Why We Need “A Bill of Rights for Students 2012”
There are already many Bills of Rights for Students. Most emphasize how schools or teachers should treat students. Typically, that would be gently. Heaven forbid we should place any burden on these delicate minds. Here is the problem from an educational point of view. At the end of the day, if all these rights are accommodated, the children could still end up as ignorant as they were a year earlier.
A Bill of Rights for Students 2012 emphasizes skills and knowledge that the students are ENTITLED to learn, and that schools must teach.
A Bill of Rights for Students 2012 is based on the concluson that all the arguments, the excuses, and the endless murky debates we hear in the press are beside the point. Not one explains the actual problem with the public schools. Which is simply stated: they have stopped doing their essential work, i.e., teaching stuff. (They seem to feel that their mission is babysitting, busy work, and political correctness.)
A Bill of Rights for Students 2012 suggests that the Education Establishment has descended a long way from what it should be doing. Students are left in a soft vacuum. You see them on “Jaywalking,” not knowing the simplest things. You look at the NAEP literacy scores and realize the two-thirds of young Americans are less than “proficient” in reading. You look at surveys of basic knowledge (“Where is Alaska?”), and you realize a huge percent of the population doesn’t know much. How are we to sustain a democracy when the people are kept wrapped in ignorance?
So what radical advice does A Bill of Rights for Students 2012 propose? Merely the obvious. Children have a right to learn basic math. They have a right to learn to write, in both senses. They have a right to know history, geography, science, and real critical thinking. They have a right to acquire facts and knowledge.
The first and most important right is THE RIGHT TO LEARN TO READ. Illiteracy, rampant throughout our culture, is a threat to the nation. (Furthermore, I now think it’s fair to say that leaving children illiterate is to deprive them of a basic civil right. Why isn’t the DOJ suing major public school systems, as a way of harassing the others into doing a better job?)
A Bill of Rights for Students 2012 can be a tool for parents in their dealings with a local school. Simply send a copy of A Bill of Rights for Students 2012 to the local school, with a personal note such as, "Let's try what actually works?"
A Bill of Rights for Students 2012 can also be a tool in local community politics. Imagine that, in each town in America, the Mayor or another VIP holds a press conference and says, “Here is our blueprint. I’ll be spending the next few weeks chatting with administrators and students, to find out if this level of educational activity is taking place. If not, why not?”
A Bill of Rights for Students 2012 can be found in printable form at this link.
The whole piece is only 900 words. Here are the ten rights:
1) THE RIGHT TO LEARN TO READ.
2) THE RIGHT TO MASTER BASIC ARITHMETIC.
3) THE RIGHT TO WRITE, IN BOTH SENSES.
4) THE RIGHT TO KNOW CORRECT SPELLING.
5) THE RIGHT TO GEOGRAPHY.
6) THE RIGHT TO LITERATURE.
7) THE RIGHT TO HISTORY.
8) THE RIGHT TO SCIENCE.
9) THE RIGHT TO MEMORIZATION.
10) THE RIGHT TO REAL CRITICAL THINKING.
There is also a condensed 3-minute video version.
(Bruce Deitrick Price specializes in analysing the flawed theories and methods that sabotage our schools. Improve-Education.org has articles on Whole Word, Constructivism. Cooperative Learning. Critical Thinking, Learning Styles, Reform Math, etc.)
About the Author
Bruce Deitrick Price is an author, artist and education reformer. He has 250 education articles, videos, and book reviews on the web. For a quick sense of what's wrong in our public schools, see "56: Top 10 Worst Ideas in Education" on Improve-Education.org.
His YouTube videos have gotten over 650,000 combined views. For a short version of what went wrong, see "Good School, Bad School" (about 3.5 minutes).