PrefaceI am a fairly unusual person. I don’t know many people my age who attended a rural,one-room school. I consider myself fortunate because I had that experience for K-6
grade. I am fortunate not only because I got an excellent foundation during my timethere in math, reading, writing, grammar, geography, social studies and history, but for many other reasons as well.I have been concerned for years that our education system is not working well. Far toomany kids are passing through the system without acquiring the skills they need for success in the real world of work. Too many children are put in a position of limitedpotential because the system failed to prepare them to succeed in the increasinglyrigorous global competition. I have studied the education system in great depth for over six years and have found enough problems to fill an encyclopedia. This will not be anencyclopedia but will point out the biggest problems I have found.If you look at the picture of the school you will see a large stump in the foreground.During the time I spent at the school the tree was there. It was a large and spreadingPoplar. It gave great shade during spring, summer and early fall. It is too bad that it isno longer there. Of course, the school has been unused for decades too, which in itsown way is also sad. Society has traded a very low cost and effective educationalternative for a much more expensive one with a huge fleet of fuel-guzzling busesranging far and wide over the countryside, big schools, bureaucratized structures andcertainly less care and commitment to the children’s individualized education needs.