How to Improve Public Schools

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One of the most prevailing notions about the public school system is that it is sorely in need of some form of reformation that makes students more willing to attend and better able to learn once they are there. According to the articles “School is Bad for Children” and "Making Children Hate Reading" by John Holt, he states that schools should be attractive so that students will be motivated to go to school. The most effective methods to make public schools more attractive to students are taking away mandatory attendance, placing a heavier emphasis on less concrete forms of intelligence, and having teachers form a personal connection with the students.

As Holt states one way to change the school system would be to take away the mandatory attendance. While this might seem extreme, Holt argues that it would provide students with much more freedom. If the students’ attendance were more voluntary, it would make them more eager to come to school because they would feel like it was their choice. They would feel like free empowered citizens rather than prisoners. In addition, the students would know that they would be at school only with other students who wanted to learn because students who did not want to learn would not attend. The freedom of choice and the opportunity to interact with other engaged learners would attract students to the school and make them more eager to learn with other students.

Furthermore, if schools placed heavier emphasis on different forms of intelligence, students would learn better and want to attend school. According to the article “Multiple Intelligences and Emotional Intelligence” by David Miller Sadker and Myra Pollak Sadker, the authors stress the need for a change in curriculum. Rather than measuring student intelligence by tests and IQ scores, schools should treat intelligence as something less strictly defined. The authors believe that placing a heavier emphasis on multiple intelligences would help students with strengths in more abstract subjects such as music, art, and athletics. By integrating things such as music and bodily movements into classes, students with different intelligences would learn better. This would help to level the playing field for students who are intelligent in different ways from other students. The students would feel like they were doing well in school and would be more willing to come. In addition, if the school relied on things such as diverse portfolios as a measure of student improvement, rather than tests, students’ diverse skills would be taken more seriously. Not all students learn in the same way, so schools and teachers should make learning as accessible as possible to students with different intelligences. Then they would learn better and be more willing to come to school.

Finally, teachers can improve public schools by forming personal connections with students to make learning and attending school more effective and enjoyable. In the article “The Teacher Who Changed My Life,” Nicholas Gage describes his personal experience with a teacher who gave him individual attention. This teacher made him feel like a loved and respected human being, as opposed to a nameless rank-and-file student. There is a severe lack of individuality within students. Teachers who recognize the uniqueness of each student would make students feel more confident because they would know that they were seen and respected as a person and not just a student. They would feel like someone knew and appreciated their individual personality. Knowing that there was at least one person at the school who genuinely cared about them would make them more willing to come to school.

Overall, the reformation of the public school system is necessary so that students are willing to attend and to learn. If the public school systems removed the mandatory attendance policy, students would feel empowered and would be more willing to come and learn with other engaged learners. In addition, if schools tailored learning to students with multiple intelligences, students would learn in a way that they understand better, which would help them to enjoy it more. This, in turn, would make them more willing to attend. Finally, if every student had a strong relationship with a teacher who was genuinely interesting in them, it would make attending school and learning more enjoyable for students. Hopefully, public schools will be improved in these ways and students will be motivated to attend and learn in schools.