Monday, April 21, 2014

Competition for America's First Ambassador of Education

You have been selected as a candidate to become the very TOP person in education!!  If selected you will be given the title of the United States of America's first Ambassador of Education!!  With this new title, comes a TREMENDOUS task and not to mention a TON of responsibility.

(That's right, we're revisiting the educational issue, once again, in light of our recent discussion in class.)

Here's the scenario:
Last week it was announced that despite the attempted changes in the American educational system, the US has dropped to 40th place in education throughout the developed world.  Schools are in shambles and progress is at an all time stand-still.  Nothing seems to be working!  So, the United States Congress went on a head-hunting world tour to find someone to head up the nation's educational system and even changed laws so that the newly selected Ambassador of Education would be allowed to implement ANY changes in the American educational system that he/she felt was absolutely necessary to get us back on track.  Congress and even state governors have vowed that they are willing to do whatever it takes to get our schools back to the point of being at least in the top 10 of the world - if not the very top.  This job is going to demand that you "think out of the box" and come up with ideas that you believe are doable.

Your task is to come up with FIVE key starting points / changes that you feel are ABSOLUTELY a must to begin putting America's educational system back on track.  You need to list the FIVE key things that you want Congress to push through and present them before the states.  List the FIVE changes with a brief description of why  you think they are ABSOLUTELY needed. Make sure your descriptions are clear and precise (to the point) and be prepared to answer questions that "members of Congress" (those responding to your proposals) may have for you.  In other words, be able to defend your plan!!

Those of you commenting on each other's post, are considered the "Members of Congress."  Your job is to pick through the various plans being proposed and really look them over.  Be critical!!!  If something isn't done, America's future is in serious jeopardy!!!  As it was once said, "The future of ANY country on this planet earth lies within it's educated mass!  A failure there, spells the doom of the country."

Once this blog is completed we'll be taking a vote in class which plans to adopt!!!


  1. It's an honor to be selected as the "Candidate to become the TOP PERSON in American Education. I have Five main key elements I would like to implement into America's School's Today.
    1.) Get rid of "below/above average courses". (My personal FAVORITE) When I talk to students who are in considered "below average courses", they feel discouraged and don't want to do good because they feel it "won't make a difference". Once you are in a "below average course" it is very difficult to escape from it. Perhaps if we were to make all courses evenly graded, students wouldn't feel the need to compete with each other, and everyone will be on the same level therefore encouraging. A similar principle goes for the Honors Students as well. High pressures are put on these specific students, because it is believed they can handle it. However... although these students may be capable, is it really fair to work some students harder than others? Just because you CAN do something, doesn't always mean that you SHOULD.Therefore yet again, if everyone was on the same level, it would be much easier to communicate socially, and academically.
    2.) Greater Punishments: When I talk to most students, it seems that 30 minutes after-school detention is a joke. "Oh, I can do my homework; I text my friends" etc. Why are we making our punishments so lenient? Why aren't they as harsh as the 1980's? You weren't even allowed to go to the bathroom back in the day, let alone do homework! Also, teacher disrespect is out of hand. Talking back to higher uppers is unfortunately a common thing in our society. Nobody is respecting the rules, seniority, or themselves. I feel the only way to make a severe change to this, would be to increase the harshness of our punishments. Maybe then, society will get the hint that disrespect and misbehavior is not tolerated.
    3.) Do not make Grades 9-12 Compulsory: Now I say this with caution although it may sound absurd; there are many high school students who want to achieve greatness in their futures, and would no doubt continue their schooling careers. BUT, there are some students who think High school (or almost everything) is a joke. It's not. High school is what molds you into the being you will become for the rest of your life. No one who wants a bright future should be forced to attend school where people who do not want to be there, and think it's a joke attend. Therefore, I feel we should give the right to drop out for anyone who thinks it's a big joke.
    4.) Increase the Number of School Days: Oh Great! Summer Vacation is here! Time to lose *according to statistics* 3 months of what I learned all of last year!! Yay!!! No... this is a problem. In other countries, such as Japan, they attend schools on Saturdays, and there is only one month off of school in March. If you compare their nation's averages to America's nation averages, you might see the reasoning in my plea. Don't let the students forget all of the important information because it is not being reinforced for 104 days of summer vacation-!
    5.) My last plea: It SHOULD be mandatory that each student join at least one club or team: Sports, are important. Yearbook, is important. Chorus, is important. Band, is important. All of these extra-curricular courses are important in their own special ways. If students are committed to a club or team, it is a great time for them to socialize with friends, learn new things (such as responsibilities), and have a good time!
    I, your candidate, pledge that "In all of my honesty, I want to make America's school systems the best for our future".

    1. Hey Tom here's what I think of your ideas
      1. Im not really sure about how I feel about that proposal because it has a good and a bad. It will certainly help students confidence wise but if we didn't have honors classes everyone would be the same basically. I don't believe in below average classes but honors is optional and its weighed higher than average classes. it gives students a chance to compete more than usual
      2.Yes there should be greater punishments for bad behavior, it will increase the morals of students and teach them life lessons of respect
      3.Yes if you really want to drop out then you should have that right. Schools can dissuade students but if that's really what they want our education system cannot make that choice for them
      4.No it may be true that Japan has a better education but there different in so many ways that its impossible to base it off that one statistic. Instead I would suggest make the school day slightly longer
      5. No clubs shouldn't be mandatory for students to join. Clubs are created to gather a group of people who share the same interests in a certain field and some people just don't like anything. It is great that we have clubs but no one should have to be in one if they really don't want to

    2. Hey Tom, you have really good ideas that i would personally adopt and are also included in my post. For example I really liked the idea of harder punishments for transgressions. I believe that people take detention to lightly and as a result it does not correct their behavior. One thing i do not agree with is the removal of both advanced and below average classes. I believe that these classes have more positive effects on students than the negatives as the ones you pointed out.

    3. Hey Tom, you had some good ideas, but others I had a different opinion than you.
      1.The one thing that I did not like about this approach is the fact that you said it isnt "fair" to challenge and push honors kids. That is kind of showing a side of hypersensitivity. I also overall disagree with this reform in general because in my opinion, if students are surrounded by people at their own level, each and every student would be able to work at their pace in their level class, whether it be below average, average or honors. Lastly, if honors kids are put into the same classes as average and below average, they can easily be bored and they would constantly be answering questions that the teacher asks, leaving no room for the other students to participate.
      2. Yes, I agree that stricter punishments should be enforced to prepare and show students that their actions have serious consequences out in the real world.
      3. I strongly disagree with this reform. I feel that this approach would just show students that it's okay to give up on anything. Instead of challenging students and pushing them to allow them to succeed, you're willing to tell them that if they don't care, it's okay to just drop out? This would honestly be a major step back for our education.
      4. I agree with you on this one. Having more time in school would allow students to take in more information, preparing them for years ahead. However, I also agree with Elijah. Instead of making the school year longer, we can make the school days longer.
      5. Clubs, sports and extracurricular activities should not be mandatory. I would encourage students to go out of their comfort zones and try new things, but making this mandatory would not be a good idea. Students who are genuinely struggling with school no matter how hard they try may feel an added burden if this were to take place. Extra curricular activities already take away so much time from a student's schedule and they're unable to adequately complete their homework or study for tests.

    4. Also, I believe expanding the school year would be really great to help improve student scores and knowledge. I believe that making it mandatory for students to take part in at least one club is not fair, the school has no right to dictate the student and make it mandatory for students to joins clubs. I believe this is a bit excessive, a better solution would be increase the encouragement in partaking in these clubs, but it should not be mandatory

    5. Hey Tom, here are my opinions on the ideas you brought up.
      1. I actually think that getting rid of below/above average courses is a good idea. I feel that everyone has the potential to learn the same things (despite the fact that some can grasp it faster). I also agree with you on your point that this eliminates the sense of competition between students.
      2. Greater punishments are definitely necessary, and I mentioned this in my post as well. These make students want to do the right thing in order to avoid those punishments.
      3.I do not agree with this key point at all. Yes, some students think that high school is a joke, however they shouldn't just drop out. I think they should at least stay in high school, and if they don't want to go to college, then so be it. Think about the number of dropouts we would have.
      4. I have mixed opinions on this one. For one thing, students definitely need some time off from school. However, they do forget a lot of information over the summer. Because of this, students should take some time to attend tutoring programs, or something of that sort. If anything, I'd say make school days longer and give students Saturday, Sunday, and Monday off.
      5. Although you brought up some good points here, I don't think forcing students to join extracurricular activities is a great idea. They might feel as if too much of their time is being taken away by that one club, and for some, this would be too much trouble for them.

    6. I am really impressed by the idea of your first element!
      Believe it or not, most of the students in our school has relatively the same IQ, but why some of us are in honors but others are in average?? I think it relates to our learning ability and study environment. If there is only honor classes, students will have no excuses like i am not smart enough.

    7. I have some suggestions on a couple of your points. About high school not being mandatory, if high school is not mandatory, how will students get prepared for what they are going to face in the real world. if this were going to work, you would need to have subjects such as chem, bio, and geometry in middle school, so that they get a general understanding of the world around them. Also if you increase the number of school days, students will get lethargic and not want to work hard, since they are in school for a long period of time.

  2. Being a candidate to become the top person in education is truly a honorable privilege. My five key elements will help strengthen schools, and create a brighter future for our country.
    1.Monthly community service is mandatory for all students 13 or older. Community service shows students that giving back is not only good for to others, but for themselves as well. Community service helps humble a person’s ego. When completing community service, your time brings you interesting experiences that you may never had a chance to be a part of. Community service also allows students to avoid doing bad things in their spare time. This also allows students to see a new perspective on life. When feeling down, many could realize their life is not as bad as the guy’s life who you gave a meal to the previous day. Most importantly, community service boost students self-esteem and helps give back. A plus of this is also how good it looks on many college resumes.
    2.All the schools need to desensitize the morale of their students and teachers. The main reason for students to be in school is to gain a education, and prepare them for the real-world. Many have become over sensitive with any type of criticism. Criticism given to students needs to be constructive, and students need to be more perceptive. Many are worried about offending the students and the students know that they have power in the way they are spoken to. School systems need to be a little tougher in order for students to actually gain a proper education that will help them in the future.
    3.All schools must have more severe punishments for foul behavior. Almost no one fears the school, for the reason many offer plenty of chances to be saved from being reprimanded. Many students today feel careless towards their education. The misbehavior of students results in consequences. Many of those consequences are too light, the children won’t learn that way. A verbal warning is ineffective for a majority of students. Sadly, many parents don’t enforce proper manners on their children and their peers have to deal with the rude behavior. Also, the way students are able to mouth off teachers with no fear is upsetting. With more sever punishments, schools with have a stronger hold on their students.
    4.Sports should only be allowed if the student maintains a 3.5 GPA, and ALL school board members must make sure no teacher “helps” their student pass by just giving the needed grade. Some student athletes feel that as long as they pass, nothing else about school matters. The school is not a day-care center, or a sports center, so education must come first. No student athlete should be allowed to exempt themselves from learning. The chance of all of these student athletes going to the pros is low, so why just ditch the NEEDED education. If a students wants to play sports, he/she will learn to balance everything because they will be driven to.
    5.The schedules at school should be reconstructed to lessen the amount of time students have for socialization. Many think of school as a social mixer, when they are there to receive an education. If they all want to socialize, they can join a club or meet up at another time like many already do. Students take advantage of extra time some schools have squeezed into their schedules. For students, education comes second, first they need to tell their friend what yogurt they ate last night. Sadly, this is the case and their needs to be a change.
    *All that was stated does not apply to ALL students, it just gives a perception of what happens in a majority of schools, and depicts changes that will help. I hope you all take in to consideration my altercations that schools should adapt. If I am elected I will work my hardest for these changes. My whole concept is to create schools that will be on top of their priorities and are well-rounded. My goal is to have our country grow in education because I care about the generations growing, and the ones to come.

    1. Hi Hava-! I have some mixed opinions about your post; I will critique each of your elements.
      1.) - I feel: Absolutely not; you are unaware of how children's lives are at home. Some have to watch siblings, or do sports/activities. Also, socializing with friends is a top priority for students; if work is forced unto them, then they will do a poor job.
      2.) I feel: I agree; schools are VERY lenient with students. There are too many rules set in place that protect students' rights, but in the end it is actually harming them because they are not getting a "thicker layer of skin". Praise is equally important as criticism.
      3.) i feel: I also stated this in my blog post so I 100% I agree with you.
      4.) I feel: I SOMEWHAT agree. I feel that a 3.5 GPA is a bit difficult to maintain for some, so perhaps a tad little lower would be just as sufficient.
      5:) I feel: No; we are teenagers. If we are not given time to socialize we would not be able to "live". In other countries such as China, you are not allowed to even talk at lunch, and their school spirit/morale is very low.

    2. Hey Hava here is what I think of your ideas
      1.Yes students should complete some type of community service. It is an efficient way to get the youth to contribute to society
      2.Im on the fence about this one because I'm not sure how well you can toughen up a student. After all bullying is frowned upon and measures should be taken to stop it.
      3. Yes schools are too lenient and there must be more punishments to combat bad behavior
      4. Yes I had the same thing in mine just a different GPA requirement
      5. No, every school has a different schedule so you cant really assume all the schedules are the same and we can change them all at once.

    3. Hava,
      1) I believe some type of community service for students is a great idea, this makes the students take part in community activities and make them become an active member of society.
      2) I am very uncertain about which side to take because i do agree that a little tough love and criticism is very beneficial to people becomes it strengthens them however we cannot allow it to go over board and result in a serious issue.
      3) Yes, having more severe and serious punishments for unruly behavior is a great idea. Too many students take detention to lightly and as a result the behavior is repeated, I am very interested to see how you would implement this.
      4) Like what elijah said 3.5 GPA is pretty hard to obtain so lowering it would be a lot better so more students are able to join sports.
      5) I do not agree with this point, I believe that a little socialization betweens classes actually helps the students distress and calm down from all the activities that are going on during the school day.

    4. Hey Hava,
      1. Community service is definitely a great idea (but how many hours would they need a month?). I feel that this would teach them responsibility and leadership, and the students would learn how to manage their time better.
      2. Although a bit of constructive criticism can be hurtful or offensive, it definitely does help. Schools need to be a little tougher on their students in order for a change to occur.
      3. I completely agree with the punishments. Too many people take school as a joke, and they need to learn how much this will affect them in the future. Harsher punishments will certainly make a change.
      4. I actually like this idea. It motivates students to get better grades, and there are so many people that are willing to do whatever they can for the sport they love.
      5. This isn't really the best idea. Of course, too much socialization between students is distracting, but we at least need some time. Developing social skills with others is an essential aspect of life and it should not be taken away from students.

    5. Hava, these were my thoughts on your points:
      1) While I do agree that there should be a certain amount of community service that is mandatory, I don’t think that this will necessary in boosting the education system in America. It may allow a student to do something good with their spare time but they can spend that time rather studying than mostly on community service, even though it is important.
      2) I definitely agree that there should be more discipline imposed on students and that there should be a lot more challenges given to them. Adults need to stop “spoon-feeding” the students and understand that they need to be strict and respected in order to get them to behave.
      3) Punishment definitely needs to be a lot more severe than it is at the moment. Punishment has no more meaning in schools today, and it’s very embarrassing and sad. There need to be harder, stricter rules and penalties established for the wrong-doing students.
      4) Although I agree with the general idea of this, I would say that 3.5 may be a bit too high for many students, even though it should be a good goal for them, we should take it a bit slow for now and just dim down the limit to around 3.3 maybe.
      5) I don’t think I can agree with you on this. While socializing is a very big issue here in the United States, I think in school talking and interacting is subtly important. We cannot be robots, we are humans, and socializing is a part of life, even if we do a little too much at times. China is known for a lack of creativity because of its rules of only study all the time.

    6. Certain types of community service, such as helping at soup kitchens and working clothing drives, will help motivate students. They will see how tough it is out there and will want to work for a brighter future. It also builds leadership, social skills, and will help students realize school is not that bad compared to the life the poor people have.

    7. I think most of your points are pretty accurate, but with an exception of one, the point about sports requiring a 3.5 GPA. If you don't already know, sports are big ticket for students who aren't necessarily good in school, but excell in sports. I do agree that there should be a required GPA, but 3.5, that is just too high. If I may, i would like to suggest that you lower it to say 3.0. 3.5 is a very good GPA and if athletes are required to have this, but don't actually have the mental capacity to do so, sports would just be a big bust in this country, and colleges would take a blow as well

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  4. Hey guys my name is Elijah Soba and I want to be YOUR first ambassador of education. It is truly an honor and a big responsibility that with the right person can bring about change in our education system. Learning in general is very important and almost necessary in today’s society. A country as big and prosperous as the United States should have the right to a quality education that can in turn compete with other countries. There are 5 major changes I would make if you choose me to be ambassador which I will list below.
    1. Implement an Americanized version of "Cram Schools"- After our studies with China and Japan a “Cram School" does sound like a very good idea to help students. The most common phrase you hear is "I don't get it" and there are multiple reasons for that. Cram schools can not only help students with that it will also provide a safe haven for students for all students in general. Overall these (optional) additional hours of school can certainly help students achieve their academic goals
    2. Introduce CTE- CTE stands for career and technical training and it can be very useful to many students. Not all students know what they want to be in life but at the same time others do. In the words of Mr. Gehm "There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a mechanic carpenter electrician etc." I know that my Dad is an electrician and from experience I can say he makes a lot of money. Of course there are numerous trade schools out there but everyone needs to crawl before they can walk. If students can begin in high school it will benefit them in the future.
    3. Startup programs that will get students more inspired to learn- This is a very debatable topic that has to do with inspiring students to learn, and at the same time maker schools more strict so behavior is not a big issue. In my opinion I believe inspiration is the most pressing issue right now when it comes down to our education as a whole. Most of our students aren’t as focused on doing well as others and that is mainly because no one pushes them to be the best they can be. Anyone has the potential to be an honors student or get straight A’s or do well in general but it all comes down to attitude. I have one friend in particular that hates school. I will not mention his name but he says ‘I hate it, teachers make me feel dumb by putting me down because I don’t get certain things, sometimes I just want to drop out of school” My personal solution is more parent teacher conferences where student are required to come in and explain situations which will boost confidence and allow them to try harder in school
    4. Athletes must stay on top of school work at all times- this argument is plain and simple, athletes are required to keep a certain GPA if they want to play sports. I love sports and I’m an athlete myself but it is necessary for these students to stay active on the field, and in the class room. I would say nothing below a 3.3 or else they are not allowed to play the sport until grades go up.
    5. More Collaboration- In schools a majority of the work done is alone but my idea is to make more group work that will benefit more people at once. My definition is very broad, it could be between classmates, or subjects. This could include tests and homework too. Every month can be a different partner (in the same class of course) leading to more knowledge, and it’s a great way to make new friends! Everyone wants a study buddy, why not have one throughout the school year.

    1. 1.I agree with you. Cram schools would be beneficial to many students. Having cram schools will allow for reinforcing important material on students. This would provide opportunities for them to learn more and understand all their work. I only have a few worries about this idea. Would the cram schools cost money? Some cram schools in Japan cost $3,3oo a year, but what if we have students who absolutely need it and can’t afford it.
      2.It would be a bonus for schools to have CTE introduced into the systems. There is nothing wrong with being interested in the careers you have mentioned. On the down side, some schools in America just don’t have the money for that, so if we were to help where would all that funding come from?
      3.I am skeptical about how these programs would work. Many schools already try and inspire students, but many students have no thought about even changing their opinions. More parent-teacher conferences won’t do much because even some parents don’t feel a passion about their children’s education.
      4.I believe students do need a high GPA to play sports. I feel though that the GPA should be at least a 3.5 to play. If a student has a passion to play, they will learn to balance the work. This will also stop students who join sports for the sheer fact they get study hall and it’s on their college resume, but they have no true care for the sport.
      5.I am not crazy about this idea. Many don’t enjoy working with groups, also there are many downsides. What if a student is lacking and the other does all the work? What if its hard to meet up out of school? What if one has no access to the internet out of school? There is so many more reasons why this wouldn’t work well for many.

    2. 1.) I like how you included the education of Japan and China into improving the U.S. education since they have much more rigorous ways. I believe the cram schools is a great way to avoid any confusion of the criteria being presented in class and students additionally won't have an excuse of not doing their homework.
      2.) I hadn't initially thought about CTE but it would be great to adapt to the U.S. schools since it encourages training for the future and gives you a head start on your career.
      3.) I feel these programs could act as a great boost of inspiration but I believe it also matters on the parent's involvement and encouragement as well as the teacher's attitudes because that could be what is sparking the student's viewpoint on school.
      4.) I definitely agree that in order to continue in sports they should maintain is certain GPA. Students should be able to prioritize themselves depending on their circumstances.
      5.) Although this sounds like a great idea and is beneficial to real world situations and communication, there are countless downfalls. Like hava mentioned in her comment, one student can be doing more work than the other and it would be very hard to try and compare schedules with your partner as well.

    3. Ohhoho yes I definitely agree with cram schools. I like to get tutored for additional help and reinforcement on a regular basis: now if i could enter a school atmosphere after school, that would be much better. Also I agree with how you feel towards athletes. 3.3 is a perfect score for them to stay around, as anyone who wants an average or above grade should maintain no lower than that number.
      I think for no. 5 you mean a homeroom where teachers and student scan get involved in activities that can boost the participation in school-work.

    4. Sign him a contract. I agree with all of your points. I'm not trying to be Kumbaya or anything, but i actually do. Especially point 3. If students arent inspired and determined to learn, how are we supposed to get high up there in the world. I like the idea of startup programs to get students interested in school. You have my vote.

  5. Reforming the education of our country would be a long and meticulous process. However, without a doubt, as a candidate I am all for a change in the education system to ensure that we are succeeding academically.
    1. Teachers need to be more sufficient –Almost all students have experienced sitting in a class and simply unable to understand the lesson being taught. Students may also feel as though they are not being challenged enough in a certain class. This entirely may not be the students’ fault. Teachers play a major role in the academic performance of students. In places like Shanghai, China, teachers have extremely high salaries and those teachers are among the best educators worldwide. We need to become stricter with teachers in the US. We must keep track of teachers regularly and how well they are doing their job. If majority of a class is or on the verge of failing, it definitely reflects on the teacher and he/she should face certain consequences. Perhaps, teachers’ salaries should be based off of how well students in their classes are performing.
    2. School Subjects – We need subjects in school that start to challenge students’ thinking processes and begin disciplining them. Starting in middle school, more rigorous classes should be required to take. For example, students should start classes like biology and algebra I in 8th grade. By the time they are in freshman year of high school, they will have the opportunity to take even more challenging classes and take additional classes of their choice that may pertain to their field of study in college.
    3. Starting off with a good foundation – In order for school subjects to become more challenging in middle school, students MUST start off with a good foundation. By this, I mean going all the way back to Pre-K and Kindergarten. Although these classes may seem trivial, they are necessary to ensure that a child is starting his/her path of education the right way. Learning simple concepts such as creating sentences, using different word choice, addition and subtraction, counting by 5s, 10s, 15s, etc… at an early age can really affect how a student does throughout their academic career.
    4. Sports and Extracurricular activities – Many students all over the country are involved in at least one extracurricular activity and/or sport. We would initially look at this as a great thing, which it is, until students become overly occupied in these other activities and begin to lose focus in school, resulting in their grades to drop. Some school faculties even stress the importance of a particular club or sport far too much and they also forget that school is primarily about academic success. Therefore, if we make a requirement that all students must maintain at least a B average in each class in order to participate in a club or sport, we would end up having a well-rounded star student, with a high GPA and involvement in other activities.
    5. Overall Attitudes – All in all, I think the biggest issue that is holding back the education of our country from thriving is the attitude that many families and their children have towards education. For example, if a student comes from a family that does not stress much importance towards academic success, it leads to the student ending up not caring either. Some parents even condemn teachers who challenge their students and claim that their children are unable to handle heavy workloads. What we really need is a change in the attitudes of many parents, families and children and really stress on the importance of receiving an education. If we are able to achieve this and make families push their children and challenge them as much as possible, we would be able to make a giant step forward in advancing our academic performances.

    1. Hey Kushali, here's how I feel about your ideas.
      1. I definitely agree that there are many teachers that simply need to perform better. If necessary, schools should somehow motivate these teachers- like, as you said, with higher salaries, similar to the teachers in Shanghai. (Or, worst case scenario, hire new teachers.)
      2. Yes, you are completely right with this. You and I both know that there are some classes that don't ask much of students, and this in turn causes them to sometimes slack off or take advantage of the fact. This is why all classes should be more rigorous and expectations need to be higher in order to see a change.
      3. This is a great point, and I completely agree that the education needs to be more rigorous, like you said.
      4. Just like in Hava's blog post, I agree with this similar point. This motivates students to do better in school in order to get what they want- in this case, being on that sport team.
      5. This, I completely and utterly 100% agree with. SO many students take school to be a joke, and many times, it's because of their home environments. In order for these students to achieve, both their parents and schools need to motivate them.

    2. Kushali, these were my opinions on your five elements:
      1) Teachers definitely need to be more sufficient and help their students to understand the material being taught. I have experienced many times where I have found myself leaving a class not knowing what was taught. However, I don’t think teachers should be solely evaluated based on how well the students are doing, because students could simply not care due to lack of parent involvement or lack of encouragement, etc.
      2) I definitely agree with you on this. I was taught algebra I and the basics of biology in middle school, which later helped me by a lot in freshman year. I think that pre-algebra, then Algebra I Skills, then Algebra I is a waste of time and learning.
      3) I really hadn’t thought about this, and this is a really good point. My mother was always stressing the importance of knowing my times tables so that when I grew up, they would be easier for me on tests and quick calculations. This is very, very important.
      4) I think the involvement of sports and activities is very important because it keeps a student active and alert, but it unfortunately takes up a great amount of time. America takes great pride in its sports, and that is what is distracting us from the academics.
      5) I mentioned this in my blog too, and I most certainly feel as though parents’, teachers’, and students’ attitudes overall can greatly affect the rankings of America.

  6. It really is an honor to be a candidate to become the top person in education. The five key elements I am providing here will definitely benefit schools all across the nation, giving the students of America much more confidence and potential.
    1. Increase funding towards education. The more money schools have, the more they can use to benefit students! With more funds, the teachers will be able to provide students with better, more beneficial learning resources. Schools can even hire more experienced/knowledgeable teachers in order to receive better performances not only from students, but also from these teachers.
    2. Raise expectations. Having a teacher that doesn’t expect much from their students is something that can really cause the students to slack off. (I can tell you from experience that this has happened to me in the past.) If teachers really try to challenge the students, it is very likely that they will at least try harder. Sooner or later, you’ll see results; just don’t go overboard with the expectations of students.
    3. Encouragement. A huge part of the reason why schools across the country are failing is due to the lack of motivation from some teachers and especially parents. Many may not realize this, but the environment that a student lives in can definitely affect the way they act in school. With great motivation, it is very possible that students will improve and succeed. However, a lot of parents simply couldn’t care less about how their child is doing at school. The teachers and staff, though, can still motivate students to try harder. Students need to know the realities of life and that what they’re doing now really does affect their future greatly. But if you really want to encourage students, offer rewards for their success.
    4. Valuing Education. So many schools value sports or the arts more than the actual education that the students are getting. The staffs of schools need to realize that they can affect students’ performances at school as well, and by caring about how well their sports teams played in the games or how good the play was, it sometimes makes it seem as though those are their top priorities.
    5. Tougher Punishment. If a student is acting up, not doing their homework, disrespecting a teacher, etc., they should receive harsher discipline. Right now, so many students take advantage of the staff of schools. I feel that it would be best to punish them in a more tough, strict way. This brings fear and intimidation among the other students, so they’ll be much more disciplined.
    I hope you take my ideas into consideration. If I can become the top person in education, America will see results.

    1. Paige,
      1) I believe contributing more money to school and our education, is money well spent and it will improve the quality of learning, which is a vital part in this whole process.
      2) Raising the expectations of the teachers have on students can be a double edge sword in the sense that some students might rise to the challenge however some might feel discouraged and fall behind. this would be a very risky thing to have implemented.
      3) Yes encouragement is very important and is key in the success of improving education. The students will require encouragement from peers, teacher, and family members. All these sources are very important in the level of encouragement a student receives.
      4) Yes putting grades above all else should be a top priority for high schools. Im not saying sports aren't important however, academics should carry more weight than they do now.
      5) I agree, tougher punishments must be implemented so students can learn their mistakes and reflect upon them, this will help correct their behavior. Way to manny students take detention too lightly making it ineffective.

    2. 1.I agree schools deserve more funding. It will help equip them with proper tools, books, etc. The one question is, where would we get that money? How can one get the rest of congress to agree to cut a different fund for school? I personally think education is a top priority and this should happen.
      2.We should most definitely raise expectations. Without this, many students slack in their work and manner. If we implement this there will be a positive difference.
      3.I agree we should encourage, but how much has that really worked in the past. Many schools already offer motivation, but that goes no where because many don’t care.
      4.I agree hugely with valuing education. The main reason for school is to receive an education, but many look at is as the second most important thing. Also, it would be good to add how grades are more valued than the child actually obtaining information.
      5.I 100% agree with having tougher punishments. Students do take advantage of teachers, and the whole school system in general. With a strong standing, schools will have a more firm hold on students.

    3. 1. Schools aren't given enough money to get the many supplies they need. For example, some schools don't have tissues to last them a year and some schools had to stop buying many of the books that were part of the curriculum. However I am not sure where the money would come from and if people will really use them in the right manner. Education is very important and we need to find a way to bring more money to the schools.
      3. We definitely need to show students why education is so important to us and the effects they can have on our life or society. The way you said it is completely correct. "A huge part of the reason why schools across the country are failing is due to the lack of motivation from some teachers and especially parents. Many may not realize this, but the environment that a student lives in can definitely affect the way they act in school. With great motivation, it is very possible that students will improve and succeed."

    4. 1. But America is one of the countries who put most money in schools. The average study environment in CHina is far more behind America but Chinese students still got higher grades tho...
      2. I agree! A responsible good teacher should always have high expectations at his/her students.
      5. Tougher punishment, i like this one! My Chinese teacher used to say that we have to take responsibility for the things we did. Having a tougher punishment can make the students realize his/her mistakes.

    5. On the topic of encouragement, that is not the big deal here. We already do have enough encouragement to understand the importance of education. If some students don't care at this point (in high school), just some encouragement isn't going to help the cause. We need to have more 1 on 1 counseling to figure out what each student is going to pursue as a career. If we give students the materials and classes that will give them the knowledge they need for a career that they LOVE, that would cause a huge change in the efficiency of American education.

    6. 1) I completely agree with more funding towards education. Many states do not have enough money to run schools and provide resources like textbooks. However, we must find a way to get more funding because the students are the future of America.
      5) I also mentioned punishments in my post. Students these days think of detention as a joke and we need to fix that. Tougher punishments will make students learn their lesson.

    7. Paige, I agree with every one of your points, however the one that stuck out the most was 3). Although sports can be an important part of your life, your studies always come first! I too feel as though colleges often forget that they're MAIN goal is not to raise the best sport's team but to strive for academic excellence. After all, being good at sports isn't all it takes to do well in this world.

  7. The education system in America is honestly very humiliating to me. While we believe that we try our best to help students succeed, we’re doing scarcely as much as other countries are doing, which is making education their number one priority. These are the top five key elements that I believe will help America’s education overpower and prosper as a candidate to hopefully become the Ambassador of Education:
    1) Qualified/Certified Teachers: I cannot stress how significant I believe it is for teachers in our education system to be FULLY qualified to become a teacher of a specific subject. Although a teacher may be certified, they need to be able to communicate well with students. I certainly know many teachers that have trouble interacting or properly teaching a group of students. Certification is definitely very, very important. Teachers need to know the ins and outs of their subject, they need to plan ahead and make sure they are properly pacing themselves according to the students’ academic performances as well as making sure that every single student in the class thoroughly understands the material being taught. I think that teachers should be evaluated randomly. Since my mother is a teacher, I have heard that teachers are told when they are being evaluated, which makes it ten times easier to prepare for a good lesson and show that they are qualified, for one period, which I have witnessed too many times. Random evaluations help higher members of the education assembly to fairly, thoroughly, and properly evaluate a teacher, as well as take surveys from the all the students, which severely helps with observing teachers’ performances.
    2) Mandatory Tutoring: I think that one of the main problems that students fail or do miserably in certain subjects is because they don’t seek help for their problems. While many teachers offer extra help times, they aren’t enough for many students and many students also fear seeking help from students. I think that any struggling student, probably someone who is failing, and has below a B+ average (I know that may seem as a high grade, but if we want to maintain a respectable rank for education, that should be the bar), should go for mandatory tutoring. Now they may get tutored with any teacher or person of their choice, because the teacher may not be the student’s favorite for learning. China and Japan both have schools after regular school, known as Juku. This helps Chinese and Japanese students better understand the material being taught and be caught up with the entire class, which lets the class move on to other material faster. At the end of the period, I think that teachers need to give students an “exit card” which shows the good or bad understanding students have of the material taught that day.
    3) More Discipline: I think that a majority of the class will write about this, but this is definitely a very major issue that needs to be fixed. Many teachers are not as strict as they should be, and this goes for parents, in my opinion, as well. Students find it so easy to snap back at teachers and their parents, and be completely disrespectful, which earns them barely any punishment, other than “Don’t give me attitude.”, which is not enough whatsoever. Saturday detention is a joke, and attitude is like a second language. Chinese students instinctively know not to talk back and are respectful of their elders. This doesn’t seem to reach American students, who, generally, think life is about partying, having fun, and taking life slow and easy, rather than working hard for a future where they can be successful and content. Homework that hasn’t been completed is mostly answered with “Just make sure you give it to me tomorrow.” Participation also needs to rise; teachers need to have all the students participate in answering questions, presenting, discussing, etc. This will help students in interaction, and if they don’t understand, it helps teachers pick out the students who are having trouble.

    1. I really like your second element! Those kind of extra help are actually very helpful for students who lost interest in study! I started to get 70 on maths when i was in 3rd grade (:P mainly because the tests are way too hard and there is no one helping me except my dad who always get impatient when he teaches me). So i hate maths so much. But my maths teacher is a very responsible person, although she was very cruel and mean, but today i am still very grateful to her for prodding me to correct my wrong answers on the homework and tests and laid me a good groundwork for a good command of Maths.

    2. Ansh, your first point was definately agreeable. Teachers need to understand what they are teaching and they need to be able to teach it properly. If a class fails or doesn't understand, the teacher needs to take over.

  8. Continued!! It was too long...

    4) Vacation Times and Number of School Days: Many students would disagree with the extent of a school year, but I feel it necessary to be done. Not by too much, I think by at least 20 days, which would go a long way. In addition, many teachers complain that the two months of summer vacation lead to students forgetting all the material taught the previous year. This then leads to a whole two months of reviewing everything taught from the year before and wasting time re-learning everything, rather than advancing on to new material. This is why I propose an idea to spread out the vacation times that most American schools have. In India and Japan, there is no summer vacation. Japan gets one month off only. India gets a couple weeks throughout the school year for New Year’s and other traditional holidays. This majorly contributes to the issue of not having students forget everything they learned.
    5) Mandatory Parent/Guardian Involvement: Although this may seem like a harsh implement, it needs to be established. Parents definitely contribute to the failing American systems; which is the cold, hard truth. As a general statement, American parents simply don’t care about their child’s academic performance. In China, as we learned, parents discuss their child’s performance with the teacher in school every single day. This interaction and involvement of parents help them to push their child to work harder as well as let the child be supported through their school life. Parents are a very big influence for their children, and if they don’t work hard to push their child, the child won’t see it necessary to try because their parents hadn’t. Parents spend a majority of their time with their kids, while teachers spend from 40-60 minutes a day. I don’t think I can completely stress how major the issue of parent involvement really is.
    These key elements, if implemented, are definitely going to benefit America’s education system and boost our ranking throughout the world. Students need to try harder, teachers need to be better qualified, parents need to be involved, and discipline needs to be stricter. At the moment, we severely lack all of these important qualities, and we need to fix them.

  9. As an Ambassador for the education in US I would like to implement numerous different things. The top 5 most important and urgent matters would be as follows:
    1) Stricter and more stern punishments for unruly and disruptive behavior. I believe that 30 minutes after school is way too soft. Actually I view it as more of a study hall than a punishment. The reason of this is because many students will just take it lightly and text their friends or do homework. I fail to see the punishment in this, we need to make students reflect on their actions and correct this behavior. Unfortunately, many parents do not teach their kids proper behavior and spoil them, therefore this leads the students to believe they can get away with anything.
    2) Another thing I would like to see implemented is the idea of "Cram Schools". As mentioned in an earlier post by Elijah an americanized version of cram schools would be very beneficial to the students. Cram schools allow students to work with the teachers on problems they do not understand and reinforce the material that was taught. With these cram schools students will have more opportunity to get stuff done and find the help they need.
    3) Sports has always been a very popular topic when it comes to high school. I believe that playing a sport should be a privilege because many students take it the wrong way. Just because you are a great athlete does not mean you are allowed to fail math, or anything of the sort. I believe that athletes should maintain a minimum GPA, in order to continue playing the sport. That way athletes will have both physical and mental capacity, instead of one or the other.
    4) Extending the school year, will be highly beneficial to the students. This allows for teachers to teach more and cover more material allowing the students to become more knowledgeable. Also it may help improve standardized test scores, since the teachers will be able to cover the material in more depth since they have more time. Some teachers rush a few lessons before standardized tests just so the students have a little exposure to it, this however is not beneficial since how can you remember a whole concept you learned in 10 minutes.
    5) The last element i would like to implement is a cooperation system. In other words, a way students can interact with one another and interact with the teachers so they can obtain information they need. This would cover homework assignments due dates, test dates, and extra help dates. This would help lighten the students load and make it easier for the students to keep on top of things and stay organized. This will ultimately benefit the student greatly.
    All these elements are things I feel could help our educational system and improve the quality of students the US produces. Who knows we might even be able to compete with countries such as China, Japan, and India. These are things that we need to fix in order to rise up in educational rankings and be able to compete at a much higher level.

    1. David you had a lot of my points in your blog (which I totally agree with) so I'll just address my opinion on certain things you said. In your first change you made some generalizations. Remember this is all of the USA so you don't know how every school operates. Also in your 4th change how long are we going to have break. Are you suggesting we do it like japan as Thomas stated earlier? Besides these I agree with most of your points

    2. 1. Students definitely shouldn't be taking our punishments lightly, but they choose to do so. I agree with how u say. "fail to see the punishment in this, we need to make students reflect on their actions and correct this behavior. Unfortunately, many parents do not teach their kids proper behavior and spoil them, therefore this leads the students to believe they can get away with anything."It is the right thing to make punishments much more extensive then they are, but what can we do? Students just don't care anyhow.
      3. Sports are definitely "used" by students as an excuse and a way to get out of doing hw. It surely shouldn't be that way, but at the same time I believe sports are very important in the life of a child. HOWEVER, we shouldnt be giving leeway to any students that do well in sports because they are no better than the others.

    3. 1.Stricter and more stern punishments is important for schools. You are right that after school detention is more like a study hall. With stronger punishments, students will show more respect.
      2.Cram schools are a good idea. It will offer extra help to any type of student. I just have a few worries, will we need to pay teachers extra for this? Also, where will they be if a school can’t host them?
      3.Playing sports is a privilege, but sadly many don’t know it is. Having the stay up to a certain GPA will help make them a well-rounded student. If they feel as if they need to play, they will be able to stay up to par with the work.
      4.If we stick to how the education system is now, extending the year does nothing. You need to change the system in many more ways, this way the extension will be worth it. If the system isn’t working, in what ways will more school time effect it? Focus on the systems flaws, then extend the school year.
      5.This would be helpful, but wouldn’t completely lessen a student’s workload. They would still have the same amount of work, just be more organized. There are always pro and cons when it comes to how much connection should a student and teacher have.

    4. 1.) Everyone seems to be agreeing that there need to be more stricter punishments include myself. What is the point of a punishment if it won't effect the student in any way? China and Japan have rigorous forms of punishment for the students that seem to be working since they are some of the top in education.
      3.) I could not stress this any further than students should be able to prioritize their schedule. We are old enough to know how to balance our school work and sports and if grades are decreasing, we know to make a change in our schedule.

    5. 1) Stricter punishments will just lead to students becoming fearful of going to school. These punishments would lower many students' self-esteems and will discourage their attitudes toward school. School would be a wicked and creepy place if we had extreme punishments for even the smallest of things. Students already know the severity of their acts, so severe punishments will just scare them even more than one would think. Students would be scared to have any fun or even just to talk or have a calm disagreement with their teacher. Do you think students like going to Saturday detentions? This punishment definitely urges students to behave, but you always have that group of kids that just won't stop, no matter what.
      3) This is already a rule as Mr. Gehm has stated in class. It was also mentioned in the movie "The Blind Side" and he wasn't able to receive the scholarship for college football if he didn't get his grades up. Students in high school will be kicked out of their sport if their grades don't fit the requirements.

  10. I am ordered to be nominated for the position of United States of America's first Ambassador of Education. Education is an extremely important aspect to our society and seeing that it we have continued to fall behind in the standings I would like to implement some new changes.
    1. Teachers should be paid higher amounts, but at the same time their should be more detailed inquires about the teacher and how they are teaching the students- Teachers are an extremely important part of society and they are training the future of America. Why should they be paid lower than people such as engineers, or surgeons? They have one of the biggest responsibilities in the world and control the future in their hands. Although the decisions are made by us, teachers have a huge role in which way we take our life. If a teacher is not doing what he/she is supposed to be doing and making the students life harder for no apparent reason they will probably not go into the field of that specific subject. However, if a teacher is interactive with the students they will intrigue the students and attract them to the subject of their teachings. We have all had experiences like this as students and we all want them changed. Also, a teacher should be evaluated much more often and randomly to see how a teacher is performing. Sometimes when a teacher is expecting a person to come in they will prepare their subjects and act differently. Even when people come to class to evaluate some teachers act COMPLETELY different. We need to see the real side of teachers, and see if they are leading children to the right path. Teachers are a major part of education and we need to make a change in their field.
    2. We should remove "honor" classes and make everything equal- Creating honor classes makes some people feel lower then others and adds in a whole to stress factor. Although it might make students to work harder, is school really a place for competition? We all need to thrive as a whole and making some people feel lower and higher than each other is not the right thing to do. This technique has succeeded for the Chinese education system and would seem very important in the United States. Removing the honors and lower classes will make everyone think that they are even and equally smart, in turn making them work harder than ever before.
    3. We need to definitely change what we expect from our students and parents need to do the same- The expectations for our students are not very high and need to be changed. We are falling behind and parents/school board members are saying that we are fine where we belong, we are still the land of all opportunities. However, I completely disagree with that. If we are telling our students that they are doing fine as long as they are passing or have B's we are going to go nowhere as a country. Having low expectations will lead to students not trying in school and thinking that they are fine in their position. That is the wrong way to do things and simply too easy. We need to give our students some motivation and enthusiasm to keep them going and working harder. We need to tell them that we are looking for high grades from everyone, not just a small group of people. We are implementing the wrong techniques and changing our expectations will be the perfect thing to do.

    1. 4. We need to bring back career base teachings- If someone wants to be a mechanic, photographer, carpenter… etc. there is nothing wrong with that. We are not giving our students the opportunities to learn the subjects they want and the schedule possibilities we need. In our discussion we had if a person wants to go into a certain career, they should be able to take certain classes that majors in that career. This will not only help our students advance, it will help encourage them and continue to make the necessary changes they need. Why are we waisting our students live's forcing them to take specific subjects that are completely unnecessary and a waste of time? We should introduce students to the subjects and look for interest. There is nothing wrong with having a career such as a mechanic or carpenter. We need to bring back workshops and classes like that to give our students MORE choices and opportunities.
      5. More choices of sports- schools have limited choices in sports and some students aren't able to join the sports they love such as Ping Pong or Male volleyball. This is a problem for me and needs to be changed throughout the whole school. Playing sports is a great way to relieve stress and is very important for a student. Increasing the choices of sports will definitely bring in and interest more people, making the world a healthier place. Sports are definitely a major part of a students life and inserting new sports will make students become a lot more involved.

    2. 1. Without a doubt, I agree with this point that you brought up. I mentioned this in my post as well. Teacher evaluations should occur more often to ensure that teachers are doing their job efficiently.
      2. I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one to be honest. You mentioned how this concept works for China, but you have to remember that China and the US have 2 completely different outlooks towards education. Education in China is top priority (in some regions) and it is basically their future and without it, they would not be successful. THAT is why this type of system works in China. Each student is disciplined and encouraged to do well. Now, on the other hand, in the US, we all come from different backgrounds and the importance of education varies from family to family. Although this is a good system for China, in all honesty, I don't think that this would ever work for the US. It would work if we had the same motivation and encouragement as students in Shanghai, China.
      3. This is a great point. We are becoming way too lenient and getting by with “just passing.” If the students set goals for themselves and family members/guardians cooperate and keep them encouraged, we can do so much more as a country regarding education.
      4. I don’t know if I completely agree or disagree with this. Although this is a good idea, I think that high school students are too young to determine what career they’re going to have years later. Taking various subjects in high school allows students to explore a little bit of everything and then they can make their decision of what they want to be after 4 years of experience in high school.
      5. I’m not sure what this has to do with education. Sports are great for students to get involved and participate in school events. However, sports already act as a distraction for some students. With the reform that I proposed for the extracurricular activities and sports (must maintain at least a B in all classes), I think that a variety of sports can be a good thing for students who are looking to get involved with sports and be active.

    3. 2. I agree with what you say on point 2 and respect your opinion. However education is also a very important priority in the United States and I provided China as only an example. Honor classes don't really do anything for us, but provide a title. It may make some people feel "cooler or smarter" than others that they are in honor classes, but that is not what education is about. What you said about China and importance in education doesn't really have to do with anything since I am talking about the honor systems. However you make some good points and I agree with you.
      4. Kushali you make a good point for this question, but I had thought of the same question before and thought of a very reasonable answer… A student can have MULTIPLE choices. If they are unsure of their career they could be able to take regular classes such as world civ, algebra, or chemistry. No where did I say we should remove those subjects. It is a students choice to choose whatever they want.

    4. 2. Abu, the importance of education in China actually does pertain to the topic because the reason why they do not distinguish between honors, average and below average is because they stress the importance of education so much and they believe that everyone is able to excel at the same level. In the US, we certainly do not believe that. For instance, Mr. Gehm even mentioned to us that parents of students in the World Civ classes were getting upset because they claimed that Mr. Gehm was treating the regular class as an honors class.
      4. Thanks for clearing that up. I intitially thought that the students had to choose those careers/paths and stick with those all throughout high school.

    5. Changing our education system so it doesn't have honors classes would indeed be a long and hard process. Take the STEM Academy for example. We're taking algebra 2 honors, while some people in our grade are taking algebra 1 concepts!! So would we move back down to algebra 1 or would they move up? How would you work this? Because, even if you just took out honors classes but allowed people in the same grade to take different level classes, that wouldn't work out. For example, we would be in algebra 2 and another student would be in, lets say, algebra 1, we are still taking classes with older kids and a higher leveled class. Really any way you do this would cause a boatload of problems.

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  12. If I were to become the United States of America's first Ambassador of Education, I would adapt these five specific rules in order to increase the United States’ ranking to at least, the top ten.
    1.) Standardized Tests: A huge controversial topic when it comes to education is definitely standardized test taking. I believe these tests do not show accuracy in a student’s academic performance. There have been several cases where a student is active in handing in their assignments, participating in class, etc. but when it comes to the test-taking, their performance doesn’t match and may not be as well. Many students can have a “phobia of test-taking” and freeze when they see the test although they know the criteria. I believe standardized tests will not determine more than memorization ability or knowledge they’ll know at the time but will forget later. Additionally, you cannot judge a range of students by one standardized test. I have seen a picture of animals ranging from a fish, elephant, to monkey and the professor is saying “For a fair selection, everybody has to take the same exam: climb the tree.” This goes to show that just because a person might not perform their best on a standardized test, doesn’t distinguish them as “dumb” because they can have many other talents. After all, we should be educated for the future, and not just the present. Standardized testing overall stresses students out and does not benefit their ability in the real world situations.
    2.) More effective punishments: With this rule, comes a certain extent. As we learned about Japan’s and China’s education in class, I realized we needed more rigorous ways of increasing students’ academics. I have witnessed many students not caring about their grades and shrugging off recommended extra help sessions from the teacher or a few hours of detention. Without a change in the penalties students receive, their behavior tends to be disrespectful as well. They’ll additionally misbehave towards their parents who try to help them. In my opinion, “Do better next time” or lectures about making their child perform better in school won’t cut it. However, this should only go to a certain extent because it could sometimes put too much pressure on the students which can lead to a downfall in their performance. In China, students would have to face the entire class correcting their mistakes right then and there which is said to help the student drill the correct information into their brain and benefit the entire class as well. This is most definitely a more effective punishment that will teach students not to take their academics as a joke and strive to try better.
    3.) Teachers: While researching more about the top countries education wise, I realized the importance of teachers being fully qualified for giving the students efficient ways of learning and truly knowing the criteria. I believe teachers should present the information needed to know in ways that the students will remember it forever and not just until the test. Teachers need to have drive and determination to encourage students and lead them to a bright future. They should also have a good connection with the students. I have had many classes where the teachers don’t interact with the students while teaching which mostly leads to the class not paying attention and falling asleep. Teachers should always make sure the students are involved in what they’re learning.

    1. 4.) Technology Use: There are countless advances in technology that are taking place as the generations ascend. We should take these technological advances for benefitting our education. We see all the downfalls of technology in our society today but I believe we put it into positive terms for increasing academic success of students. The textbooks used in school are sometimes out-dated, don’t include the correct information, and are falling apart from the bind. I understand that buying new and improved textbooks for the entire school frequently would cost a fortune but we can put technology into play for this situation. We should utilize electronic textbooks such as kindles, nooks, eTextbooks, etc. which may seem costly initially but keep in mind, they can be more easily updated than textbooks. This would also in a sense encourage students to perform better in school and avoid excuses since they won’t have to lug heavy textbooks home for homework and to each class with only a two minute time range. Not only will the technology help the textbook situation but it can help student understand criteria better with the use of educational games online and other website such as YouTube.
      5.) Extracurricular Activities: Sports, Clubs, etc. are always great to participate in and should be encouraged to take part in since they do hold many benefits. However, there have been many controversies about balancing academics and sports. If playing a certain sport is your “forte”, you should continue with practicing and striving to become the best at that sport you can be but that doesn’t mean you should drop your other priorities. Students should be able to balance their schedule depending on their own circumstances. I believe they should maintain at least a B- in order to be involved with sports because it shows they have the ability to prioritize themselves.

  13. 1) Increase the difficulty of tests and homework.
    The purpose of homework and tests are to help us improve the new knowledge, so increasing the difficulty of homework and tests can help students to have a deep learning of the concepts.

    2) No extra credit is given.
    I feel like extra credit and tolerance of the teacher is what makes American students relatively lazy. Extra credit gives failing students a chance and also an excuse to fail the tests. If there is no extra credit be given, then students who want to pass the class must work hard everyday to maintain a good grade.

    3) The class should have a higher efficiency!
    One thing I feel like the American schools are far behind from China is its working efficiency. In Chinese high school, every class period is only 40 minutes, but the thing I learn in class is 2 times more than the thing I learn in a 56 min American class. Why? Because in America the class will always attracted by some very not-on-topic things and a lot more stupid questions. In here, students likes to ask any kind of question in class but in some other countries, this action can be seen as selfish because he/she is wasting the rest of the students' time.

    4) Learn more REAL knowledge!
    There is a prominent characteristic of a lot of American students, to express their feeling at any time. I mean, this is a good thing because people can be more creative and socialize but the contents in those talking are somehow not at a standard level. A lot of students like to talk, but they can't give out solid knowledge. In my history class in Shanghai, every time when a teacher gives out a question, my class will always answer them in logic ways and gives out a lot of history events as examples...But in here, the knowledge students know are so narrow.You can feel that no matter what question that is, a lot of American students would always and can only relate that to Holocaust, WWII and Hitler. So I believe that teachers really should let students to MEMORIZE more history events and learn some real things.

    5) Choose a major in high school.
    One thing the world is envy at American students is that almost every one has a lifegoal and dream. So in America, the education will never ever become the way China and India is because the students will never accept to force to learn more things. From my opinion, to choose a major in high school can help students to be closer to their dreams. If a student is really bored in maths, English and science but interested in cars, he can choose a technical school so he can learn less in those mandatory classes and spend more time on the things he likes. And for the kids who likes to study, the teacher can gives out more work and challenges.

    1. 1.) I see increasing the difficulty of tests and homework as not benefitting them much. Having harder homework will lead them to getting the wrong answers and believing they are correct which will sidetrack them from knowing the criteria. Making tests harder will only put them under pressure which will make it harder to perform well.
      2.) I agree with the no extra credit policy to some extent. I feel there could be extra credit given in class from winning a jeopardy game, etc. that pertains to the criteria. It shows that they were paying attention and gained knowledge about the specific subject. However, I don't think loads of extra credit assignments should be given as a homework assignment because it doesn't teach them.
      5.) With choosing a major in high school comes many benefits because it encourages and gives you a boost into your future. It will also help educate us in not only the present but future.
      I found it interesting how the classes you took in China were far more different than the U.S. I feel we should adapt some of their ways of teaching since they seem to be prospering in academics.

    2. 1.) Isn't life hard enough as it is? I feel school is a challenge in itself. We should be teaching life lessons. You should choose the courses you will need in the future based on your career choice.
      2.)Our goal isn't to FAIL our students. If you are challenging a student and he/she fails, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't give them a boost. Not every challenge can be overcome. Help may be needed.
      3.) Eh... i agree and disagree. "A question never asked is a stupid question"; somewhat true. If we in America had this attitude than no one would feel inclined to ask questions. The chemistry in the classroom would be awkward and nobody would understand concepts, because of intimidation of being shunned.
      4.) NOT TRUE. That's a bold statement saying that in America we can only relate to Three main things. We learned about the American Revolution, Ancient Greece and its' governments, etc. We have learned so much in our history. Yes perhaps ww2 is overused because it was a big part in our history, BUT i feel it is wrong to say that it is the majority that only say those 3 things.
      I absolutely agree; students SHOULD choose a major so that they know what direction to move their lives into.

    3. Although I must say, incorporating China's education and clashing it with American was a good idea, especially considering that Shanghai and other Major Chinese cities are at the top of the ranks (Globally.).

    4. Gemma, I have to say that I disagreed with most of your points:
      1) I do believe that raising the difficulty may be helpful in some characteristics, yet I really don’t think it would help the American education system to rise in any significant way. Difficulty may just make it too hard for students who are already struggling.
      2) Even though extra credit is something that is thrown around casually by many teachers, I think it’s important to have the opportunity of extra credit. It’s not like you don’t have to work hard for extra credit. Most of the time when I earn extra credit, it’s because I worked hard on a project or something to earn my points if I did poorly on a test.
      3) I really agree with this point. We do tend to become overly distracted too many times and this takes away from learning more, even though we have 40 minute periods. My mother’s school has 40 minute periods, and she says that they go by in the snap of a finger and she can barely get any work done because the students are distracted.
      4) I do agree that many students relate debatable topics with Hitler, WWII, and the Holocaust, but these are some of the most important events in the history of America. Also, I really don’t see how this would help boost the education system if we were to memorize more history events…
      5) While it may be efficient for students to choose a major in high school that will help them to focus solely on their major, I think that High school is a tender time. This is the time that most students are figuring themselves out, and finding out what their interests are, and where they want to head in life. I really wouldn’t want to pick my major in high school because I still don’t know what I like and what I want to become. College is the best time for this.

    5. I didn't mean to put history of America for number 4, sorry!

    6. 2) I disagree with this point highly because the core principle behind extra credit is that it is for those students that strive to go the extra mile, and also, failing a test and using extra credit as a way put, wouldn't necessarily be the best move, considering that extra credit can only boost your grade so much. I personally believe there is not much of a correlation between working hard everyday and setting aside the time to do some extra credit.

      5) As I stated with the Ox, choosing a major in high school is not a good idea because students need to experience a variety of subjects because, a) they can correlate with one another (example: the use of English vocabulary in a scientific lab report) and b) by experiencing several different types of knowledge, we give ourselves a chance to see if there are any other subjects out there that we may like.

    7. Gemma,

      1) I do not agree with increasing the difficulty of tests and homework at all. School for me is already stressful and I could only imagine students that take harder courses. This would only put more stress on us.

      2) Extra credit should be given at a certain degree. Instead of a lot of extra credit, maybe a student could complete a worksheet for some extra points or win a game in class pertaining to the lesson. Cutting it completely wouldn't be a great idea.

  14. The single most important thing for the future of education in America- higher paid and supremely trained teachers that truly care for their students and show love. I learned this from the society presentation of China. The big cities like Shanghai have some of the highest trained and paid educators around the globe and those cities’ superiority in education is massively affected by the teachers. According to an article written by Dr. Robert Brooks (a clinical psychologist) on, the fostering of self-esteem by teachers is so important in students’ success. My brother once told me that his professor told him the majority of teachers, whether aware or unaware, aim to or just do bring students’ self-esteems down. Similarly, some people try to bring out the negative aspects and failures of a person so they can feel grander or superior. But really, they’re just trying to feel better about themselves because they’re jealous of that specific person or they feel remorse on what they have done in their lives. Secondly, all students should have more individualized attention by a guidance counselor to help the student decide what career they would like to pursue. This could be called career counseling. A lot of students don’t know where they’re going in life and this would in turn lead to more students succeeding in school. We should aim to create well-versed people who have an idea of what they will do for a living, not someone who gets all A+’s and doesn’t know what they’re doing after high school. There is a huge lack of interest in TOO many students nowadays, if we simply set everyone on their own individual paths, ranging from a mechanic to a lawyer. A lack of interest in school in many situations correlates to an interest in drugs and alcohol. This idea should be flexible so if a student wants to change their mind at 11th grade, they can. Students need more 1 on 1 attention. Bring in firemen, hair dressers, waitresses, entrepreneurs, taxi drivers, etc. to give the students a broader spectrum of the choices they have career-wise. Have a seminar often to explain the many different careers available. Thirdly, we must introduce more classes that actually enrich students about life itself. The two most important that come to mind are health/sex and philosophy classes. Seeing bunches of teen pregnancies and an obesity rate that’s skyscraper high, teaching students more about philosophy, healthy eating habits, how to take care of themselves, and safe sex would not only make us more well-rounded students, but also make school much more interesting. Students will raise the bar in the schools of America and it will groom model students. We all know of those students that have barely any social skills at all, and they’re just awkward people in general. As a nation, we have to try to bring the youth up as WELL-ROUNDED people who can have no problem making it in the real world. We want people that are going to succeed.

  15. Fourthly, we must take some pressure off of testing because we can all see that the pressure of testing is rising in America. We don’t want it to soon be as bad as China’s pressure now, do we? We should not essentially base salaries of certain teachers off of tests (Renaissance, benchmark). Asking the students would be a much better idea. We have all talked about the stress tests cause, and they even cause teachers stress because they have to work 10 times harder ensuring that we do well! Easing the pressure and decreasing importance of tests will help the cause (that is, education). Lastly, we need longer school days/year. Increase the school year by 20 days and the school day by 1 hour. Although students do suggest they have much stress, it is of utmost importance. This will likely increase interest because the more time you spend at school, the more you’re going to find positive things out of it and enjoy it. Also, teachers often cannot fit what is required to teach in the time slot given. We put some textbooks to waste to an extent, we don’t use the whole thing! With these five tactics, American education will be unstoppable and will be a driving force internationally, thus gaining more respect for the country itself and the people.

  16. It’s truly an honor to be a candidate for the Ambassador of Education for our country. If chosen I will produce change in our education system to empower a better future for all.
    1) My first change would be the quality of our teachers. We must evaluate teachers fairly, but also make sure material is being taught. There should be random evaluations because in my own experience some teachers act and teach differently when they are evaluated. Also, class performance should determine a teacher’s salary. Teachers are a core building block of our education system and we do not pay attention to how crucial a teacher’s job is.
    2) Punishments and detentions should not be taken lightly. During detention these days students either do homework or use their phones. Students will fail to see detention as a punishment and their behavior will not change. Strict punishments should be implemented by schools to make a student think twice before misbehaving.
    3) Academics come before sports. Sports are a key element in a student’s life and help a school gain more rep, however the main goal of school is to learn. If a child is falling behind he/she will be taken out from the sport until the grades become stable. This system should be taken seriously to benefit the student.
    4) Majoring in fields. I think every student should major in whatever field they want to pursue, so they do not waste time on classes they aren’t going to use in life. As Gemma pointed out without having students major in a field they are forced to learn more than they need and majoring would help the student closer to their dreams.
    5) School days should be extended. I think adding an additional 1-2 hours can add up and more time for material to be covered. Many countries like China benefit from longer school days and we can too.
    These changes are how I would make our flawed education system up to par with other countries to make successful students and have a productive future.

    1. Akshay, I have a few problems with the ideas you suggested.
      2) If we would like students to take detention seriously, than allowing them to use their phones is not acceptable at all! Many will just think it is a time play games instead of a time to reflect on what they did wrong and/or how prevent that action

      4) I feel that if you major in a field too early in high school, than you will not of experienced the other professions that could've possibly sparked your interest. Majoring in college makes sense because you've already gone through/seen a plethora of subjects, however the same logic does not apply to high school as such a change would be implemented too early on in the student's education.

    2. 2)Sai, I think YOU misinterpreted what I meant to say. I was saying that students use phones and do homework in detention as of now, and that is TOTALLY wrong because its basically a studyhall for them. I too believe the punishment should be more strict.
      4) Majoring would be a head start for students who want to pursue a field of their choice. Why should we waste the student's TIME for a class he will never use in life. I feel its not early because many students already know what interests them.

    3. Akshay, you too should know that there are students out there who would pretend to "research"on their phone and then actually play games.

      SirFrancis Bacon himself stated "knowledge is power", in that quote there is no mention to knowledge that is, useless.

    4. I do not agree with deciding a major at 14/15. As of now, we are too young to know what we are going to be. We have plenty of time. And if we do not like what we majored in, we would have wasted four years of schooling. Let's leave that to college.

    5. Sai , you misinterpreted me again. How would students research on their phones if my platform wants strict punishments, so phones would NOT be allowed in detention.

      P.s. Nice Quote

  17. Firstly, I'd like to say that it's an honor to be America's newest Ambassador of education. However, moving on to the five changes I will implement, they are, as follows. It will be mandatory for each teacher to have at least a master's degree in teaching, benchmark tests must be given per every marking period, honor and "basic skills" classes are to be removed, no more than 14-20 assigned students (in a classroom) per teacher, and lastly, EVERY high school must set a set amount of hours in which a student must commit to community service/volunteer work.

    Mandatory Master's Degree - The reasoning behind the implementation of this change does not have to do so much with my fondness of this particular degree. Rather, it addresses any concern that a teacher is not well qualified enough to do his/her job. Not everyone may agree with this particular choice, but I feel it is adequate considering it is does not take as long to obtain a doctorate, nor is (the number of years you spend working towards it) too short.

    Benchmark Tests Per Marking Period - Although this particular choice may seem a bit controversial (as not everyone is a fan of these tests) I feel they are a necessary tool in measuring our progress throughout the year. Typically, (in our school) one would receive a benchmark towards the beginning and of the year. While this system does measure how much we have or have not learned, it does not provide an accurate enough picture of how much information we are retaining in the classroom. Therefore, by implementing them every marking period, we can see (more clearly) when a student improves or regresses, throughout the school year.

    The removal of Honor and "Basic Skills" classes - I feel that this system is merely a way of separating students and indirectly telling them (what the school feels) is their capability. As we learned in China's education, by not separating students, we give the impression that everyone has the potential for success. To those who argue that this would hold the "smarter" kids back, my argument is that is those same "smarter" kids help those who require assistance, then subsequently the possibility of being held back in learning due to another student will diminish indefinitely.

    14-20 Students only - This simple rule, as silly as it may sound, holds a simple yet imperative purpose. That is, to insure that students (in classes) get the proper one on one time they need in order for the teacher to suit that student's specific needs. If a classroom is too large, then this will hinder the teacher's ability to do the afore mentioned task.

    Doing Mandatory Community Service / Volunteer Work - The specific amount of hours spent toward community service/volunteer work would be up to the school, however they would still have to be in-between 150 - 300 hours BEFORE graduation. Although the actual numbers themselves have little importance, forcing a student to do community service would force them to look upon the (both small and large) needs of society, and make them appreciate the work they do inside the classroom as an effort to benefit the world around them.

    1. 4) I like the idea of a small classroom, but in reality in cannot be achieved. In densely populated areas like New Jersey it would be impossible. We would need a larger school for more classrooms, more teachers for the students, and a lot of money to put forth your idea.
      5) I agree volunteering should be mandatory as members of society to make our world a better place. Volunteering will help students and as you mentioned appreciate the work they do inside and outside the classroom.

  18. *Side note- mixing American and Chinese education would also be a great idea because they look up to us in some aspects such as creativity, while we look up to them in some aspects such as pure knowledge. It would be like cross-breeding.

  19. Hello people of the earth, my name is Ian, I would like to become the first Ambassador of Education the United States has ever had. I just want to say that i love America, it is the land of the free and the home of the brave. We the people are free to say and do whatever we want, but what does everything in America revolve or come back to...Education. So without a further-a-do, I would like to present my plat form.

    1) Encourage Vocational Education: In todays education system, students are learning things they don't necessarily want to learn. If a child wants to be a carpenter, why should he have to take Algebra 2. All he needs to take is geometry, and then, if offered, training in the field of carpentry. This is what should be promoted in our country, which is why i shall encourage it for every state to take part in.

    2) Limits on Homework: Let's face it, no one likes homework. Plus it causes so much stress on the students. If the students are stressed and are going to bed at such late hours, how do we expect them to produce in school. Look at Finland for example, their students have less then 30 minutes of homework a night. Then look at their international scores, they are in the top five in the world in education. If we want our students to actively participate in school, then there should be a limit on the amount of homework that is given. (less then an hour a night).

    3) The emplacement of S.T.E.M. programs across the nation: STEM is a growing field of study in the world, and judging by our scores in math and science, we are not staying up to par. If we incorporate STEM eduction into the education of our youth, they will face the earth and may make our scores in math and science sky rocket. This will only apply to the kids that want to learn in the field of STEM. This initiative, also for the introduction of STEM technologies into the daily lives of students, so that they are prepared for the quickly advancing world

    4) Take away the S.A.T.'s: I just want to say that this is a very absurd way of judging a students academic abilities. Instead of these obscure tests, colleges across the nation should evaluate a student based on their record. I know that this is partially how the college selection process already, but i'm saying is should be the most important way in figuring out who gets into what college. Life is not based on a test with obscure questions, it is about you as a person what you have done with past education.

    5) Federal grants given to states for education purposes: In some states, schools do not have enough resources or teachers needed to sufficiently teach its students. With these grants given to states by the federal government, the states will have enough money to apply it wherever its needed within the state.

    Those are my major points of my platform, Vote for Ian!

  20. As the United States' first Ambassador of Education, I would quickly fix the education system with these 5 easy, but helpful ideas.

    1) Tolerance. There should be no tolerance policies in school. Yes, you should have fun, but you are there to learn. If a students is being distrupting, it is distracting other students. Thus, affecting other students' learning. With this comes punishment.

    2) Student/Teacher relationships. Students should feel comfortable asking a teacher a question or if they are in need of help. Teachers should be open to helping students and making them want to learn. The teacher should block at least two days after school for extra help and be available for one-on-one tutoring. This will boost the grades.

    3) Embrassing technology. Let's face it. Technology is our future. Schools shouldn't have strict policies against cell phones or any other electronics. Instead of pushing it away, we should embrace it.

    4) Testing. Students should not be judged based on their test scores. Some students do well with testing, but others do not. Others may not do well under pressure. This should not be a way to decide how smart or how knowledgable a student is. The entire year of work - including tests and in class assignments - should be accounted for.

    5) Field Trips. It is extremely important for students to be outside the classroom. They should not be boxed in a classroom all day. They should go out and experience the real world. Students should participate in at least a field trip a month.

    Hopefully these five ideas listed above will help America get right back on top!

    1. 5) I never really thought about field trips, but you point out a great idea. Students should have real-life interactions and learn from the real world because we are not always going to be in a classroom. Great idea!