Right now, we are in the heat of a battle over Common Core testing. In Ohio, our students just started their 3-weeks of PARCC assessments. In districts, all over the state, parents are opting their students out of these tests. It has caused so much of a stir that the Ohio House of Representatives voted on Bill HB7 and it unanimously passed the house. This bill removes any punishment for parents opting their students out of the Common Core Tests. Clearly, the outcry from parents, teachers, and student has been heard by the political class.

Now that the few and powerful that support Common Core are on the defense it is time that we repeal this horrendous legislation. In politics, it is easier to replace a law then repeal the law. This is because people want a solution to the problem, not just another quick fix. It is time that we resolve the issue of education in the United States once and for all.

First, we need to abolish the Department of Education (DoED). They take $67.1 billion dollars from communities! It is time to get that money out of Washington and back to our local schools. This department not only takes money, but produces horrible education programs i.e. Elementary and Secondary Education Act, No Child Left Behind, and Common Core. It is as if they are competing to see which administration can produce the worst one-size-fits-all education program.

The worst part of DoED is that they suppress the most important voices: Teachers, parents, and students. This can be fixed through a program called, “School Choice”. School choice is simply allowing parents the choice on where to send their students. Parents who live in one city can enroll their child in a neighboring city school if they want. Students will not be restricted by their zip codes. This program already exists in a lot of states, but should be expanded to include all private schools and funding for homeschooling. By doing this, all students will be given the individualized program that they need to succeed.

Abolishing the Department of Education and School Choice are both something politicians need to do to fix our education system, but there is something the rest of us can do now. We need to start focusing on student’s unique talents, creativity, and entrepreneurial skills. The theory of multiple intelligences has been out for 30 years. In the professional world it is has been accepted as truth. As teachers and parents, we should focus our attention on what is special about each student. Then exploit these traits. It is better to teach a fish to swim faster than waste time teaching them to climb trees.

Another crucial side effect of programs like Common Core is the destruction of creativity. We are teaching students that there are one right answer and it is typically answered C. This type of education has to stop! It is teaching students to follow directions, not come up with an innovative solution. The key to creating a successful student is by helping them think for themselves.

Unique talents and creativity are important, but they are useless unless students know how to market themselves. To be successful, a student must learn how to use their talents to make a profit. In a perfect world, there would be no need for jobs because everything would be provided. We do not live in a perfect world and therefore we have wants and needs. We have farmers who grow our food so we don’t have to. We have hair stylists that style and cut our hair, so we don’t have to. And we have massage therapists, for lazy spouses. There are jobs because they make people’s lives better.

Students should be shown how they can use their unique talents creatively to make other people’s lives better for a profit.

This is currently being done in Pandora-Gilboa High School. Mark Suter the technology teacher created a self-sustaining entrepreneurial school club called, “Rockettec“. This spectacular program starts with students taking his technology course then they are given the option to join the “club”. As students are taking the second part of the course they create contracts with local businesses to provide websites, advertising, and video production.

One student is suggested to be team lead by the teacher. That student is 100% in charge of the project and Mr. Suter is simply there as a resource for the students. When the contract is fulfilled the company pays the group. If the student fails there is no bailout. Mr. Suter said, “that it is important to let students fall on their face and fail”. These students see first hand how failing affects their reputation.

Another amazing feature to Rockettec is that all students come into the class with an A. Mr. Suter tells them on day one that they all have an A in the course. Then asks them what they want to do. This is exactly what we need to see more of in our schools! Teachers and students focused on a final project instead of a final assessment.

All of the programs that come from the Department of Education are focused on assessment, but assessments will not help a student create a business or get a job.

But experience will! 

As we near closer to the repeal of Common Core, we should be focusing on the solution, not the problem. The problem is the Department of Education and their goal to create the best one-size-fits-all program. The solution is teachers and parents working with students to enhance their unique talents, creativity, and entrepreneurial skills.