ISSUES IN EDUCATION, p. 6
The Ideal School
The ideal school doesn't need to be fancy, but it should be clean and painted, the floors polished, the windows sparkling, The adults should consider it a temple of learning, and communicate to students, teachers, parents and community members that what goes on there is important and worthy of their best efforts. The principal would teach part-time and spend a lot of time in other classrooms, observing, and giving teachers clear, actionable feedback on how to improve their techniques. New teachers would join a teaching team until they had seen enough and learned enough to be independent, like interns in a hospital. Weak teachers would be encouraged to change careers.
Teachers would write the school's curriculum with the goal of preparing all students for success after high school, in college or careers or public service. They would assign their students only work worth doing -- from reading meaningful literature, teaching problem-solving in mathematics, using original sources and documents in history and civics, and learning science in the laboratory. The curriculum would include music, art, dance. Athletics would be important and considered an extension of the classroom. Students from well-off families would study side-by-side with those from more modest circumstances so we might get to understand one another. After the formal school day, everyone would be involved in some co-curricular activity that aligned with their interests.
The ideal school would be a place where the adults in the building would recognize that school is about the students, not about them, and enthusiastically embrace their responsibility to do whatever it takes to help the students succeed. The ideal school would be a place where students would want to show up every day, where great teachers would stand in line to apply for every job opening, where parents were involved and confident their students were being well-served, and where taxpayers thought they were getting their money's worth.
(loosely suggested by an article by John King in The Atlantic)
The future belongs to those who prepare for it today