Jp, the testimony by Matt Damon is nice, and heartwarming. Thanks, Matt, glad you had some great teachers, and were able to find Good Will Hunting. It is only sort of consitstent with my point, though.
Good teachers that change lives are certainly what it’s all about. However, we need some major changes to the SYSTEM, too. Getting rid of standardized testing is a start, but it needs to be replaced with other things too.
One good thing NCLB did was rid of us of social promotion- promoting kids who are not actually passing. Another good thing it did was allow schools to compare with each other, albeit in a flawed manner.
I favor overhauling schools in allowing a much more open, self directed system, whose accountability method is a knowledge, skill and behavior checklist. There would be accessible internet all over the school, and much more. Regular field trips, lots of visiting experts, and more. The teacher’s job moves from lecturing and controlling behavior to mentoring, facilitating, observing and – yes occasionally, still – teaching. When a kid is ready to do or manifest something, the teacher checks it off. They may be at a 6th grade math level, a 4th grade social studies level, and 7th grade science level. Furthermore, teachers should observe social and other affective things in students, too.
I DON’T advocate some sentimental return to the good old days of Matt Damon’s childhood. We need a system that helps more kids to succeed, in better ways.