Monday, October 4, 2010

Education: Who is at fault?

Wow. I gotta tell you, I am really tired of hearing and watching everyone point fingers as to who is at fault in the world of education. Honestly it is time for us all to step up and take a little responsibility regarding the issues and conditions of today's education. We gotta start at the top and work our way down. Until the government values our countries educational system and realizes that every single public school in the country is in complete need of funding, we aren't going to get very far. Making schools that are under funded and in dire straits jump through hoops so they "might" have a chance at some funding is like shooting a horse with one bad leg in the other other and asking it to run. Not a good motivator in my eyes. We instead need to find value in our children's future and simply fund it. And thank you to the creators of Facebook for stepping up and realizing that!

Our schools are simply tired. The education and information that is pouring into our schools is coming at such enormous rate of speed that they simply can't keep up. Without the funding, schools of all shapes and sizes simply cannot provide their students the materials, the technology and everything in between to stay competitive with those that have the access. This is not an excuse, this is simply a basic fact. Educators and administrators on the whole, truly want our students to succeed. The majority of us love our jobs and we went in to education with the idea of change on our minds. Making a difference and a positive one at that. These things which we used to provide our students are support, an appreciation for our communities, the idea and value in becoming a productive citizen, and an education that will benefit them in what they choose to do in their future as an adult. I never went into education thinking "oh boy I can't wait to teach to a test." We seem to be spending an awful lot of time teaching to a test instead of teaching our students. And look where it has got us. Maybe it is time to re-evaluate the idea of testing. To me some testing is good and provides us with valuable information, but we seem to be shoving testing down the throats of our students starting at such an early age that by the time they reach high school, they could care less about the test. Maybe we should start teaching again. Having the ablility to teach relevance and importance and making our students feel successful in their knowledge and abilities. Teachers and administrators are chomping at the bit for this to happen. Honestly I can't name one teacher that is jumping up and down, yelling "pick me, pick me, to teach to the test," but I bet I can find a thousand, that would shout "pick me, pick me to make a difference and let me teach to the student."

Our kids are sadly losing their support at home. The parents aren't home like they used to be, instead they are working multiple jobs to pay bills and stay out of the debt that is rising around them. The nuclear family is gone and today there are parents, step parents, fosters , and grandparents raising these students. They work all day and all night. Quite honestly checking homework, providing quality family time, and creating a learning environment is disappearing and what is appearing are our children becoming home cooks, daycare providers for their siblings, and picking up jobs after school to help support their struggling families. The importance is shifting for kids from school to survival at home. Everyone needs to be aware of this. It wasn't planned and it isn't right, but our children's lives are shifting because of our economic and social expectations and on top of that we still want them to value education like the good old days. Let me tell you, in their eyes making eight bucks an hour at a fast food gig is way more important than writing any paper. And who's fault is it that they think this way? All of ours.

Until we stop pointing fingers, we will never fix what is breaking in our educational system. We need to look at solutions together, admit we are all guilty, and look for positive change. As a teacher, I know what I do each and everyday can make a difference. I know as a parent what I do each and everyday can make a difference. I am ready to make a difference...are you?

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