Our educational system is in deep of some deep repair. Our children are only receiving the rudiments of reading, math, writing, and reasoning skills. Children are graduating high school and are nearly functional illiterates. As a developed country, our education is sadly falling behind that of other developed and developing countries such as Finland, Korea, China, and Japan. This has got to stop and stop immediately! What are your suggestions as to improving our dismally failing educational system?
Great question! Having gone through high school during those oh so wonderful no child left behind years I couldn't agree more that some major overhauling needs to be done.
For starters I'd say that modelling our education system after Texas has got to stop. This is not a stab at Texas but rather those who are on it's board of education. I watched with horror some years back when a woman motioned that Ghandi not be taught about in the classroom because nobody knows who he is. And it passed too!!! Stepping over the obvious rebut, "isn't that kind of what being in class is for?", it is sad and infuriating that one ignorant dumbass has the power to cause tens of millions of children to just not know pieces of history.
My second suggestion would be to vary lessons and classes more. So often we don't even know that we have a passion for something until college is half over and it's practically too late to change your major so exposing kids to more younger is the other thing that needs to happen.
These are just a few ideas from yours truly and I can't wait to see what others have to say.
Thank you Groopy for your response. I am totally incredulous that Gandhi was not taught because "nobody" knew who he was. I thought everyone knew who Gandhi was! I am now at a total loss for words. It is MUCH WORSE than what I have originally thought!
The educational system as a whole has many challenges but it is not in an abysmal state. I understand your frustration towards the educational system as a whole but if you really want to effect change, you have to roll up your sleeves and put some real effort toward fixing problems in your local school system and go up from there. Schools are limited in many ways by the states, the parents, and their budgets.
We try to fix the educational system as a whole but it's the individual schools that need to be lifted up. Schools mere blocks away from each other face very different challenges in the student population, budgetary concerns, and leadership. Go to your local school board meetings and ask what the schools need or make positive suggestions to improve the schools. Offer up any help you are willing to provide to make those changes happen. If each community joined together, stood up and helped affect positive changes in their schools, the system as a whole would thrive and our children would reap the benefits.
Curriculum is a very different challenge as this is set at state level. Make phone calls, send letters and fight for things you think should be included in the curriculum but aren't. It is unfortunate but students today need to know so much more than students 10, 20, 30+ years ago that boards of education have to prioritize what is taught and what isn't. If you fight for what you think should be included in the curriculum and justify your points, you may just get the changes that you want.
Guggenheim shows not only the reasons for our failing education system but also shows the learning institutions (Kipp) that have become successful despite the system in his documentary, "Waiting for Superman"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bzFhrkq … re=related
I have been studying this issue for several years now talking to students, teachers, parent, reflecting, researching, writing. The issue is complex, but there are some basic concerns. Education is primary, secondary, and post-secondary. They each have their own issues. At the secondary level 1/3 of all students are dropping out. That's huge. With the initiatives that have been enacted over the past couple decades things are only getting worse, not better. But there is a general disconnect between the material and students. I think students have gotten more savvy over the years and see that education does not ensure a job, a home, the American dream. They are really beginning to question how all that science, math, and language is going to help them make money too. In reality, only a small fraction of high school grads will go on to use anything beyond basic arithmetic and little to no science. But the govt. pushes it in its one-size-fits-all philosophy because half of U.S. GDP comes from scientific innovation or $7.1 billion. That's a LOT of coin. There is so much more, but that's where it starts. Add to the fact that today's feed-and-regurgitate education is archaic, not to mention boring, in an age when critical, creative, intuitive thinking is king is another big issue. Plus the student is often taken out of the equation in a day 'n age when the individual is becoming more and more important to sustaining a career. So much more, but that's a good start.
I think a lot is due to many parents who don't participate in their children's education at all.
Oh yes, many parents believe that their children's education is the TEACHER'S job, not theirs. That attitude is quite disturbing to say the least. These parents refuse to acknowledge the fact that their children are their responsibility. In many challenged and not so challenged neighborhoods, many parents even refuse to help their children with their assignments, portending that the teacher should do that, not them. The situation is quite abysmal beyond belief!
I agree there's a great many people who don't take an interest in their children's education, but we can't ignore the fact that in today's economy, it takes two incomes to support a family. Sometimes the demands of a full time job, keeping the home clean and safe, as well as cooking and laundry can use up many of the valuable hours necessary for helping a child with homework. For single parents, it's double the work as having a second to help shoulder the load. And then there's the very real fact that some of the parents don't understand what their children are learning. There's no way a parent who only learned basic math principles is going to be able to help a child learn algebra or trig. Even grammar and punctuation rules have changed over the years. I'm not interested in making excuses for parents who are too lazy to be interested in their child's education, but, for me, it's getting old hearing only one side of the story. This is a very real problem for many parents today. Blaming them for needing to work extra hours or two jobs just to feed and shelter their children doesn't help them feel amenable to teaming up with the judgmental person laying blame at their feet. The rift between teachers and parents is ridiculous. There's entirely too much finger pointing about whose fault it is and not enough understanding of the other's needs and limitations.
I agree Terri. While I do feel like parents do need to step up more, I don't think that is always possible. As a tutor I see very intelligent parents who struggle to help their children with their homework. Parents can encourage and support though. They can also help their children ask for help when something is too much for them.
The problem then becomes what if the student needs more help than the school can provide and the family can't afford private tutoring but do not qualify for SES tutoring?
There really aren't a lot of options out there. While I'd love to be able to take on more pro bono students, I don't have the resources or time to do that with my current paid and pro bono client roster.
Students learn more in high school than most of us did just 20 years ago. So how can parents help their children learn material that they have forgotten or never learned in the first place?
I don't know when this shift occurred, but suddenly the job of parent is to be superparent. I think it's bullshit, frankly.
I can honestly say my parents NEVER helped me with my homework. It just wasn't prevalent back then (nor was breastfeeding, btw). But education was valued and doing well in school was expected. We internalized that expectation and didn't toss the baton back on Mommy and Daddy.
Parents can and should support and encourage their children's classwork.
But not take ownership of it.
If parents want to be responsible for their children's education they can homeschool them.
Otherwise, isn't that what teachers are PAID to do?
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