Our education system is severely outdated, forces students to memorize information that doesn't interest them or is of no use to them outside of school, and as a whole, remains directionless. To modernize and upgrade our education system, I support five educational reforms that make up what I call True Asynchronous Learning and another three that are unrelated.
True Asynchronous Learning
(1) Consolidating All Learning Material
I support the consolidation of learning material for all subjects taught in school through a single navigable website. Using numerous links, this website would provide students and teachers easy access to reading material, study material, practice assignments, projects, practice quizzes and practice tests, downloadable tests and quizzes for teachers, different lectures from participating teachers, step-by-step solutions to problems, etc. This would allow students to find answers to any of their questions, allow them to study and learn material on their own time, allow them to access material taught in a different manner by other lecturers/teachers, and give them access to subjects and classes not taught at their school. Teachers would benefit by having access to downloadable tests, quizzes, reading material, projects, assignments, study material, etc.
(2) On-Campus Testing Centers
Having an on-campus testing center at each school (likely replacing the school library) would give students the opportunity to test and receive credit in subjects and courses not taught at their school, test ahead without interfering with standard teaching, and allow them to retake failed tests on their own time. In collaboration with (1), testing centers would have access to tests for all classes and subjects.
(3) Replacing Letter Grades with an Area of Completion System
In an area of completion system, students would know every assigned quiz, paper, or test and the minimum score needed on each in order to receive credit and pass the class. This would help to standardize classes and courses throughout the country, make it possible for students to test ahead in subjects and classes they excel in, and allow students to test and receive credit in classes and subjects not taught at their school.
(4) Multiple Levels of Difficulty for Tests, Quizzes, Papers, and Assignments
Creating multiple levels of difficulty for tests, quizzes, papers, and assignments goes hand in hand with (3). Students who excel in subjects and classes would be able to display their level of proficiency by completing material that is more difficult and use that to separate themselves from other students in order to get into better colleges. This would also benefit students who struggle with or are uninterested in certain subjects since they would only need to complete material that is most basic to just pass a class. Students should be allowed to spend more time on subjects and areas they excel at or are interested in while not getting penalized too harshly when the opposite is true.
(5) Periodic Retesting
Leaning is a continuous process. The more you go over previously learned information, the more likely you are to retain it. Periodic retesting would resemble the following: after a student passed 3 classes in the same subject, they would need to pass a fairly basic cumulative test made up of questions from those 3 classes. After passing another 2-3 classes in that same subject, they would take another cumulative test made up of questions from those 5-6 classes. This process would repeat itself the further a student advanced in a subject.
Greater Inclusion of Right Brain Learning
I support the teaching of traditional ‘left brain’ subjects to take place before lunch (math, science, history, language arts, etc.) and then after lunch switch to more ‘right brain’ activities (music, theatre, art, sporting activities, games, social activities, etc.). Creating a more balanced approach to learning will help students stay engaged throughout the school day and place more emphasis on skills that are needed to be successful in many careers.
Trade School and Vocational School Options
Our education system is terrible at promoting jobs that do not require a college degree. Not everyone needs a college education to be successful in life. That’s why I am in favor of allowing students to enroll in a trade or vocational school of their choosing once they turn 15. This would allow students to obtain or advance their skills in areas that are necessary for many well-paying jobs.
Ending General Education Requirements in College
I am in favor of ending general education requirements in college so students can focus solely on taking classes for a specific degree. While you can definitely learn a few things from general education classes, for the most part I view them as a waste of time and money. The issue I have with a four-year degree system is that it almost forces high school graduates to enroll in college immediately to start knocking out these requirements. By ending general education requirements, we would allow high school graduates to hold off on enrolling until they have a better understanding of what they want to do in life while also making college more affordable.