Jonathan's education philosophy
Eliminate Standardized Testing
Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC) serves no practical purpose for either students or teachers. It is discriminatory and a huge waste of time and money that has become a constant drag on our educational system. Oregon should consider forming a committee of K-12 educators and community members to develop our own state standards and design minimally invasive assessments that effectively monitor student progress at every grade level. Withdrawing from the SBAC and Common Core Standards is in the best interest of our students.
Hire staff with the goal of staff diversity that reflects student diversity. Create a school environment that explicitly embraces students of color, disability, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic, or other differences that can lead to discrimination, bullying, or marginalization.
Smaller Class Sizes
Data show that students are more successful when class sizer are smaller. Target levels should be: Grades K-1st 12 to16 students; Grades 3rd-5th 16 to 20 students; Grades 6th-8th 20 to 24 students; and grades 9th-12th 22 to 24 students. The ability to develop a relationship with an individual student is a powerful predictor of success.
Develop Community Partnerships
There are tremendous resources available by partnering with our local business and organizations. This is an area of opportunity for our students and community that unfortunately goes largely untapped.
Rethink What and How We Teach
Learn to 'cross-teach'. The first step to engagement is to teach what is meaningful and relevant to the student. Determine what is a 'need to know' versus meeting a standard. Teach personal finance through math, teach civics, history, and geography through language arts, music and vice versa. Develop new metrics of success and celebrate achievement wherever it occurs.
Create Compelling Schools
Provide an exciting academic and social experience that makes students want to attend and engage. School, learning, and the social aspects of the school experience should be a joyful and rewarding experience. Attendance issues, behavioral issues, and other barriers to learning will be greatly reduced if we can rethink what our schools could and should be.
Full Funding for K-12 Education
At a minimum, fund to the level suggested by the Quality Education Model (QEM), Revisit the QEM to determine that it is still relevant and addresses current needs for a robust, holistic education. Shift from our current Efficiency Model of funding (spending the least to get the most) to a personalized Effectiveness Model (funding to the level where all students can succeed.
Reduce Hierarchy of Subjects
Due to standardized testing our system is heavily weighed towards Language Arts and Math. Both are important subjects, but ignore 1) the way students learn, and 2) the individual talents and capabilities each student has. Increase the quality and quantity of opportunities for students by fully supporting Career and Technical Education (CTE), Civics and Government, Performing and Fine Arts, Science, Foreign Languages, and other subjects that have been marginalized in our singular focus on standardized testing.
Expand Mental Health Services
One in five students and adolescents experience mental health issues during their school years. Stress, anxiety, bullying, depression, learning disabilities, and family problems are just a few of the issues that adversely impact student success. Students can't learn if they are not physically and mentally healthy. Provide students with the help they need.
Schools as Community Centers
Our schools are uniquely positioned to serve as the hub for a myriad of frontline services that can support students and families in our community. Fully utilize our taxpayer-funded buildings by providing adult education classes, social service counseling, and other services that meet the diverse needs of our community.
Trust and Value Staff
Pay attention to the people working in the trenches. Teachers, Educational Assistants, and support staff work with our students on a daily basis and are a valuable source, often overlooked, for finding strategies and solutions that work.