What is it that you want for your children? You work hard everyday at your job to provide for your family and put your children in a position to achieve more than you have. You hope that your children carry that same work ethic into the classroom everyday so that when they graduate high school they have an opportunity to make a life for themselves, be a productive member of society, have the ability to successfully raise a family, and contribute to the overall well-being of their community. But that is no longer the case in the current American schooling system. That idea is as realistic as alien abductions, the arguments people make against global warming, or the existence of crab people. The truth is that our education system, like most American bureaucracies, is deathly flawed and is in desperate need of a complete gut job and renovation from top to bottom.
There are many contributing factors as to what is ailing our schools. The teachers, the curriculum, the school boards, the standardized tests, the administrators, the limited funding, the lack of supplies, no accountability by the parents, and of course the lackadaisical attitudes of the students themselves. The idea that we are a nation of people that view education as a portal to achieve success is woefully changing. The American Dream has never been more evident than in the diligence and attitudes of new immigrants’ work ethics when it comes to their dedication to education.
We have been lazy for too long. We have become complacent. And in our complacency we have allowed laziness, stoicism, and apathy to replace our once world renown “gung-ho” attitude. We feel as if we are owed success without having to work and sacrifice for it. We feel as if we are entitled to have all the opulence we see portrayed in the music we listen to, the TV we watch, and the celebrities idolize and attempt to emulate. It is all a fallacy, an illusion, a mirage created to keep people stupid, lazy, and brain dead. No one is able to think for themselves. We have entertainment shows masquerading as News programs, and news organizations acting like tabloid magazines. No one cares about bettering themselves, and no one wants to share in the blame for allowing this mess to become as entrenched as it has become in our psyche. We are the culprits behind our own demise, but we placate ourselves by passing the buck to whoever the media has decided to vilify this week. And instead of focusing on helping our children, all children succeed for the betterment of our nation and our society, we bicker and fight over trivial things so that the real issue of educational reform gets lost among the fray.
In the classroom as it is in the home there is no support for education. The school boards and administrators are concerned with the “public image” of their schools and little about the actual matriculation of education. They care about the test sores, the AYP, the AIP, and the percent index for moving “far below average” student to the “below average” category because that nets them the biggest percentage of growth. They have learned how to game the system so that it looks like they are doing their jobs and win the support of their community. But all that they win is assuring that the students all lose. These administrators and board members make as much as 5 times the amount of a classroom teacher, and are often caught up in nefarious back room deals with land developers, text book publishers, and manufactures, that line their pockets while stripping schools of the paltry pittance of money they have to spend on the actual students themselves. And all the while, who gets blamed? Teachers. They blame teachers for all the shortcomings of the system, the parents, and the students. A student can say and do anything they want to a teacher or in the classroom without any repercussions, and the administration will solely back the student.
The truth of the matter is that your children are viewed by school districts as nothing more than cattle. Teachers are instructed to tag ‘em, bag ‘em, and pass them trough the system so that the people at the stop of the education food chain can get paid. They have bound and gagged teachers by making sure that they are not allowed to teach. Neither their unions nor the school districts are protectors of education system itself. The money that used to go to funding schools is filtered through so many different dirty hands that by the time it gets to the classroom most of it is gone. The student start their journey through the halls of these educational institutions with curiosity and hope and are ushered out the other end battered, beaten, and dejected from a school system that is intent on categorizing them as winners and losers. The school board, the politicians, the administrators blame the teachers for the students’ problems and their lack of an education upon promotion. The parents who usually are not involved or interested in their success don’t want to share in the blame and take up the mantle of the bureaucrats blaming the teachers for the failure of their children. Teachers are lined up and “executed” with the loss of their jobs, their dignity, and their self respect when students are churned out of school having no skills or ability to fend for themselves in the real world. Is it any wonder why we can’t get the best and brightest to sign up to teach?
So what can you do? Well, the last time I checked our government works for us. We have a voice, and it is a loud voice if you choose to use it. The saying “the squeaky wheel gets the oil” has never been more true than when it comes to politicians. Their whole existence hinges on their ability to stay popular. They need, nay, they require public support and a positive image to insure their reelection.
Go on-line and find out when your school board is meeting and attend some of the meetings. If you are not sure what you want to say or do, listen to what is going on and to the decisions they are making about your children’s schools and how they spend their funds. If you would like to address the board or get your opinion recorded into the minutes you will need to put yourself on the docket for the next meeting so that you can. Then you will be able to voice any concerns you may have if any exist. If you don’t feel like they have done what you asked or are addressing issues you have concerns about there are steps you can take then as well. They have to run for reelection, so help their adversary get elected the next time there is an election.
If you want to go a different direction, you can go above them and write letters to the people in county or state assembly. Give them a new platform and issue to run on. Use their need to gain public spotlight to your advantage. These guys thrive on playing the game, it is time for you to get off the sidelines and get into the game yourself. This is for the future of your children, of our nation, and of the system that is about to implode into itself.
Your children are not standard, and therefore do not require a test that tells them what they are. There needs to be real assessments that can determine the success of your children. It takes work, it takes dedication, and it takes a concerted effort of all parties involved, (administrator, teacher, support staff, student, and parent). This is a nation of people built for the people by the people and if you want something to change, you have to be willing to change it yourself.
Be careful, when the truth about the educational shortcomings, standardized tests, and misappropriation of funds finally comes to Washington, politicians will attempt to manipulate and contort the truth so that is looks like they had been doing everything they could to make it a success. But if that were the truth, we would need to reform it. The public needs to think for themselves. Why do you think they want to eliminate the ability for people to learn critical thinking. Mindless non-questioning, complacent consumers is what politicians and businessmen alike crave and want from us. They mask them in confusing rhetoric and meaningless policies that appear to help, but only end up hurting the masses. Their argument is that we can’t afford to make education accessible to all children, when the truth is that we can’t afford not to.