Stuart Buck praises Barker Bausell’s Too Simple to Fail: A Case for Educational Change, which argues that “the only thing that improves education is spending more time on instruction at a given child’s level.”
Bausell suggests adding pre-K (using direct instruction) BS lengthening the school day and year. Schools would focus on relevant instruction, eliminating time wasters such as “candy sales, worthless school assemblies, loudspeaker announcements, sports activities, ad nauseam.” Disruptive students would be removed from class. (“If this means that we have to leave certain children behind because they can’t meet behavioral expectations (or we don’t know how to enable them to conform), so be it.”)
In addition, Buck summarizes:
The entire curriculum should be exhaustive and detailed, and computerized tests should be based exclusively on the curriculum.
. . . Teacher behavior should be “monitored constantly to ensure the delivery of sufficient instruction, as well as satisfactory coverage of (and minimal departures from) the established curriculum.”
. . . Use efficient instructional methods. Bausell points to an example of inefficiency: “My son once had a teacher who had an elaborate class project involving building a medieval castle out of popsicle sticks that stretched over a period of several months. Regardless of what the teacher thought she was accomplishing, this is valuable time wasted . . . ‘”
Finally, recruit volunteer tutors who can help students practice reading sight words or learn math with flash cards.
Most teachers are supposed to “differentiate instruction” for children with a wide range of learning needs. Some students are way ahead, some on track, some way behind. Some speak English fluently; some don’t. A few students have disabilities. Others are behavior problems. If teachers had more time, no distractions and groups of children working at the same level . . . Teachers, what do you think?