Institute for Planetary Renewal
A New Educational Paradigm
... a Spiritual and Rational Approach to Education
When We Look Around The World At Education, The U.S.A Does Not Rate Well
Public Education isn't working because it's based on some wrong assumptions about
Lets Look at Why Public Education Isn't Working.
Anyone who has taught in the public schools quickly realizes how confining the
learning environment is, and how little is accomplished in an ordinary day. Simply
watch the tranformation of children from excited 1st and 2nd graders to the "I
gotta get outa here" attitudes shortly before graduation. There is a demoralization
the that both children and teachers take on. Teachers sometimes feel they are
at fault when they can't inspire children to be better than they are, children
blame themselves, parents blame both. Actually it is the design which is at fault.
It cannot be repaired with superficial quick fixes. Perhaps it cannot be repaired
at all. This must be addressed soon. We are losing whole generations of minds
and hearts. We recommend students and teachers to simply start something new and
better where they are, either within the schools, if you can do it, or through
home schooling or cooperative schooling. As a beginning we offer the following
- Children can be taught in a factory-like, assembly line setting... a mass
- Children of the same age are ready and able to learn the same subjects at the same level.
- Children can( and should) be taught, when they are not interested in the
- Nutrition doesn't impact learning.
- Spiritual and moral principles must not be taught in a publicly endorsed system.
The Solution (which could take many forms)
- Education must be individualized, not mass produced.
- Education must be home-based or neighborhood-based.
- Students must be taught by people who love them and who the students love and respect.
- Education must be self paced.
- Education must be based on the student's interests.
- Education must be personal.
- Education must be immediately relevant to the student's life.
Oddly enough, the computer can provide a more coherent, personalized, presentation
of information than most teachers. Not because teachers are bad teachers, but
because they simply don't have the time to give all children as much individual
attention and opportunities for backtracking and repetition as an infinitely
patient computer can do. Therefore, let technology do the presentation. Teachers
and parents can do the one-on-one mentoring, encouraging, tutoring, inspiring,
etc. that they really want to do and are good at. Computer-based education saves
time (well over 50%) and tedium for all involved. The current body of knowledge
in K-12 could be finished in 6 years. We recommend computer-based education,
developed and distributed locally, nationally, and internationally coupled with
personal one-on-one tutoring for mentoring, inspiration, and project-based learning.
Start with a good basic curriculum, based on those from the best private schools.
Add to the curriculum lots of subjects which are not currently included in
schools such as:
Add to this other practical courses which make an environment beautiful, functional, and rewarding to live in.
- How to grow vegetables, herbs, and flowers.
- How to build a home at reasonable cost.
- How to create an orchard or vine orchard.
- How to heal yourself of common ailments.
- How to restore the environment.
- How to avoid the traps of commercialism.
We propose the following method to create a new educational system. It will take
time. We believe the development of a curriculum for all of K-12 could be done
in less than a year by 100 capable writers. Remember you have all existing textbooks
and encylopedias as your starting point to begin with. Of course, you cannot plagerize,
but easily rewrite and add graphics from hundreds of free sources including many
on the internet. It would be great if the government with it's vast resources
would create an internet-based K-12 educational curriculum in HTML format for
every student to use. For a neighborhood or town effort, the development might
look like this:
- Divide the curriculum into manageable chunks which a single teacher or parent can do.
- Teach each other how to use a word processor to create lessons.
- Teach how to convert the document to html (some word processors can do it automatically).
- Find someone in your area who can organize the lessons into a coherent structure on an internet server.
- Find an internet server and begin loading it with lessons
You and your friends can create lessons using a word processor and html. Link to other sites and grow the presentation as time and energy permit. Each writer is responsible for a small chunk which they maintain (or find someone to maintain in their absence). Maintain a database of these people and lessons, an easy job for a personal computer. Begin with the best textbooks and encyclopedias and rework the presentation in your own words to customize it for your children.
Parents must take an active role in the education of their children. I believe
there is no other way. The parents brought them into the world and they are
responsible for their nurturing. This is a job which should NOT be simply turned
over to the "state." State run schools, where the state decides the curriculum,
the state manages the education, the state defines the rules, etc. is no better
than communism. In fact, that is the definition of communism: the state decides.
In countries with the highest quality education, such as Japan, it is not the
schools which are doing it, but the widespread after school tutoring that makes
the difference. We can do better.
We could reduce the cost of education to less than half while paying teachers
double the salaries they get now. We are not getting a good value in education
today with the current system. In many states, 75% or more of all revenue goes
to education. This is unreasonable. There is now a huge vested interest in the
large expensive beauracracies that now exist. These systems have a proven track
record which is dismal.
A Note for Teachers:
You already know the system isn't working well and may not ever be fixed. The
values and assumptions which built it are too entrenched. Consider tutoring for
a living or forming small private schools with the best teachers from your school.
Most states tax $3500 to $6000 per year per student for education. Imagine what
you could do with that kind of money! Work to redirect that money into a voucher
system which gives parents a choice on where and how to spend it. They would gladly
spend it for tutoring and assisted-learning projects for their children.