When I was a child I listened to Paul Harvey. Each radio article began with “Hello Americans.” He would tell fabulous stories, but he would hold back a little bit of information so that his audience could ponder and think about what had already been said and anticipate the last bit of information which completed the story. And then, of course, he would famously say, “And that is the rest of the story. Good Day.”
I loved his stories because they were often stories of triumph. They were stories of redemption. They were stories of a common person fighting all odds to become a hero, or inventor, or history-maker. He brought ideas that we could count on and ideas that were based, not only on research, but also on common sense.
We need men like Paul Harvey to remind us that once we were a great nation and that we can be again if we just listen to ourselves and to common sense. It seems we have become scatter-brained, bloated, and bigoted. We don’t think through things and we certainly don’t listen to others. Rules, regulations, and laws are pushed through so that someone somewhere can make another buck.
As such, our education system is in a mess. Other systems are just as messed up, but I am an educator and so that weighs on my mind. While I don’t proclaim to know everything, I do think there are things that can be done to improve the school systems. Here is my list of things I would change IF I were in charge:
I would re-instate God in every classroom.
The Pledge of Allegiance would be said every morning. If you want to be educated in this country, then you will have to listen to the citizens say the pledge every morning.
I would remove all televisions, news channels, streaming services, and other media which spouts out the opinion of the media in a constant manner to our children. Let them learn to think things through without the influence of a negative media.
I would re-instate Physical Education AND recess five days a week. Let them run around for a bit. Let them play chase and get their energy out. Physical Education could have programs, but recess would be to play. Just play.
I would re-move all cell phones from students. They can check them at the door. Millions of Americans have been educated without a cell phone by their side. The kids lived, and their parents lived.
I would re-instate all vocational programs. Let them learn to cook and sew and fix their cars. Let them mine their creativity through wood-work and building programs. Let them weld and cut hair and manage their money.
I would re-move all standardized testing so that the teachers can go back to teaching what makes sense. Before I leave this point I must say all “Common Core” stuff – should it still exist – could no longer be used in any school system.
I would have a required garden at every school. The kids can learn all about science while growing their food. They can learn economics by selling their extra produce. They get out in the sun and they exercise. Every kid works in the garden part-time and the kitchen part-time. Schools could also have animals to teach responsibility and so that kids know where their food comes from.
I would re-instate elocution in every school. Look it up. It means clear and precise speech. Let’s teach our children to think before they speak. Teach them to stand firm on a principle because they understand the background and not just spout whatever someone else is spouting. No more mumbling or inappropriate talk in schools.
I would bring back the debate teams. It would be required. Let the students learn how to debate with knowledge. Let them learn to listen to the position of others and form new decisions without violence.
All forms of Art would be re-instated. Band. Choir. Painting. Film-making. Drawing. Calligraphy. Typography. I would require a time each day for listening to different types of music or viewing different types of art. Learn why art and music move us. Students could learn the psychology behind color or sound and why they influence us. Students could learn to appreciate.
Each student could be given 30 minutes to an hour every day for dreaming and quietness. They could sleep, dream, draw, meditate, write stories, paint, plan a city, sew, pray, doodle, invent a new language or listen to music. They would learn that being by themselves is OK and that creativity often stems from the hours we are quiet. A settled mind works more efficiently than an agitated mind.
This is a short list and could use some help I am sure. The fact is that all students are unique individuals and it is difficult to make an educational program that fits all. I am not claiming to have all the answers and some of the solutions on my list have their own list of problems. But it would be a start.
I forgot manners. I would have required classes in manners and how to eat at a table without sounding and looking like a pig at a trough. And that is the rest of the story. Good day!