Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues

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K-12 Education in the US

This topic was discussed August 19, 2013

Following up on our discussion of August 5, this session will focus in on primary and secondary education.

  • Finland model?  There seemed to be lots of support for elements of the education model in Finland:
    • Higher educational, certification and training standards for teachers
    • Much higher teacher-to-administrative personnel ratio
    • Robust performance reviews from peers [and other sources?] determining pay
    • Higher “societal status” accorded to teachers by their communities
    • Far fewer standardized tests applied to the entire student population

    Can we/should we try to replicate that model in the US?

  • Changing teacher role.  How can we transition toward such a model?
    • End of teacher tenure?
    • Higher standards (how measured?) and pay/retain for performance?(/li>
    • More curriculum flexibility for teachers, relying on their professional judgment as to what to teach and when
  • College prep vs. vocational training.  Should the secondary curriculum be primarily focused on college prep, or should other paths to strong, middle-class employment opportunities (“trade” skills, etc.) also be encouraged? How might we mitigate the perceived stigma that many of these careers are only for those who failed at college prep?

Heath Education in the U.S.

It seems that one of the major drivers of increasing US healthcare costs is the American lifestyle, which (arguably) is skewed toward poor diet, lack of exercise, etc.  So improved health education may be one of the keys to managing costs and improving heathcare “outcomes” metrics (life expectancy, infant mortality, etc.).

  • What sort of heath education will improve results?
  • Where (in school, in home, via media, via heath professionals (doctors/nurses)?
  • Who should pay for it?  How (taxes, health insurance, other?)

Education: Is it successfully preparing the next generation?

This topic was discussed on August 5, 2013

  • Who needs to be better educated?
  • What does “better educated” mean…college, vocational skills, critical thinking, practical “life skills?”
  • How do we emphasize more STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, which seem to be in high demand from employers?
  • What is the role of, and outlook for, social studies, foreign language, English?
  • Is this an issue that should be dealt with via Federal policy (regulation, mandates, etc.) or at the state and local levels?
    • How should Federal, state and local input be coordinated?

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Related Materials:

As a registered Beyond Labels participant, consider the following resources:

The $4 Million Teacher (WSJ 8/3/2013)




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