Education is Key - Knowledge is Power
Overall, I think teachers should be highly respected, highly trained, and allowed to do their jobs and politicians should be listening to the experts in the field and trying their best to make our K-12 and education system the best. Period.
I believe having a strong, world-class education system is vitally important for America (and any society especially in this Century) to maintain its status in the world. I support raising the wages of teachers and attempting to restore the position to one that is desirable, fulfilling and highly respected.
I believe in smart reform of our education system - treating every student with the respect and attention they deserve. I support STEM fields much but understand not everyone wants to be a scientist or engineer or has the capacity or motivation to do so. I believe in a balanced educational system that gives choices and presents opportunities to students of all income levels, academic potential, and so forth. I think developing self-discipline and resiliency (character) is highly important as well.
I think a diverse and balanced education that meets the demands of today's world while still developing students as people is important. I think our education system has in the past and still does focus too much on competition and assessments and developing people to become good "worker bees" so to speak (rote memorization, assessment focusing not on content as much as following instructions and presentation), and less on actual learning, critical thinking, developing skills and problem solving - though it does seem like things are moving in the right direction. I believe education has gotten better, especially with the implementation of 5e learning methods for example (https://lesley.edu/article/empowering-students-the-5e-model-explained) and common core standards have shown some good results (https://www.vox.com/2014/10/7/18088680/common-core) in better preparing students for college but more can be done.
"A republic is built on the foundation of knowledge." - Aristotle
I think it is vitally important that politicians listen to the experts in the complex field of pedagogy. I think some changes are needed in the field such as the teaching of high school biology for example - with so much focus being spent on learning about how cells work when a 14-year-old student doesn't have the frame of reference to understand the importance of what they are learning (for example). I believe college-level type classes are often much better and we should not underrate the ability for young people to learn and learn quickly especially with the internet. I do think a lot of young people and kids are doing great things now and it's not all that bad but that also young people and kids are becoming a bit too mentally fragile and mean to each other and can end up making bad choices in life because of a lot of different factors.
I think politics, religion, and possible corporate influence(s) do not mix in this arena and that our education system has been influenced too much by capitalism and nationalistic thought and arrangement (American exceptionalism) which degrades one's critical thinking, perverts our world views dangerously (while not coming to terms with reality and historical fact(s)), is an insult to past thinkers and revolutionaries and thus decreases our sense of wonder and amazement in regards to the workings of reality, thus science, the human mind and what is possible (teaching us to accept whatever - "what is" instead of questioning, exploring (pioneering and real scientific discovery - expansion - breakthrough - making - including questioning the political and economic systems that are).
The education system in America is failing to serve our society (by and large, to what it should (and be striving for) and could be) - often influenced in its design - setup (and it is because I believe), for -> "Profits over people". - My thoughts and solutions are varied on the subject but here are some as they relate to P-K-12 education:
I think our education level at various levels throughout the entire education system need be upped (or "leveled-up") and re-organized and rethought: I believe, at the high school level, we should be teaching (as offerings - choice) 2-year (as of now) college-level type of classes such as English Composition 1 and 2 at the high school level for students wanting a "standard" high school diploma that is appropriate for a college transition, whereas, the other option would be a more applied or more like a vocational diploma; generally specialized for the particular student's interests (limited by the school and school systems ability to offer the experiences and training/learning), thus preparing them to either enter into the workforce or go into college. And so, the overall effect, and what I think should be, is the lowering by 2 years of all education (or upping the level of by two years) - thus the first two years in college and the level of education and classes one would be getting then, would be akin to or like the last two years of college in a 4-year degree now. Then the last two years of a 4-year degree in college, should be more akin to the 2 years in acquiring a Master's degree now (along with the often, as of now, on-the-job experience or experiences required in most Master's degree programs or equivalent). I think as of now, a lot of time is wasted in our K-12 education, and that the standards and the level is too low, and too boring" and that students/people are capable of much better, it is just that the system is not very good. I believe also then, that a middle school diploma should hold about as much weight as a high school diploma, as the high school diploma does now (qualifying one for all of the jobs and work that a high school diploma or equivalent does as of now (I would definitely make the argument that in a lot of cases, learning tails or curtails off in/at our current high school level, that after the middle school point, most students would be able to pass a GED diploma receiving test and are capable of the jobs that, as of now, require a high school diploma only)).
Learning how to learn is the most important aspect of learning and the latest and greatest ways to learn are not taught to the majority - for example, MindValley.com's - Jim Kwik's "Superbrain" class is amazing (video presentation of it here and a playlist here). Ancient but forgotten (lost) memory techniques to improve recall (examples - just Youtube search "how to memorize").
Other Various Issues:
Technology: - Technology is very important in K-12 education but some of the richer people in the world and in our country (such as in California - Silicon Valley) actually pay good money to send their kids to schools that don't use technology and computers at all. There is much value in hands-on learning, writing, conversing, etc. without the use of technology. I think technology needs to be integrated but not overly relied upon. I think we could implement more troubleshooting skills into curriculum and obviously with the internet, the evaluation of sources - being able to tell the difference between truth from fiction is highly important.
Wi-fi: I believe wi-fi and EMF exposure is dangerous and that electronic devices are in general, bad for kids (addicting).
Standardized Testing: We should not teach to test, this is a horrible way to learn as people and students cram to try to memorize other than actually investigating, developing, and learning. Some schools I believe are getting better in a lot of ways but still, overall we have an overreliance on standardized testing and many areas, falling education levels" in reading, writing, math, and other subjects.
Physical Activity: I believe and it is scientifically up-to-date, that exercise is good for our brains, physical contact is good for our mental health and well-being. I am for increased field trips including outdoor excursions. I am for increasing arts and home economics into K-12 education. Am for teaching more useful hands-on and natural knowledge such as implementing a permaculture class into high schools that would implement a lot of outdoor activities. I support classes or initiatives that would make it possible for schools to hire outdoor recreation professionals or related businesses - similar to the boy scouts and military and survival type of trainings that can improve character and teach pragmatic down-to-earth skills and knowledge.
- I am against the increased sexualization of our youth and society including, the teaching and allowability of sexual orientations (and similiar) as identity. I am against violence including the divisions and effects that this focus has in our society including the classroom. I am for banning all sexual-related talk in school and making it punishable via teachers if they overhear such talk and gossip in the school - to a reasonable degree. I am for re-education and always giving kids and people more chances though and against punishments that work against a student from attending school (also potentially causing hardship for the student's family, especially so) or that causes them a loss in their education such as missed class time and missed learning opportunities. We should be able to creatively think of ways to put students on the right track, not reinforce apathetic or negative behavior.
Teacher-student evaluations: I believe students should be randomly surveyed about their teachers throughout the school year. I believe this would be good for the teachers in improving their teaching and/or curriculum and for the schools in assessing teacher performance. The students should be free to honestly critique. The results could also be shared with parents a week or two before parent-teacher conferences and so the parents understand their kid's point of view about the teacher or a teacher. Personal preferential likes and dislikes should be noted "in-lieu-of" - and the adults should ideally act as adults with teachers given much respect and freedom to do their job in which they believe would be best and "as needed".
Teacher's pay and the school: I think teachers should be more respected for the work they do and more highly paid with more autonomy and leeway unto the school (giving teachers/people more chances and the school and its board and superintendent etc. more freedom).
Gifted and Fast Track students: In other countries, gifted students can graduate and start working on master's degrees while still quite young. I support fast-track programs for students even in lower economic classes - poor areas such as urban and rural areas (working to develop policy that can scale down and be implemented for students to have ways to go more at their own pace and not be held back by the education system).
I would support the segregation of larger schools and school districts based on gender especially as students enter the middle and high school years. I believe that the inter-mixing of sexes creates various social effects that take the focus off of learning and creates various peer pressures and various cults or groupings of people more so than if the school was segregated by sex. I believe that segregation has a positive aspect on personal character/development and better prepares the individual for life after school where all of the interpersonal (or social) dramas of high school (and middle school) then are but silly memories and inconsequential in one's life and in real life (for the vast working majority, but also, it is, and would be, fine and good for the wealthy or well-off as well). - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single-sex_education
"Critical Race Theory": I support the teaching of historical fact - with all of its (/or - humanity's at large) injustices - including slavery. - Now as far as curriculum, and a huge or"unsubstantially large" focus on gender and race being taught in high school classes, it is a more discerning and finer, more detailed issue. Generally, we implement in our education system, more specialized and focused classes being taught in college for a specialized and more focused degree (I wouldn't advise one to take those classes or major in that area but it is an offering we have today - and I lack experience with all that is actually taught in those classes but I question (quite highly) the utility of specializing in those specific fields within the broad spectrum of history). - I support things and issues being taught that can, and should, make people feel uncomfortable, including the historical facts of gender and sex and race inequalities but not to the detriment of social coherence (what is...best for social coherence? and who gets to decide that? - modern western civilization with all of our problems and debates? just a question) and with the consideration of the possible exclusion of the teaching about other human development or developmental and world history. Common sense...how much utility does it bring to society and how much time is going into any one particular area or subject? - And what for? What really matters? (about the economics and history of the world and human relations/development) that can lead to real positive change? - Not just moral ideological (fake) liberal sense of superiority(ies) - real coherence is not found in beating each other up and/or one-upping each other via egoic ideological dogma - recognize race, recognize gender, differences and similarities of all and different people, different backgrounds, different cultures, - no need to blow it out of proportion, should be a positive thing to learn about and from history. - There are tons of things a person can learn but only a limited amount of time in a person's life.
References and videos:
Rising College Debt and the Bachelor's Degree as the "new high school diploma":