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In line with President Obama’s directive to strengthen our military families, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has made a significant investment in
DoDEA schools.

This is great news for military kids. For political activists, it's another addition to the list of reasons why voting Democrat is good for military families. But they're taking this one step further... not only are they improving schools, they're looking for our suggestions while still in the design phase. We have an opportunity to help design the schools of the future.

The Department of Defense is committed to ensuring that all children of military families are provided a world class education. As a result of this commitment, DoDEA will receive a budget increase authorizing the replacement of more than 100 schools worldwide. We would like to include input from parents and community partners as we design DoDEA schools for the future.

They are taking suggestions in two areas - School Buildings and School Grounds. We all know that the environment around us can make a huge difference to our ability to learn. It's important to design well from the get-go. Tell me your great ideas for the school of the future and I'll share the best of them with the DoDEA!

On the website, you'll find pictures of the new building ideas. They are asking for feedback in two main areas:

School Buildings:

Help us design interior spaces that would be most conducive to your child’s learning. Here are a few things to consider, but please don’t limit your ideas.
  • Learning spaces
  • Specialty areas (labs/gyms/performing space)
  • Community use
  • Access to technology & informational resources
  • Sustainability
  • Safety & security
  • Other innovative ideas

School Grounds:

Help us design exterior spaces that would be most conducive to your child’s learning. Here are a few things to consider, but please don’t limit your ideas.
  • Playgrounds
  • Outdoor learning spaces
  • Athletics
  • Safety & security
  • Environmental considerations
  • Performance spaces
  • Other innovative ideas

People are all ready leaving responses. Some people are missing the point and are asking for specific schools to be upgraded. Others are overwhelmed by the modernity of the design - you'll read the words "too distracting" at least a dozen times. But some people are also giving specific ideas:

What do you think of classroom monitors?

Not only will classroom monitors help parents check up on the behavior of their children, it will also help parents check up on some of the appalling stories their children bring to their attention. Classroom Monitors Please!!!

Or about laboratories?

Too much focus is on converting hands-on instruction into virtual labs and animations. This gives a false impression that good data and real observations can be generated on computers. This leads to pseudo-science ideas. Schools still need labs for science.

A few people are recommending a wiki. Does anyone know what they're referring to?

A few agree with Michelle Obama:

Each school should have a quarter-mile track (yes, even elementary schools). This can be used by classroom teachers and parents as well as PE teachers. We must begin to focus on healthy outdoor exercise activity to combat the obesity epidemic. Larger classrooms so that younger kids may move around and exercise between workstations. Outdoor garden space so that kids can grow and taste new kinds of vegetables. More storage space all around but especially for the cafeteria (cold storage) so they can serve more fruits and veggies.

And at least one thinks the library will be outdated in the new schools:

There will be no library. All books will be digital. A student can download a book which will be automatically removed from his/her mobile learning device after so many weeks. If the stduent finished early the student can send the book back. At this point the book becomes available to be sent to/downloaded by another student. Of course if the school purchased multiple copies, then more than one copy can be out at one time.

The best comment overall takes the example of an already built school in Virginia, Manassas Elementary School, and recommends the DoDEA us it as an example. It's a model green school and is worth taking a look at.

We have the opportunity to help guide the building of some future schools. Do you know of a school like the one in Virginia that the DoD needs to hear about? Do you have ideas of your own? What would you have the DoDEA build for your kids or for your students?

Submissions for ideas will finish on June 16, 2011.

Originally posted to A Progressive Military Wife on Tue May 24, 2011 at 04:01 AM PDT.

Also republished by Pink Clubhouse, Military Community Members of Daily Kos, and Education Alternatives.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Calling TeacherKen! someone get him over here! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angelajean, Kevskos, BlueJessamine, llbear

    TeacherKen needs to see this diary pronto!

    He should engage the process and start providing input, and see if he can find a way to get into the process more directly.

    Yes this set of recommendations is limited to buildings & playgrounds, but you can be sure that the folks who are running it are thinking ahead.  And if Ken gets in the loop with them and has any chance to talk with them, he'll get them interested in his more wide-ranging ideas.

    Someone please contact him and get him in this diary ASAP.  

  •  What'up with this: Obama's Secret Plan.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angelajean, llbear

    Obama can't directly influence education policy in all the school districts in the US.  Especially with all the stinky Republicans out there who are trying to rape & pillage the schools in their states & cities.  

    However what Obana can do is have the military schools set examples that will demonstrate clear results.  

    This is how to turn back the tide of anti-school & anti-teacher BS that's been circulating.

    When these schools are improved and their students start demonstrating significantly better outcomes by all reasonable measures of performance, local school districts will sit up and take notice.   And people in every school district will have the opportunity to use the results from the military schools to put major pressure on their state & local elected officials.

    This isn't "11-dimensional chess," this is just smart policy and leading by example.  

    •  Remember military school is not DoDEA :) (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SuetheRedWA, Kevskos, llbear, G2geek

      Military schools train kids to become soldiers. DoDEA schools support military kids.

      This is an interesting twist - the difference between directing Secretary Gates to do a job and the difference between directing Secretary Duncan. Would make a very interesting diary to read.

      •  understood... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I didn't have the right acronym, but yeah that's what I meant.  Else I would have said "military academies" which is the usual term for schools that focus on military training.  

        •  I appreciate your interest at all :) (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          You were the only one to visit today except llbear. Not much interest in new 'military' schools.

          •  post the news next time TeacherKen has a diary. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Post it in his diary as a comment, with a headline to the effect that he needs to read it ASAP and get involved.  

            It's very clear that the military are ahead of the curve on a number of issues.  Including climate change, per various reports the Pentagon has published saying it's the #1 factor in national security this century.  

            And they know what's at stake from public schools going down the drain: per the period under Bush when standards were lowered in order to get enough people to enlist during Iraq; all of this at a time when warfighting is going high-tech and we need smarter & better educated people signing up.

            So keep making noise about this issue and eventually people will catch on.  

  •  As an itinerant student of architecture (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angelajean, G2geek

    with a huge desire to win the Powerball Lottery when the prize is over $100 million, so that I could write the check for a new elementary school -

    [you know, a reality-based desire]

    I read a lot about current architecture. I think these folks could be very helpful.

    Bring them home now. It's long past time

    by llbear on Tue May 24, 2011 at 08:30:36 AM PDT

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