As long as we seek answers to educational problems from business we will have a problem.The current "reforms" may all be traced to Lean Six Sigma---great for producing widgets but not so good for human beings.Let teachers run the schools. Let businessmne run their businesses if they can.The current infatuation with charter schools and vouchers is also suspect if you follow the money.
Susan, a lot of what you say is true and I agree with it. But, "Our teachers and our students are already working too hard and too much." ? Would you include all students and all teachers in your sweeping generalization? Is it because of all this "working too hard" that Georgia's graduation rates are so abysmal?
There are myriad issues impacting public education. Lack of parental involvement and interest, lack of funds, NCLB, too many administrative positions (to meet the numerous state and federal reporting/monitoring requirements), incompetent or unmotivated teachers who are allowed to remain employed, and the list goes on.
Taking back our schools is a great slogan but a lot of what you point out as being ineffective arose as the result of parents, teachers, and local/state politicians not being involved in the first place.
And I agree with fly, kids are not widgets and you cannot make them conform through test results and measuring them through whether or not the results conform within an arbitrary standard deviation.
I remember when I moved from GA to FL in 1975. I was in 10th grade and had taken two years of typing in jr high and one year of French. When I moved to FL, they did not teach those classes until high school and wanted me to take typing I and French I even though I had already taken those classes - I knew then I was in for a challenge. I was so surprised that FL was behind GA in class curriculum. More amazing was we had no Florida History class whatsover. I was oh so proud of my GA History Scrapbook that was a requirement in Jr High. Now the FCAT's have further ruined the public school program and all of our teachers do teach to this test. What a waste. We no longer have many electives and I don't think any school in the surrounding three counties teach drivers ed anymore. I feel bad for the teachers and for the students because Susan, you are correct, it is all about teaching to the test and everyone will suffer because of it. And the amount of homework given to students beginning in 1st grade, is ridiculous. It became a point in my home to priortize which subjects and assignments were most necessary as homework assignments in six classes every day could be a minimum of six additional hours of homework every day - and who has the time to do that and to make sure it is getting done? Maybe the old way isn't the best way, but I think I turned out pretty smart and well rounded without having taken a single state or national standard test throughtout my elementary, jr high or high school years. Not a test that would hold me back and keep me from being promoted to the next grade anyway. I have a good job and make a decent living and, to this day, I'm still truly proud of being a 1978 graduate and wear my high school ring with pride.
The public school is a barometer of the health of the nation. Just now the public schools in this country are failing,but that is not because public schools are "government schools" despite the loud harangues of the Neil Boortz tribe.The public schools are failing because the economy has left far too many hard-working Americans high and dry, because parents work long hours to keep body and soul together and have little time for their children, because many Americans simply do not value education, because barbarism begets barbarism,because many Americans are mired in generational poverty and a culture of poverty that eats the human soul, because ideologs blame the public school for every social ill,because we have forgotten that the public school has been the linchpin of democracy, because of a rabid consumer mentality that prefers the customer over the citizen, because individualism has metastasized into solipsism,because the American Dream has been trivialized, because the Protestant work ethic no longer has the slightest nexus to God, and finally because we have lost the capacity to love each other.
This is a very interesting discussion and I agree that our public education system is crap. I wish I could go back in time about 15 years so I could home school my child. He was (and still is) hungry for knowledge and curious about so many things but he ended up dropping out and getting his GED when he turned 18. He was so bored in school, his prescription glasses were stolen as were his tennis shoes for PE. What a waste.
Back in the day, I was a student at Marvin Pittman Laboratory School. I think we need more schools like that, if possible.
And don't you think we could just do away with the Federal Dept. of Education? Take all the money spent on administrative costs and give it to the states...
Redistributing money to the states will have absolutely no effect as long as the current educational philosophy remains in place.If governors like Bobby Jindal,high priest of the "party of stupid," are given a free hand, we can kiss the notion of the public school goodbye.
Parents need to assume more responsibility for the children that they bring into the world. They need to encourage a love of learning and a respect for education in their children. They need to recognize that they too are teachers.
Bored teenagers would not be so bored if they would open a book from time to time, stopped living in a Facebook/cell phone fantasy world, and took some interest in the world in which they live.
Businessmen need to go away. Their rather limited business school education does not confer universal wisdom. In fact, it can be argued that the reigning business philosophy has had a deleterious effect on the long term health of business in this country.It most certainly has had a deleterious effect on our politics.
The schools need to be given the freedom to do what is required.Teachers should not be punished for upholding standards. Initially this will mean that many more students will not graduate from high school.It will be painful and the pain will continue until it begins to dawn on parents and students that graduation from high school is not a given,not a universal right but requires some effort. We need tough love and not warm fuzzies. We have dug ourselves a deep hole ,and we need to begin the slow climb to the light.
Fly.... I agree with your first comment.
Scott.... Working too hard and too much. Yes, it could be part of why grad rates are in the toilet. I generalized that only because I could write an entire bog on that topic alone.
Teachers are required to do so much paperwork these days that they have no time to plan creative teaching plans or grade work that must be individually evaluated. Therefore, many teachers have resorted to scantron testing and multiple choice work. There is too much material packed into a one semester class causing the information to never be tight in depth.
Yes, I totally agree that parent involvement is key for a child's success and we don't have nowhere near enough of it.
PS... Yes Scott.... A lot of this did arise because parents gift complacent. That does not mean that we shouldn't get active now. Teachers were never complacent..... They have never been given a voice.
Allikitty.... I so agree with you. Homework is over the top because there is too much material crammed into a semester course, and the teachers are trying to make sure the kids get through t all. But.... Kids need time to be kids. I would love to see a billboard say that right now. I do not think there should be homework on weekends unless a child has make up work to do. A little math review at night is plenty.
And... Yes, I think our generation has been very successful and had far better quality education than kids today.
Sparkle... Why was he bored? Education specialists (otherwise known as those who have absolutely no business dictating how education should work), say these kids were not challenged enough. The Orkney ended to be more rigorous. This makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs.
They are bored because creativity and fascination ave Ben removed from the classroom and replaced with worksheets and standardized test questions.
Fly... I really like what you are saying here. Fly and Susan agree on something! It's gonna snow! LOL!!
Ok... Except that I don't support calling Jindal the high Priest of the party of stupid. When we stop the party stuff and work together as Americans, we can solve problems. Right now both parties totally disgust me.
Susan and Fly, Charlie.
I think I once heard Fly mutter, "You can have the party when i am done with it. You can pry it from my cold dead hands"
Cold from no heat, dead from starvation.
Just kidding, but Susan is right - the more American that will put aside party differences (and slander, and lies, and abuse) th ebetter we will be able to solve the problems facing the nation