and fairness to the implied or stated conclusion.

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79. Hypocrisy Classes

Schools should offer classes in hypocrisy. Such courses should be designed to teach students how to identify hypocrisy on any scale, whether on an individual, personal scale, on an organizational scale, or on an international/global scale. Politicians and government policies would be very rich subjects to study regarding this topic. For example, an analysis could be made of the hypocrisy between Mexican immigration policies and what the Mexican government is demanding US immigration policy to be. Such courses in hypocrisy would go a long way towards educating the public, opening their eyes, and allowing them to better read between the lines of any information they may come across.

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80. Public Speaking Classes

There should be classes at various levels of the educational system that force people to overcome their fear of speaking in front of large groups of people by forcing them to talk to another student or instructor while in front of the group. The instructor may guide the discussion and use methods to wean students from their fear and allowing them to think and reason clearly, without the crippling fear, associated with being in front of a large group. Multiple discussions could take place at different tables in prominent locations in front of a large group of people. These discussions could even take place in a setting like a restaurant where many people may not even be paying attention to the conversation. The important thing is that the student sees a large group of people and gets the feeling as if many of those people are paying attention. The professor could diffuse the student’s fear by using all kinds of methods like explaining that even as they talk, some people are sleeping, daydreaming, reading something or just not paying attention, or talking to someone else. Others perhaps couldn’t care less about the discussion. These methods may relieve a great deal of tension from the students and aid in their having clearer thoughts and better reasoning abilities while in front of people.

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81. Risk Analysis Classes

All students in secondary education, though perhaps emphasized in the latter years of secondary schooling, should be required to understand all basic concepts relating to risk. They would include risk assessment, analysis, comparison, aversion, substitution, mitigation, as well as cost/benefit analysis, and any other aspects regarding risk that would provide students with an accurate basic understanding of risks in this world.

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82. Interdisciplinary Value Awareness Education

All secondary, but especially tertiary educational institutions should teach their students the values of being open-minded and seeking input from many different people, especially experts in the fields relating to the students’ endeavor or undertaking. To emphasize this point, students should be taught numerous examples (real and even hypothetical) of how people (especially politicians) without sufficient knowledge of a particular area really messed things up by relying on their own judgments which may have been based on false assumptions or prideful overconfidence in their own knowledge or abilities. Students should also be taught to understand how changing different, though seemingly small, variables can dramatically affect the final outcome of events.

Students should be taught and given analogies to help them understand that everything in the world is interconnected with everything else and that some people may have a more accurate or clearer perspective regarding an issue because such people may be either more specialized in that area or have different bits of knowledge that may be critical in making better decisions.

Law enforcement personnel should especially be required to undergo this training to help break down the barriers and rivalries that often exist between law enforcement agencies.

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83. Children Taught To Describe Visual Scenes In Detail

Throughout primary and secondary education, students could develop descriptive writing skills by being given assignments to look at a picture or scene and describe it in great detail so that another person listening to or reading the description would be able to accurately recreate the picture or scene being described. More details could be required according to grade level and perhaps competitions could be held to see who could describe the most details in the fewest number of words and sentences.

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84. Thankfulness Education

People should be taught to show gratitude much more readily in several different ways. As part of their educational requirements, children should be encouraged to write thank you notes or letters of appreciation to various people who contribute to the well-being of society (soldiers, police, firefighters, and even people like factory workers, friends and family, etc.).

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85. Simple Home Maintenance Classes

Part of the regular educational curriculum throughout primary and secondary schools (though emphasized during the later grades) should be on how to embark on simple household maintenance projects or diagnose and fix common problems around the house or common problems around the child’s world. There should be courses that would teach all students how to do basic fix-it projects such as how to paint, change rubber washers in faucet valves, unclog pipes, change electrical switches, etc. Courses should also be offered on how to do more intensive repairs or projects, like replacing a broken tile, installing a new fixture, etc. Each course would deal only with one narrow subject, unclogging a drainpipe, for example. Students would be allowed to choose which of these courses they want to take with the only requirement being that a minimum number of courses or hours must be taken either each year or in order to graduate, and that they know how to solve or complete the most basic, common, and easiest of household problems or maintenance projects. There should also be mini-courses that teach how to do things like mix and pour concrete, build simple wooden structures like chairs or tables, or how to use power tools.

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86. Children Should Work With Their Hands

Throughout primary and secondary education, students should be required to work with their hands and make things using materials other than the conventional paper and cardboard crafts. They should be required to use all kinds of other material, especially wood, stone, glass and metal. Students could be allowed a fair degree of flexibility in terms of what materials and projects they choose to do according to their own likes and skill levels. Though age-appropriate precautions should be taken, all students should be required to get a functional understanding of how to work with and take care of all such materials by the time they finish their secondary education. The students could get their raw materials through donations (especially scrap materials) from area businesses or residents or through the gathering of scrap from recycling or waste management companies. Though students could construct any items they wish as long as they meet the assigned criteria, some examples may include bird or bat houses, pet houses, toys, models, etc. The school could even have a little school store open to the public on campus to sell some of the items made for school fund raising efforts.

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87. Teenagers Taught Food Prices

Teenagers should be taught about food/grocery prices so that they would have a sense of what the prices are for common foods so that they would better be able to identify relatively high and low prices so that they could make wiser purchases.

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88. Children Should Learn to Sew

A requirement for graduation from high school should be for children to know how to do basic sewing work using needle and thread by hand as well as using a simple sewing machine.  These would instill in people basic and valuable lifelong skills that would be helpful by enabling them to repair their own clothes, make simple adjustments or even add or create entirely new clothing items.

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89. Children Keeping Their Hands to Themselves

All children (and even adults) should be taught to keep their hands more to themselves whether it be at a store, or at people’s homes, and to refrain from touching or handling things that belong to others. They should be taught to ask permission for most things that they do and to only touch things that are on display, such as at a store, and only if they have a valid reason. Children should especially be taught to keep their hands off of food that is not theirs or of which they are not absolutely sure that they will eat.

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90. Martial Arts Courses

All students, especially in primary school, should be required to learn elements of personal/physical self-defense with an emphasis on avoiding potentially dangerous situations. They should learn how to confront an attacker, call for help, use weapons, etc. Martial arts or other methods of combat or self-defense should be taught in conjunction with humility training and teaching students to suppress their desire to show off there skills or use them in inappropriate or unprincipled ways. Every student should be required to learn the basics. Further training would be voluntary, but recommended.

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91. Crime Classes: Observation & Penalties

Observation

All students in primary school should be taught periodically how to react, what to do, and what to remember if they witness a crime or are the victim of a crime. They should also be taught to whom they should report the crime.

Penalties

All students should also be taught what the penalties are for a whole variety of crimes and how to estimate what the penalties would be for various fictitious crimes. This may help dissuade at least some people from both current and future criminal behaviors.

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92. Basic Understanding of the Sciences

Upon graduating from high school, every student should be taught a basic understanding of the topics of virtually every major branch of every scientific field of study.

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93. Exercises for Government Familiarity

Students should be taught how to interact with the government for several different, but common reasons. This should include what the basic procedures are, who/what office to call, what forms to fill out, etc. For example, everyone should be taught the general procedures for protecting or patenting an idea and what the pitfalls are and how not to be scammed. Students should also be taught how to find and contact their government representatives, file a Freedom of Information request, request a grant, file taxes, get a passport, and generally do some of the more basic things that engaged citizens often need to do.

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94. Understanding Why Older Generation Often Doesn’t Like Younger Generation

Children should be taught what adults do not like about the behaviors of young people, like talking or laughing loud, especially in confined spaces (indoors, in buses or other vehicles), littering, listening to head phone that are too loud even for the other passengers, etc.

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95. Elderly Care and Visitation

Before graduating from secondary school, students should know the basics of how to relate to and provide basic daily care for elderly people and others who may not be able to take care of themselves.

Primary school students of all ages, but especially those older than 10 years of age, should be taken (or in some way required) by their schools to regularly visit and communicate with the elderly people of the community, especially those who are in rest homes. This would strengthen the bonds between the young and old, cause the young to have a greater respect for older people and have many other positive effects such as teaching students about how it is like to get old, and why they should take care of their bodies.

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96. Remembering the Past Classes

Part of regular school curriculums, especially for younger students, should be to have students do things (speeches, papers, class discussions, or anything else) designed to prevent students from forgetting their childhood and early years of life in general as well as specific events and distinct phases of their lives, like learning to read or write, riding a bicycle, etc. A major emphasis of this curriculum should be to prevent students from forgetting, and forcing them to recall, events in their relationships with their parents, esp. during early childhood (10 years and younger). The whole purpose is to keep memories fresh in their minds so that they would be able to refer to them and use them when they become adults/parents. Events that should be emphasized should be instances of punishment and other negative emotional actions as well as instances of positive emotional interactions. For example, screaming at or scolding the kid when the kid honestly tried to do their best or at least didn’t indent to do wrong or praise for doing something right or accomplishing a goal. Any significant situation can be targeted for deeper memory including cases when the parent/adult did not hold the child’s hand when the kid was afraid of a dark room, spiders, or other situations. All of this should be geared towards developing adults who are able to remember how it was when they were a kid so that they would be better able to relate with current children.

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97. Estimation Classes

Throughout primary school, students ought to be given periodic exercises that strengthen their estimation skills in all units of measure, such as volume, distance, weight, energy, noise intensity, food serving sizes, food calorie, sugar, and fat content, etc. Estimating nonphysical measurements like financial costs or time should also be required of students.

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98. Parenting Education

Children of puberty and post-puberty age should be shown the risks and rewards and future emotional and financial costs and benefits associated with having children, especially children born with undesirable genetic diseases or traits. They should be shown videos on the subject.

The aim is to try to sway children/people who are not financially or emotionally ready to have children from doing so. More specifically, the goal is to discourage people possessing a higher probability of birthing a genetically defective child from conceiving in the first place or to at least have thought about the possibility in advance so that they are more ready to make the decision to abort the child soon after the diagnosis in the womb or before stronger emotional bonds are formed between the various parties. The benefits of not having children with such problems should be emphasized.

Students should be immersed in some parenting roles so that they would better understand how it feels and better comprehend the responsibilities involved. Students should be placed on schedules mimicking the degree to which crying, hungry, ill, or restless babies would interfere with other activities. They should be required to participate in budgeting exercises to instill in them the real costs associated with caring for a baby.

Students should be required to watch several videos on how to control and discipline children. They should also be shown videos about poorly raised and mannered children who are ‘out of control’, stubborn, selfish, spoiled, etc., and how other people perceive and frown upon such children and their parents and what such people say to each other about them when they are not around. Students should be taught to use parenting methods that would help avoid such developments in their potential future children.

All people who work with or care for children should be required to take these classes, as well.

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99. Swim Classes

All students should be required to prove, at some point prior to graduating from secondary school, their ability to swim a distance of 50 feet in order to qualify for graduation.

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100. Bicycling & Driving Classes

Bicycling classes (learning to ride bicycles) should be recommended (not mandatory) courses offered during primary, and even secondary, school. They need not be offered at every educational facility but both public and private schools, as part of their regular tuition, should as least cover a portion of the cost of providing such classes, either at school or at an off-campus location. Nevertheless, the ability to successfully ride a bicycle should be a requirement for graduation from secondary school.

Driving classes should also be a graduation required for students. Driving is such an integral part of adult life, that it is imperative that it be taught well to all people.

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101. Spectrum (Visible) Classes

Graduates from secondary school should have a firm understanding of how the visible portion of the spectrum interacts with objects to create colors. Furthermore, students should have an awareness of the major uses of all portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

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102. Computer Programming/Coding Classes

All students should know the basics of computer programming language coding. The younger the better, and Scratch.com seems to be a good example of such a site.  Children should be involved more with the actual creation of content and forms rather than merely interacting with computing devices.

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103. Teaching Characteristics Associated With Places

Primary and secondary school students should frequently be tested with questions relating to where places are located (countries, landmarks, planets, etc.) and be able to list some of the characteristics of each place. For example, students could be given the name of a country and asked to locate it on a globe, and vice versa. Also, random pictures of people or landscapes should be shown and students asked to identify their locations. Locations on a world map may be pointed to with students asked to give brief histories (geologic, climate, cultural, political, etc.) of that part of the world. Many other things may be taught in similar ways.

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104. Consumer Research Database

One large, centralized, internet-based, freely accessible, public database should serve as a centralized repository for virtually all relevant information concerning any business, product, service, pricing, or service facility that virtually any consumer or prospective consumer may find necessary or informative. Having such information organized in one place would enable people to more easily research products to better meet their needs or wants. As a result, far less time, energy, and money would be wasted on junk or things that don’t quite fulfill.

Business Information

Every business and company, including educational businesses, should have a brief description of itself and the kinds of products or services it sells and a short history summarizing its existence. People should be able to look up information on a company by either entering its name, telephone number, or address. Searchers should be able to look up information like the business’s license status, records of any complaints and their subsequent resolution, and any other relevant information that would help determine a business’s quality and credibility. Accreditation information, if applicable, should also be stated.

Product Information

Virtually all products and services valued at over $20 offered on the planet (or at least within the country) by every company and business should be listed on its own webpage within this database. Each product or service should be given a complete, detailed description complete with large, detailed pictures showing the product up close and from all angles. The quality of the images and the type of information placed on a product’s webpage should be roughly equivalent as to what would be gathered by a person who visits a store and personally handles and inspects the product. Each product’s webpage would also have a quick reference section summarizing the categories of complaints and praises filed under it. The companies themselves ought to supply continuous follow up information on their products, such as the number of customer repair calls and other claims made (and for what specific aspect of the product such calls were made), the number of returns, the total number of products sold, and any other information that would be helpful to consumers.

Product Discontinuation Notices

Product discontinuation notices should also be posted in this database as soon as the manufacturer makes their decision. Large companies/businesses planning to discontinue any of their products should be encouraged to inform all of their distributors and regular customers with plenty of time (minimum of one month, three months suggested) so that they would be able to place a reasonably sized order for that product before it becomes discontinued.

Customer Product Reviews

Customers who can provide proof of having actually purchased a product or service should be allowed to fill out a short survey and write a review and praise and/or criticize the product or service in whatever detail and to whatever lengths they desire. In the short survey, customers would state how long they have owned or have been using the product or service (since this is always a very important factor) and they would then be allowed to rate the product or service. A list of each of a product’s features could be listed and under each feature, the customer or reviewer could write what the pros and cons are about that specific feature. In the optional review section, customers can recommend suggestions for improving a product or service or offer any other useful information.

Customer Service Reviews

It is relatively easy to understand how product information and ratings could be gathered and made available over the Internet, but information about services such as lawyers, financial planners, counselors, weight loss programs, invention companies, car repair shops, investment companies, health care providers (including doctors as well as different types of medical treatment services), etc., could also be gathered in a similar manner. By having previous consumers of that service write reviews, potential consumers could find out both the good and the bad about these service providers as well as more about what these people do (any specializations, etc.), their history in the profession, discipline or punishments by the profession, customer satisfaction rates, and any other relevant information.

Such a website would be invaluable to people researching whether or not to purchase certain products or services. This website would be the only place consumers would need to go to research a purchase of any product or service. Consumers would merely need to search for and select the proper products or services in which they are interested and all the complaints as well as praises would show up right there. Manufactures and service providers would also benefit by finding out in more detail how to better a product or service and what it is that consumers desire.

Pricing Information

All service providers should be required to state their prices in this database for each of the services they offer. This includes all healthcare providers (dentists, ophthalmologists, etc.) and other service providers whose actual prices may not be readily disclosed or available to consumers because of pricing complications due to insurance coverage or other forms of payment assistance, discounting, etc.

These prices should be made available in at least two forms. First, the full retail, unsubsidized, pre-insurance prices should be stated so that a person without insurance would know exactly how much a service would cost if chosen. Second, consumers should be allowed to enter their insurance information into this database and all the prices for each of the services should then automatically be broken down and listed in detail (how much would be paid by the insurance, how much by the individual [such as co-payments, etc.], etc.)

This website should also contain information about the prices of virtually every single kind of used item of various different ages and conditions. For example, if someone wants to find out how much something that they own costs, whether it is an old newspaper, clock radio, baseball cards, toys, piles of dirt from the backyard, scrap wood, or anything else, they should be able to find some indication of how much its worth (even if its just recycling value) and who, if anyone, is willing to purchase it. Anybody wanting to obtain some toys or a pile of dirt should also be able to enter search terms for those items and find people who want to give or sell such items. All these searches should also be geographically-based. This means that people could search only for buyers and sellers either within a certain radius of where they are located or within specified political jurisdictions, like cities or counties. A well developed and mature product and service information and pricing website would naturally evolve into a popular, centralized point of reference for everyone’s product and service information and pricing needs.

Information About Educational Facilities

All educational facilities should be required to place at least basic information about who they are (including history, etc.), what programs and courses they offer, accreditation credentials, and any other essential information that consumers (including parents) would find necessary to make informed decisions about attending, or sending their kids to attend, such educational facilities. The facility’s plans for the future, lists of the names of important personnel (like administrators) with brief biographies, student rankings on tests or other measures (if applicable), important or significant statistics and other information that may commonly be requested by parents, students, or other interested individuals should also be stated in this database.

Standardized Formatting of This Information

The formatting of all the information in this database should be standardized as much as possible to make it easier for consumers to compare between competing products or services. Every product should have a listing and description of virtually each one of its feature. In addition, all products within the same category should be listed using the same standards and especially using the same formats. Having every products webpage formatted the same would make comparing different products (within the same category) far, far, easier. To make such a service far more useful, people should be able click on each one of a product’s features and read both more details about that feature from the manufacturer as well as reviews and comments about that specific feature by professional product review agencies or consumers who have provided proof that they have purchased the product or service. People who haven’t purchased the product should not be able to post a comment or review. Lastly people who post a comment or review must state when they have purchased the product, how often they use it, and any other relevant information that would be useful to others considering a purchase.

Product Registration & Recall Database

This database should also function as a centralized product registration and recall information hub. All products that are required or recommended to be registered with the manufacture for whatever reason, or recalled, should allow consumers to do so (or gain more information about these procedures) from links on that product’s webpage on this database. As a prerequisite for the re-registration of products (such as vehicles, etc.), this database would provide information concerning any outstanding recalls or other important requirement that need to be taken care of before registration and would require that consumers indicate that they have been officially notified of these things.

Manufacturers should be required to insert a “Notice to Register” card or flyer into the box or packaging of every relevant product notifying the consumer of the requirement to register the product with the manufacturer or government. Such registration notices would help increase product registration rates, thus helping create more complete ownership records, so that companies and governments can more effectively contact and warn consumers about defects in their products, explain the procedures for getting them repaired, and explain possible partial or full liability shifts to the consumer that would occur if no action is taken by the consumer to rectify the announced defects in the product. These “Notice to Register” cards should include a telephone number, address, and, of course, this database’s website for the purchaser to contact to get information about potential recalls or defect warnings concerning the purchased product. However, if the purchaser properly filled out the registration information but cannot be contacted for whatever reason, the responsibility to find and inform consumers would lie with the manufactures of problem products. Manufactures should have the freedom to use various means to try to track down customers who may have moved or cannot be contacted for other reasons. These would include a search of “change of address” forms filed with the Post Office, “change of telephone number” databases of the phone companies, or other such means. Only these reasonable efforts would be required and if contact still cannot be made, companies would not be held liable.

Accreditation

Accreditation agencies should publish complete lists of each entity which they have accredited.

Product/Service Price History

It would be nice to also have a historical pricing database for each product or service or each type of product or service detailing how the high, low, and average prices for such products or services have changed over time since the date the product or service was first sold. For example, if a consumer wanted to know the price history for a 15 inch, CRT color television, they would be able to see a chart going back to when 15 inch, CRT color TVs were first produced. For each year, from its introduction all the way to the present (or the most recent year in which such products were sold, if they are currently discontinued), this database would state the high, low and average prices (averaged among all manufacturers) at which a 15 inch, CRT TV has sold. If the consumer was interested in only the prices relating to specific manufacturer, the consumer would be able to narrow the search to only include such information for a Sony brand 15 inch, CRT color TV. Consumers should also be able to view historical price data for only one specific model, as well.

Funding

This consumer research database could be funded through government general fund revenues since it has such a broad, comprehensive purpose.

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105. Government Sponsored Classes on Current World Events

The government should educate the public by neutrally sponsoring regular debates on topics relating to current national and international issues. These public meetings could be either free or low-cost and could be held at existing public school facilities which would also provide the additional advantage of making the community feel closer and more connected to each other.

The government would have a representative whose job it would be, not so much to sell the government’s viewpoint, but to educate the public about the facts of the issue. The representative’s job would be to make sure that all sides discuss an issue with civility, back up their ideas with facts, and correct any errors when they occur. Any member of the public could sign up in advance to make speeches or could ask questions of those who have spoken or debated.

The schedule of topics for such meetings could be decided by a committee compiling and reviewing recommendations from the public. The scheduled public speakers would also be selected by this committee based primarily on their degree of civil discourse shown in the past or promised.

These debates could also be aired live or prerecorded on the internet and/or on local radio stations, including micro radio stations, so that the entire community would have easy access to this educational information.

An additional benefit to this kind of setup is that a much larger number of individuals would have an opportunity to practice their public speaking skills and study issues of relevance, as well.

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106. Neighborhood Museums

Every neighborhood should have a little mini-museum that would serve to tell the history of the neighborhood with pictures, stories, timelines, etc. These museums would also display some significant, important, odd or unusual objects found in the neighborhood or made by people in the neighborhood. Maybe these museums could also show pictures and have stories about significant/important people who have lived or are living in the neighborhood. Recent events in the neighborhood may also be reported on. It doesn’t need to be a formal museum with regular hours, it could be just an open display wall. But it might be better to have greater security, especially in areas with a higher probability of vandalism/damage. Perhaps such museums could be located within the boundaries of a local school to provide more content oversight and security. This way school children could grow up with a more complete understanding of their local area’s history.

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107. Museums Display Regulations

Museums should be allowed to house virtually anything they want, especially items with any significant public interest. For example, the space shuttles Columbia and Challenger debris should be allowed for display without question. Victims or family members of the victims directly involved in tragedies should not have veto power over any display question. The only exceptions would be body parts and perhaps blood-stained clothing/items.

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108. Exhibition of the Scale of Space

Governments should educate the public about the scale of space and the vast distances involved between objects in space. They can easily and entertainingly do this by placing scale planets, stars and/or other scaled objects along roads or freeways and other parts of the city or landscape. For example, it would be nice if Los Angeles put a 12 inch model of the earth somewhere up on a tower or pedestal somewhere near the interchange of the 405 and 10 freeways and placed another pedestal or tower with a model of Jupiter somewhere in downtown L.A. Or maybe the Sun could be in downtown and all the planets scattered, at scale distances, around the city. If the objects are scaled to cover huge areas, we can put models throughout the state or country. These can be used as landmarks as well. For example, every freeway that radiates out from downtown (where the model of the Sun would be) could have planets located over them at scale distances away from the downtown sun. Not only would the physical distances between the planets be to scale, but so would the physical sizes. Local elementary schools could also have scaled versions of the solar system. This would truly instill in them an accurate perspective on distance scales in space.

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