Discussion 3 Notes: The Futures

Discussion 3
The Futures

Warm-Up: Were there any points in the reading you found interesting or took an issue with?
The reading focused on schools being similar to free market business, and if public schools are adequately teaching our students.

Discussion Questions
1)Should schools be operated under the same ideas as a free market business?
– The class agreed that if schools were solely ran like free markets then maybe schools would strive towards being the most appealing, which would improve many schools, but there would always be the “winners” and “losers”; the schools that are not appealing to many would lose and it would effect the students that attend that school.
– If public schools were ran like free markets then parents would obviously choose the better schools, the ones that seem more appealing, therefore hurting the less appealing schools.

2) Do you agree with the statement that “because public schools faced no meaningful competition from private schools, they were inefficient and inadequate” (p. 59)? Why or why not? Which school would you prefer for your children?
– The class agreed that public schools do have competition among other public schools, therefore they are adequate schools. They are competing for better test scores then other schools, also they are striving to get their scores up so that they can meet the standards.
3) On page 58 it says “they [the students] would learn tolerance and respect for the diverse people and different points of view in the country.” Do you believe that children learn respect for the diverse people and different points of view in American schools? Why or why not?
– With this question some students agreed that public schools are diverse and they teach different points of view, they also said that they are much more diverse than private schools which are predominantly rich White Americans. However, some disagreed and said that their public school had little to no diversity, and that their school did not teach much diversity either.

Discussion Ender:
“The education marketplace acts pretty much the way most free markets do- people with money; information; the “right” social class, ethnicity, or gender; and powerful personal connections have access to “better” goods.”
– The class agreed with this ender, if you have money you can give your children the best education. The education marketplace favors the rich.

The Futures: Extension Activity

Extension Activity #2: Why Schools?


The purpose of this activity is to show the effectiveness of teaching a skill through creative means versus traditional methods.

Extension Activity Preparation:

Students will be numbered off by 2s, and split into two groups.


Once the class is split into two groups, the groups will be given instructions on the way they will be taught a specific skill, in this case, multiplication will be the focus.

·         One group will be taught multiplication through a traditional method, i.e. memorization or drilling

·         The other group will be taught multiplication in a more creative way, i.e. through a game

After the activity, the two groups will be asked questions and engage in a small group discussion based on these questions. Then, the class will come back together and engage in a discussion based on the activity.


To show that even subjects that students find boring can be made fun and interesting with a little creative thinking, and that memorization does not always get the job done.

Discussion Questions:

1.      For the times table group: How did you feel about this activity? Was it an efficient method of learning?

2.      For the board game group: How did you feel about this activity? Was it an efficient method of learning?

3.      Which method of learning do you think would be more effective in preparing students for the application of knowledge and the desire to continue their education? Why?

4.      What other methods of teaching do you think would be effective ways of helping students to retain the information in a way that allows them to apply it as opposed to just memorizing information and not knowing how to use it?

5.      Describe what the difference between learning and memorizing is to you.