The K-8 Plan

THE BIG GOALS:

1. Increased emphasis on civics in K-5 classrooms

2. 21st-century K-8 Policies and Standards

3. Implementing Revolutionary "Pod" Learning

Education is not one size fits all, so why do we keep treating it like it is? Students from all sorts of backgrounds with different strengths and weaknesses simply require different things to optimally learn. Neurodivergent and neurodiverse individuals are left behind in all corners of the education system because they are forced to fit into learning environments which not only are often ineffective in accessing their full potentials but often are even detrimental towards their lifelong well-being. Many children struggle with standard instruction do so because of that fact: it is just standard. No two people are the same, so the perpetuation of systems and educational structures that reinforce the one-size-fits-all mentality is not just an outdated mindset for individual instructors, but also in educational standards of instruction, administration, and interactions. Every parent wants the best education possible for their children, so providing something that is ideal for a fictional “median” student is not only an affront to parents’ hard work in raising their children as individuals but also totally inefficient in using resources to best educate wonderful, diverse, brilliant children.

The first step in changing this broken and outdated system is to implement new, district-wide standards that teach students with the method(s) of instruction that best work for them, not just for the district’s bottom line. This plan is based on the world’s top education system, Finland. Emphasizing equitable education with individualized guidance and support of educators and school staff will create a better learning and growing environment for children, something that is desperately needed. This can be found in the form of greater rigor of K-8 educational standards and increased focus on civics (particularly the role of government, community, and education in everyone’s lives) in K-5 students, both of which have been scientifically proven to improve adult quality of life, income, and community/civic participation. Other tweaks to create a more holistic learning environment that is necessary to become a premier school district include M-F 9 a.m. start times for all grades, guaranteed school meals for everyone who needs it, and continuing to offer the STAR program.

The second step is using a “pod” model of grade 1-5 school education. By using the evaluative resources at our fingertips, teachers can assess student cognitive similarity ranges and learning compatibility by the end of Kindergarten, and from 1st until 5th grade, students will be put in “pods” of 3-5 like-minded and similarly-learning students that they will remain with until middle school. By emphasizing qualitative and quantitative compatibility, students will be able to receive more personalized education, resources can be distributed more efficiently, and students will be better socialized and form core friend groups that aid emotional development. Any teacher can tell you which students work better in groups or by themselves, with visual or auditory learning, are good at math or history, etc.- forming these groups will just make it easier for students to get the education they deserve. These groups aren’t particularly abnormal either- families are already forming independent “pods” to help ease the financial strain of caring for and educating children at home during the COVID pandemic- this program is a formalization of initiatives BHUSD parents are taking independently to better their children's educations. Parents know what’s best for their children, so it’s time to listen to them and offer innovative education inspired by their choices.

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Paid for by Benjamin Liker for School Board 2020. FPPC ID 1430592