Sure, we all have a million-and-one ideas of what we would do if given the opportunity to overhaul the Board of Education... but why not ask the people in the trenches?
They have a lot to say.
LISTEN UP! (1/12)
Members of the community who serve on the Board of Education should be required to spend time observing classes on a regular basis in order to glean a fuller, more realistic sense of what teaching and learning are all about in contemporary classrooms.
Too often, decision-makers on boards only have vicarious knowledge of topics they're voting on (including budgets) which directly impact the educational system and its results.
LISTEN UP! (2/12)
I'm in the UK - give teachers more time to prepare lessons away from the classroom. I teach for the majority of the day, with an hour off for lunch and perhaps another hour of non-contact time to do all of my marking, planning, etc. Sometimes I want to set up an amazing lesson (I'm Computer Science) but it's quite often a choice of doing it in the evening and neglecting my own kids or rushing it to be "good enough" but not amazing.
I feel like in business, if you were pitching to a client, you'd give the presenter a decent amount of time to sort out the pitch surely, not expect him to half-arse it in his own time in the evening?
LISTEN UP! (3/12)
Allow students to fail. Not all of them (obviously!), just the ones that decide not to take the help on offer.
If I have a class of 30 students, 27 of them will do the work I set, turn up to the lessons, ask for help when they don't get it. However, the 2 or 3 that don't want to be there take up so much more of my time than the other 27. And at the end of the year, I get dragged over the coals to explain why these 3 students didn't do as well as their previous data shows.
LISTEN UP! (4/12)
Teaching critical thinking is incredibly difficult. Being able to think critically requires a surprising amount of background knowledge. Dedicated critical thinking programs have been tried in school and the results were not that beneficial because students don't transfer skills easily from one subject area to the next. Critical thinking should of course be taught within the context of a course, but trying to teach critical thinking on its own isn't as useful for average learners as you might think.
LISTEN UP! (5/12)
American teacher here. 2 things: first, make teaching a true 9 to 5. Start at a reasonable time and build in enough time in the school day for teachers and students alike to get their outside of class work done. Second, give up on the notion that every child needs to or should go to college. There's not even room in our colleges for that to happen anyway, and there are plenty of good jobs that need doing that do not involve a four year degree. Focus more on "education beyond high school," less on "college" or "university" education.
LISTEN UP! (6/12)
Reduce the amount of standardized testing, especially at the elementary school level. The kids I work with have so many different forms of standardized, multiple choice assessments that it's exhausting for them. Ive worked with usually good students who happened to have test anxiety, and these tests might not even be an accurate measure of their knowledge since they've become so psyched out in the high stakes testing mentality.