Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Kind of School I Would Like to See

A big problem with schools is that the free market gets flipped on its head. Students rarely get to choose their teachers. When they do, the choice is made primarily on the easiness of getting an A. Even if a student does choose a teacher for being good at teaching, the teacher is not rewarded. Ultimately, there is little competition among teachers whose salaries are based primarily upon seniority.

In a system that does not reward good teaching, there won't be many good teachers. I would like to see a school where each teacher chooses the price for their course and is paid for each student that elects to take it. They pay the school a fee for the use of its resources, but keep the rest as profit. 

One problem with this system is that students will still choose their classes based on easiness. The only way to give students the right incentive is to eliminate the GPA and "degree." Instead, each course should be treated separately. Each teacher chooses their own grading method: percent, letter grade, pass fail, position in class, or even no grade at all. There are no mandatory courses. Maybe, a standardized test is given by each department as a requirement for graduation, but nothing else. 

A problem is then: what do the graduates show potential employers? That is the hard part. In the current system, there is a nice, simple number that they can show off. In my imaginary school, the employers will have to look at a complicated list of courses with a variety of different grading methods. Maybe, resources will develop that help potential employers to assess graduates. Maybe, not. I don't know the answer.

In the end, what I want is not really a school, but a market of learning. I want to to transform the school into a grocery store where the staff members are employees, the teachers are food brands, the courses are food items, and the students are hungry customers.

A flea market is a good analogy too.

Right now, its more like a factory where the teachers are minimum wage employees and the students are well packaged, identical products.

And what is with those graduation hats?! Not the ones in this picture, which are weird too.
Just, graduation hats in general are very strange. And the gowns?...

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