What Works and Doesn’t Work in Education

img_2221During my 24 years as a teacher and even before that, I experienced what worked for me to successfully reach students. The common ground for most teachers who reach children and students is they care. One of the ideas that I saw work, was prior to my teaching in a school system. I was fortunate to live in another country which values education highly. That is the country of Switzerland.
Most of the European countries put education at the top of the list near health care to provide for their citizens. It was there that I saw and heard of “Apprenticeship”- as a form of training and teaching in certain fields and professions. This kind of apprenticeship has NOTHING to do with the fake “Reality” show of which Donald Trump was a star. This is NOT entertainment.

One thing I witnessed in Switzerland was that their education system provided many paths to education. At 15 years old students went to different tracks in education. One of those tracks was to do apprenticeships in many different fields. In the USA we act like everyone is going to finish the same high school, which is academic. That kind of education does NOT serve all parts of our population. Instead some of those students end up dropping out of school and have no path to employment, which leads them down the road to poverty.

This REAL apprenticeship works to help train students and actually is run by the German Corporation, Grenzebach, in the state of Georgia. At the end of three years the students participating will be certified Industrial Mechanics by Germany. The program begins when the students are 15 years old. Take a listen.

This is from the August 5, 2016 program of Here and Now on NPR radio. You can listen to the podcast. The story is in the First Hour of Here and Now from the 37-40:23 minutes.


You will NOT hear any “You’re fired” in this podcast.

We Americans do not have to reinvent forms of education that work to train people to become skilled workers who can earn good incomes. Apprenticeships have been working well for hundreds of years. As educators we need to just open our minds and do what works, not what is expedient or cheap! Let’s invest in all children’s futures.

As a former teacher I have great respect and empathy for most teachers. This story shows what IS NOT working in American education.

This last weekend I heard another story about GOOD and excellent teachers and why they are quitting before they reach retirement age. This is a REAL problem. I have known many teachers where this has been the case. We usually lose the teachers who care the most because they are so micromanaged by outrageous paperwork and administrative oversight that has almost NOTHING to do with teaching or being an excellent, caring teacher who has made a difference in many children’s lives.

The paperwork has become “soul sucking” as the teacher, Rick Young, calls it. It is pretty sick that after 25 years of great teaching, administrators need to take time away from good teaching and lose people such as, Rick Young, who really cared and worked tirelessly to insure their students’ success.

This is from “Weekend Edition, Saturday, September 3, 2016
The title of the show is:
“A Veteran Teacher Quits Under a Weary Load- and He’s Just One of Many”