Why do we settle for broken schools when we see so many brainy teens brimming with quality character come to class? While Chancellor Michelle Rhee attempts to rejuvenate Washington DC’s poor performing schools, with higher expectations and tactics to rise to them, teens drop out in growing numbers.
“Our long term goal is to make DC public schools the highest-performing urban school district in the country and to close the achievement gaps that exist between white students and poor minority students in the city,” Rhee said. Do you see rejuvenation happening for many teens? Or do you see teens lost in tired schools, created for another era, and retained by people who’ve lost their vision for all that learning could be?
After firing 200 unqualified faculty and rewarding others, Rhee added: “Tenure has no educational value for kids.” Do you agree?
Some people support renewal initiatives in US school districts in order to regain our place in the world stage of ideas. Others, like Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers, criticize leaders like Rhee for “creating a fear situation among teachers,” and for “breeding anxiety” by threatening to tamper with teachers’ tenure. I see a possible window to retrofit broken schools with vibrant learning skills for on-going growth. Teens deserve more! Let’s offer them hope based more on their extravagant brains than on broken schools and teacher tenure. You?
If we didn’t have new research to prove that teens’ and adults’ plasticity can develop and expand multiple intelligences in secondary schools, then under-performing schools may seem less tragic. Sadly, in-fighting within so many of this nation’s high schools currently robs any vision of greatness. Imagine how schools could stoke teens’ learning if they engaged students’ full range of intelligences.
Smart skill 9 – Question Broken Systems with Renewal in Mind
My own city struggles with the same problems we see in DC schools. Morale plummets along with students’ achievement in Rochester, NY, while teens’ chances for success dwindle in too many secondary schools. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are brain facts that could build great schools, if we place students first and pull together:
1. Autism is teachable and J-Mac, a Greece Athena secondary student with autism wrote a best selling book to show how.
2. Multiple intelligences as seen in Einstein, Mozart, Bill Gates, Golda Mair and Oprah, tend to lie idle in many bored teens.
3. High performance settings lead to mind-bending results that teens often crave, but rarely receive in classes they attend.
4. Curiosity-building is an effective way to move from problems into solutions and genuine applications with more students at school.
5. Good tone skills among teachers and students help people to grow together respectfully across differences. Tone skills are learned, and rarely appear accidentally.
6. Opposing viewpoints contribute to deeper perspectives when engaged with supports from facts on both sides of topics.
7. Sleep problems are directly related to poor performance levels and improved sleep can increase teens’ learning success.
8. Stress that comes from poor learning situations, can literally shrink a teen’s brain, and shut down further learning.
9. Two-footed questions help students to problem solve, make better decisions, and to create quality products, by engaging at least eight intelligences as unique learning tools for teens.
10. Lectures work against the human brain, yet teens retain about 90% when they teach others at the same time as they learn themselves. Compare that to less than 5% retained through lectures, and you’ll see the problems that plague traditional secondary schools.
Why do we settle for in-fighting, and foster outmoded myths that hold teens back, when research offers so many cutting edge brain facts that could land this nation’s secondary schools onto center stage, with a rejuvenated competitive edge. We owe it to teens to work more with their amazing brains, and less within broken systems that hold them back. What do you suggest as the best starting place for change to help teens you know?
Smart skill 1 = Question to Refuel Finances Past Media Fears
Smart skill 2 = Question to Leap Over Life’s Ruts
Smart skill 3 = Question with the Brain in Mind and Move
Smart skill 4 = Question Research to Create Cutting Edge Tools
Smart skill 5 = Question Myths and Reboot Brainpower
Smart skill 6 = Question Ahead for Grandparent or Family Roles
Smart skill 7 = Question to Know How You are Smart
Smart skill 8 = Question with Two Feet to Spark Curiosity
Smart skill 9 = Question Broken Systems with Solutions in Mind
Smart skill10 = Question Brainpower Through Growth Surveys