The 10 Biggest Ways to Improve American Education




  • Pretty good list. I have two things that I feel should be included on the one you are doing for colleges.

    1) Mandatory two years "work for a living" between High School and College.
    2) De-emphasize college. Most of the work that needs to be done or should be done is "trade school" oriented. There should be no music degrees. No art degrees. No writing degrees. No "social" degrees. These are all a waste of taxpayer money and convince people that they are something they are not. There should only be science degrees. Not to say that there can't be schools that give "diplomas" in these other areas. But they should have zero public money support. Primarily they should be a sink for people with too much money.

  • I agree mostly. I disagree only in how we get there.

    I think we should switch over to a GED system instead of a graduation system. You graduate by taking tests similar to an SAT. Set up vouchers for school choice with bonuses for the number of kids that pass their GED test at that school each year.

    The main purpose to all this is to reduce the average age of a high school senior to 16. I don't know about everyone else, but I was more than equipped with the basic level of math and english to go on to college at that age. Keeping young adults around when they are 17&18 years old with nothing to do can only lead to discipline problems. They acts like spoiled kids because society treats them like kids.

    If they want to continue learning, local community colleges will have english comp & algebra. Vocational schools are also good option. However even in the worst case, a lazy good for nothing 17 year old sitting around the house is still way better than a useless 19 year old.

  • Free markets, market competition, knowing what market signals are and what confuses them, and actual freedom of choice. David obviously understands the Austrian model of economics. This seems to just come with being an intelligent Classical Liberal, modern Conservative, also known today as a Libertarian. What do you think of Trump?

  • In China, they make their kids (at least at the school I was teaching at) go to glass from 7:30 am to 9:10 pm with a 2 hour lunch break (when the students are required to sleep immediately after lunch). The evening classes are just 'study time'. Where I taught is a private school.

    As for requiring a university education to be a teacher … ugh … I can't stand university level study. I don't mind teaching at all, but academic study? … ugh … no, thank you. There's no teacher greater than experience. A university education gives you a piece of paper, not experience.

    As for money … Here in Australia first year teachers earn from $44k ~ $90k/yr (depending on things like school/city/experience) The problem is that it attracts people who want to be wealthy, not people who want to be teachers. My sister thought teaching would be great because $$$ + lots of holidays. Two years in the job and she never wants to step foot in a classroom ever again for the rest of her life. She's now following her passion and training to be a Zoo Keeper.

  • i grew up in switzerland. after primary school (age 12/13), kids get divided into degrees of learning capability, simply by marks, or the average of all marks. there are 4 divisions, and only the highest is directed at going to highschool and eventually college. highschool is called gymnasium and college university. normally its gender mixed, although at gym i was in a males only class, which isnt good for discipline .-) here you need papers, graduations and credentials, or youre done. unless you rely on nepotism, which is a very common thing here. also, its very hierarchical.

    i think the combination of nepotism with hierarchy is very unfortunate, those at the top dont get it, and those below cant fix it, so its never gonna improve. and you see that everywhere. like you hear a bit radio, and the station has timing issues, or accustic problems .. there is no need to be professional apparently.

    good vid as always btw.

  • You offer some great suggestions, especially reforms on tenure. I had an accounting professor in junior college who basically did nothing. You couldn't go to him for help… he tell you ask one of your class mates. He would have more absences than the class. Yet he was still on the payroll. Admin was giving the class a snow job and we needed this class to transfer to a 4 year college and the parents were up in arms. So we finally got a sub to teach us the bloody class. At the end of course he returned and the head of business dept had to talk to us about the situation… I still remember when the professor left the room… I quipped "what happen the schmuck get a hangnail had to go home?"What you presented has at least two stumbling blocks: the Unions and the administration. The Unions have become lazy and corrupt with no real motivation than their own self-interest. The administration is just the same where they're more interested increasing the size of the bureaucracy.

  • Before I watch I'll just punt – get parents involved with their children. Isn't that always the number one thing they always say about education?
    I remember public school as a horrific cycle of threats, humiliation and occasional violence that was far more interested in enforcing conformity than anything approaching education. From what I understand it has only gotten worse over the years. Back in my day combined federal/state/local spending on education per student a year was around $65,000 with the vast majority going to fund the bureaucracy. Where I went to school in S Florida it was 80%. We had an Under Assistant Secretary for the Office of Physical Education Equipment Purchases making $60K a year because the unions insisted it was a vital job. Unions are important, but these unions mainly represent the interests of administrators and not educators, and so have effectively formed a second layer of bosses to exploit the workers to benefit management. I like unions, and credit them with the lion's share of credit for growing the middle class, but there has to be some form of check and balances.
    Crap. Ran out of time. I'll watch this later.

  • the flip side of that argument is that, when I was young i didn't want to go to school. If you ask a kid if they want to go to school most of them would say no. The whole you must sent your kids to school thing is that in the old days, in rural areas, some kids do want to go to school. But they are forced by their parents to work on the farm, and denied an education.

    The whole thing with tenure is that it is suppose to protect freedom of thought. If you have a radically different idea to the establishment you can not be fired for thinking differently. it is there to ensure diversity of thought, although these days its not working out so well, even those teachers that have tenure are afraid to speak out.

  • Australia does not have compulsory education, but it is highly encouraged. I think the ideal of getting students who are disinterested in school not to go doesn't actually work here, because typically these students have parents who aren't particularly interested in investing time and effort into home schooling. Every home schooled person I've ever met has had Catholic or highly religious parents.
    Whilst it is a great idea for schools to focus more on particular areas of study because we can choose where to go, this isn't being utilised very much at all. Almost every school is the same, and it is a known fact where I live that the private school music department is better than the public school which has a focus on the performing arts, simply because the teachers and facilities are of higher quality (plus the private school offers music scholarships).

  • #1 is just the biggest pile of cow poop.

    While it is unpleasant to be told where to go and what to do when you don't want to, THAT IS AN ESSENTIAL PART OF LIFE IN EVERY SOCIETY. As an adult, more often than not you HAVE to do things quickly enough, and be done on time. It is called schedule, and discipline. You cannot develop schedule or discipline, when you are allowed to pick and choose when and where you want to do what. You need to learn how to deal with stress and pressure, or else you will fail as an adult.

    And the second thing is, schools teaching children what to do. When I was still going to a school in the-not-so-Soviet-Russia, we were literally told what the meaning of life is, and what a good citizen must do to be a good person. That was complete bullshit, BUT… but to some degree that kind of brainwashing can be found in every society. As a child, YOU NEED TO DEVELOP THE ABILITY TO TOLERATE BRAINWASHING AND BE ABLE TO REJECT IT. If you do not build a mental shield around yourself to protect yourself from brainwashing by the state, your mind will be so weak ANYONE could brainwash you as an adult. You need to learn to ignore and reject what is being thrown at you, otherwise you will never have a strong mind.

    And #9 should be #1. Children need to be taught not theoretical bullshit, but actual information about what jobs exist in their area right now, and what skills they need to get hired. Many, many people who start working part time are never told how to get the skills necessary, or what jobs exist in their hometown.

    Also, making school LONGER is bullshit. Everyone deserves 3 months of summer holidays. And homework is essential in developing the skill of working without someone looking over your shoulder. In half the jobs that exist, you do not have a boss. You are given a task, and a certain time to do it. It is up to YOU to organize yourself and make the thing before the due time. If all the work you do is at school under supervision, you become completely crippled when the element of supervision is removed. HOMEWORK TEACHES SELF-DISCIPLINE AND INDEPENDENCE.

    Thank God you are not the dictator behind the educational system, otherwise I would overthrow you already with my ragtag band of rebels.

  • I don't entirely agree with eliminating compulsory education. I think a fairly compelling case could be made for primary schooling when the curriculum is generally focused on a foundation of practical knowledge people will use for the rest of their lives. That seems to me something pretty well everyone ought to experience.

    In the case of secondary education, however, I couldn't agree more. I was a model student throughout elementary school, but as soon as I hit junior high and the focus shifted from the three Rs to more esoteric subjects like literature, social studies and any math beyond basic algebra my academic performance began to suffer until I eventually dropped out after my junior year (90% of which was spent playing hooky in the local library where I could read about and study shit what actually interested me). 12 years later, the only significant differences between myself and those who stuck it out through graduation are those what have their roots in individual actions, be it personal drive to succeed, learning a marketable skill, etc.

  • Love your videos, David! This particular video was great. I left the teaching world because of the stupidity. I love teaching, but hated the politics, so I now just teach here on YouTube!
    Regarding your first point, I mentor a high school student who wants to go into one of two fields so I worked with him to set goals to try out those areas while he is young but he is having a hard time reaching those goals because of the amount of time he has to spend in school and doing coursework that does not relate! We need some changes in American education…
    Keep up the great videos!

  • How do you feel about democratic education systems such as Sudbury?
    How do you feel about Salman Khan's approach to education reform?
    It seems that many people agree about most of the changes your suggest. How do we unify these forward thinkers and mobilize them to influence change?

  • I remember having most of these thoughts when I was still in school esspecially the home work one. Half my classes probably had about 5-10 minutes of actual learning and the rest of the time the teacher trying to either control the class or trying to dumb things down to the level of the kids who were struggling the most.

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