New Organization Seeks Teachers' Input From Across America on How We Can Put "Common Sense" Into Public Schools

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Will free bumper stickers be enough enticement to encourage teachers and others to share their ideas on improving public schools? Author/teacher Debra Craig hopes so. Her newly formed organization, Common Sense in Public Schools.com, is launching a campaign to find real solutions that will help improve schools. Winners get a free anti-NCLB or anti-Bush bumper sticker.

In honor of the creation of her new organization, Common Sense in Public Schools.com, teacher/author Debra Craig is launching a campaign to find real solutions for improving public schools. She is asking teachers, administrators, or anyone, from all across the country to email or mail her their ideas on what schools should do to become more successful. The ideas should be based on "common sense" and actually something the schools could implement. (That means "corporal punishment" suggestions will not be allowed even though this might be what schools need.)

Why is she doing this? “Most people think a college degree proves you are smart,” says the 8-year teaching veteran. “But why then in a field filled with nothing but college-educated people do we struggle with how to teach students the knowledge they need to become educated citizens? Maybe the problem is we rely too much on “research” and “so-called experts” and forget the reality of who our students are. Maybe the answer in fixing public schools is as simple as just using some common sense.”

Debra’s campaign to improve public schools started when she became a fifth grade teacher three years ago. “I had taught kindergarten for five years and when I moved up to fifth grade, I had a major reality check. There were many things I didn’t understand about how we do things in public schools.” Debra put her ponderings in a 250-page book called, Why Is the Teacher’s Butt So Big? Plus 111 Other Mysteries of Public Education published by a small New York publisher who himself has many years experience in education.

The title refers to a true comment a kindergartner made on her first day of teaching. Debra explains, “I realized from my first day of teaching until the last, as a teacher you will always be criticized. I also wanted the title to be absurd like some of the thinking that takes place in education.

Top on her list of absurdities is the 2002 landmark legislation, No Child Left Behind. “While NCLB has been a great tool in motivating schools, it’s really built on an unrealistic concept. I find it incredulous that the government is actually mandating that ALL STUDENTS achieve at the same rate and to the same level regardless of their background, ability, and most importantly, motivation. If this is possible, let’s create a No Adult Left Behind program.” This outspoken critic of NCLB, also thinks it’s unfair they put no responsibility on parents or students for their own academic success.

Instead of just complaining about the plight of public schools, Debra wants to take action. “I see too many teachers who are just complacent, waiting for the tide to turn, but not me! I want to help improve schools by finding real solutions to our problems. That’s why I formed this group.” Debra further laments, “The ironic thing about public schools is that policies are usually made by politicians who don’t have teaching credentials and are clueless to what it’s really like in the trenches. In California, one of the major committees that looks into improving public schools only has one teacher on it! The amazing thing is, in writing to our Superintendent of Schools, he was proud of the fact that they have at least one teacher on the committee.”

So Debra’s idea is to go directly to teachers and the public. She wants to know what doesn’t make sense to them? What should we be doing to improve public schools? Debra has started a list of her own ideas that can be found at http://www.debracraig.com or http://commonsenseinpublicschools.com.

Anyone who has an idea on improving public schools should email it to the email address listed on this page or mail it to Debra Craig, P.O. Box 1226, Moreno Valley, CA 92556. Entries need to be received by April 20, 2006. She will choose the best 50 ideas and send those people a free anti-NCLB or anti-Bush bumper sticker of their choice. Bumper stickers can also be viewed at the organization's website, http://commonsenseinpublicschools.com or they can purchased them for $3.00.

For people not wanting to display a bumper sticker on their car, Debra suggests buying one and sending it to a Congressional representative. "What better way of letting them know you want real answers for our public schools by sending them one of these unique and outspoken bumper stickers." Her book is available at Amazon.com and at her website.

Debra will share the winning entries on her website sometime in June 2006.

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Debra Craig