Tag Archives: radical school redesign

Detroit Should Radically Redesign Learning, Safety, and Socialization of Students

smart learn


My oldest daughter is now 24. When she was 2, the very first interactive games were coming out for the computer that featured live action similar to today’s quality, combined with learning games. Being a first time dad with some disposable income, I bought this computer based on the games.

Sarah played the games constantly and interacted with the characters. Of course, her mother and I read her favorite bed time stories to her every night, which I understand is cognitively important. Yet my mother read to me each night as well and I did not do what Sarah did that amazed me.

When she was three, I took her and her little dog down to the park for a walk. For some reason, I wanted to go into the baseball field, perhaps just to expose her to it, I don’t remember now. But as we approached, Sarah saw a sign, and said, “Daddy, we can’t go out onto the field.”

The sign was a list of rules, one of which said – No Pets allowed On the Field-

I asked her why and she read the sign for me. I was flabbergasted. At that point, I knew the power of computer games. Inner city kids come to school the first day with cognitive skills behind those of some that have had more opportunities to learn. Yet at 5 or 6, the mind is a sponge.

Every night, my child would pick from a pile of books her favorite ones for me to read. It was a task for me to put feeling into the same words over and over but memories that parents cherish later in life. In Detroit, 47% of adults are functionally illiterate, meaning they cannot perform that parental task of reading to their children.

Since 1996, the government has provided free cell phones to those that qualify for assistance. This idea would gain the ire of most on the right, but perhaps if cell phone users are footing this bill anyway, the phone could be a smart one, integrating the power of computing into every home.

Loaded on the phone would be 6-10 game apps, all games having to do with entry level reading and math skills, which would be available for both parents and child. nightly bedtime would now not be the avoidance of books but encouragement of the app.

School Principles and Design:


1. Students should not have to fear outside threats
2. Students should not be disrupted by other students who have not yet learned to self regulate

1. All school structures and systems designed to provide safety from outside threats
2. All school structures and systems designed to ensure threatening weapons do not enter school premises
3. All schools provided security personnel
4. Work systems and school systems time and calendar schedules integrated to allow communities to safely
see their kids to and from school.
5. School environments layered to separate disruptive or aggressive children from others but always within
a learning environment.


1. Students should not be separated in social environment from others their age
2. Students should be engaged throughout learning years
3. Only students involved in farming should have time allotted for farming
4. Student and parent time should coordinate
5. Students should not be hungry when they attempt to learn

1. All children mandatorily remain under school authority until they are 18 years of age or pass minimum
required skill attainment
2. All children mandatorily advance grade levels by age.
3. All children remain within school-managed environment during parent’s “first shift” working hours
(eg.8-5, set by community).
4. Students remain under school authority during vacation dates and school supervision is available during
those dates as well. Summer vacation limited to one of two four-week blocks.
5. School breakfast and lunch available


1. Students should not fall behind for an entire year of school.
2. Students should not be subjected to a teaching method or teacher for too long if learning is not
3. Multiple methods of learning material should be tried until student achieves an understanding of the
4. Until adulthood, jobs should be designed to learn work skills and the community should be responsible
for any student that enters the work environment

1. Student advance by skill block rather than grade level. Skill blocks are designed to be completed in 6-
week increments. Skill blocks must be passed. Many are mandatory and cannot be skipped.
.2. Minimum skill blocks for release from school authority -320 blocks and graduation (or 18 years)
.3. Maximum skill blocks obtainable – 570
.4. Minimum pass is 75% – remedial training required if 85% is not obtained.
.5. Students cannot retake skill block with same teacher
.6. With daily learning hours now increased, students not attaining pass level are provided various levels
of additional instruction and variety of teachers and teaching methods, but learning blocks are not
.7. At higher grade levels, learning blocks can include outside paying work assignments involving on-the-job
training and employer acceptance of responsibility for administering block skills.
.8. Learning blocks can include in-home, parental supervised learning assignments

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