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School Teacher: One Teacher's Perspective on Education in America

Updated on December 1, 2013
Back in the day!
Back in the day! | Source
I can say with all honesty that I gave it my all in the classroom.
I can say with all honesty that I gave it my all in the classroom. | Source
Students of mine taking responsibility for their own learning.
Students of mine taking responsibility for their own learning. | Source
Memories of my last class before retiring from teaching.
Memories of my last class before retiring from teaching. | Source

You will see no statistics in this hub. No graphs, no poll results and no quotes from politicians or leading experts on education. This is exactly what the title says it is: one man’s perspective on the state of education in the United States in 2012.

Do I qualify to give such a report? Well, as a citizen of this country the automatic answer is yes! However, I bring a little bit more than citizenry to the table for this discussion. I was a classroom teacher for eighteen years spanning thirty years. I have taught in grades 5-12 and even one year of junior college. I was a single parent raising a school-aged child and even taught my own child for three years. I have seen the change that has occurred in the education system in this country over six decades and so yes, I bring a little bit more to the discussion than your average Joe on the street.

I do not need a panel of experts to tell me that the education system in this country is broken. If you do not believe it to be so then I will respect your opinion. I am not here to attack your beliefs; I am here, simply, as a concerned citizen and former educator. I am also not here to debate you. I do not debate. You are entitled to your opinion and I to mine; no amount of debate will change those opinions and I do not feel like undertaking an exercise in futility in trying to do so.

Do I have hope for the future? You bet I do but that hope is based on the supposition that intelligent decisions will be made, decisions that are “outside the box” and not mired in traditional thinking. It is also a hope based on the belief that parents will band together to affect change and insist upon that change for the sake of their children.

There is too much to cover in one article so what follows are the most important issues that I want to cover today. Perhaps another article will follow with the other points I deem of importance. Perhaps not! I easily grow tired of beating a drum that nobody listens to, so I may lose interest in this subject very soon.

Let’s see how it goes.

TOSS AWAY THE GARBAGE AND START OVER

As long as schools depend on Federal funding and as long as that funding is based on standardized test results then we will continue to have problems in the educational system. What we see today are teachers teaching to the test. That is not education! In schools across the United States we see children being taught to be test-takers and not problem-solvers. Again, that is not education!

Teachers must be given the freedom to expand on the base of knowledge and not shrink that base down to a pre-ordained set of facts and figures. We are graduating a new generation of citizens who are fully capable of parroting information but who in fact have no idea what the information means.

The greatest skill we can teach the youth of today is to reason; we must give them the ability to analyze a problem and find a logical solution to that problem. With that life skill they can succeed; without it they will fail in life.

No Child Left Behind was a dismal failure. Standardized testing as a measure of knowledge is a dismal failure. Toss out the old ways of thinking which have been ineffectual at best and find new ways to attack this problem.

EDUCATION AND THE LOVE OF LEARNING BEGIN AT HOME

I cannot emphasize this fact too much! At an early age children need to be taught the value of learning….at home! Children are naturally inquisitive; they want to learn. Feed that desire as a parent. Your children are your number one priority in life. Treat them as such! At an early age instill in them a love of knowledge. As parents you are their number one influence followed closely by their teachers. As they grow older your influence diminishes as does their teacher’s and peers begin to exert more influence. You need to lay the groundwork while you still have influence.

Read to them often and encourage them to read. Do not let them grow up lacking in the most basic of skills.

School them in the Socratic method of learning. Do not ignore their questions or answer in a condescending way when they have questions. Answer their questions with questions of your own. My son once asked me how many people were buried in a cemetery we were driving by. I pulled the car over and we walked over to the cemetery. I asked him how we could determine how many were buried there. He said we could count them. I said that would require a whole lot of time. How might we better arrive at an answer? Eventually he decided that if we counted the number in a ten square foot section then we could estimate with a fair amount of certainty. That, my friends, is learning and it is the skill of reasoning all in a nice, neat package.

Do not give them answers; teach them to find answers on their own. Unless, of course, you have a strong desire to still be answering basic questions for them when they are thirty years of age. J

PAY FOR THE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST

If you want good teachers then you have to be willing to pay for them. There will always be some who will teach because they have a higher calling and pay does not matter. Unfortunately, the economic realities of today’s world mean that those teachers are becoming harder and harder to find. Good teachers need to be rewarded.

On the flip side, bad teachers need to be removed. I grew up in a home where the importance of unions was drilled into my head and I agree that unions serve an important role and are necessary. However, to protect incompetent teachers simply because they have paid their union dues does not set well with me and it should not set well with you. If, as I suggested, teacher salaries are raised to a competitive level, then so, to, should the expectations be raised. I do not believe in paying someone simply because they showed up to work. The future of our children is too important; it is morally unacceptable that their future be compromised because their teachers are incapable or unwilling to improve their skills.

COLLEGE IS NOT FOR EVERYONE

It is not necessary to attend college in order to succeed in life. That fallacy has been tossed about for far too long. Millions have succeeded in life without the aid of college. We will always need plumbers, firemen, electricians, truck drivers and police officers. They are honorable jobs, every bit as much as those jobs associated with a college degree.

What is more important, finding a job that pays well or finding a job that feeds your passion? And why do those two have to be mutually exclusive and why do they have to depend on a college education? Throughout history there are countless stories of people who have had nothing more than a will to succeed and the ability to reason who have achieved great things in life.

Taking on a mountain of debt just to receive a degree for the sole purpose of having a degree is lunacy. There are other options! I grew up in a household where it was accepted almost as the word of God that unless you had a college degree you could not succeed. What a bunch of hogwash!

Armed with three degrees and backed by forty-five years of work experience I can now say that true success comes from within; it is in knowing that you have given more than what was expected of you. It is in knowing that you have faced challenges and not broken but rather excelled because of them.

On the flip side, if a child does attend college then for the love of God, they need to pursue a degree that feeds their soul, that they are passionate about. If there is no passion then where will the joy come from during all of those years of working?

PARENTS NEED TO GET INVOLVED

I can tell you with all certainty that principals and teachers do not like to deal with parents who are not satisfied with the status quo. If you are the parent of a child who attends a school where sub-standard education is being taught then it is time for you to do two things:

1. Look in the mirror! If you have not done your job at home in making sure your child has a love of learning and a strong support system then you need read no further. The problem, and the solution, begins with you.

2. Demand that your child receives the education that they deserve. Go to school board meetings, get vocal, stay in close touch with teachers and administration and then do it all over again. You are the number one advocate for your child. Get busy!

Allow teachers to do their job and if they are not doing it then demand to know why. Education is a three-way street composed of student, parent and teacher. The first two are in your lap; the third you can influence.

Too many parents send their children off to school and wash their hands of the whole process. They do not supervise homework procedures, they do not encourage and help at home and then they are shocked when their child does poorly at school.

Encourage….Encourage….Encourage…..and then advocate like you are protecting your greatest treasure….because you are!

FINAL THOUGHTS

You have all heard of the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. Well, the education system in the United States is the definition of insanity. It simply is not working.

At one time the United States had the finest education system in the world. Now we don’t even crack the top ten. Again, I do not need to see that poll to know of its truth. All I need do is sit in a classroom for a day or have a conversation with several students out on the street.

I understand the nature of our world today. Many families need to have both parents working in order to pay the bills. Many families only have a single parent and that parent is stretched beyond their capabilities. Many school systems do not have the money to pay for quality teachers and many are suffering so many cutbacks that they can barely keep the doors open.

If we are to end the insanity then change needs to happen. Change needs to happen at home and change needs to happen in the schools and that change is the responsibility of every single person. The whining and complaining need to be replaced by positive action. The futures of our children and by extension the future of our nation depend upon it.

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

For other articles on education see the following:

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/The-Inspired-Teacher-Creating-A-Magical-Learning-Environment

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/The-Inspired-Teacher-Creating-An-Outdoor-Classroom

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/Teaching-In-A-Remote-Alaskan-Village-One-Year-and-Done-For-This-Man

For lesson plans go to my Kindle store:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=William%20D.%20Holland

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    • profile image

      kelleyward 4 years ago

      Bill another fantastic hub here. I love how you are adding video and pictures to your latest hubs. I agree that probably the most important part of a child's desire for learning begins at home! I'm also a fan of Jason Mraz. Love the video! Voted up and shared! Take care, Kelley

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      You've earned the right to write this hub, and I appreciate that you made the effort to do it. You spoke from both (all) sides of the subject, and all sides deserved to be heard.

      My frustration with the education of my children was hearing the school cry out for parents to get involved, but then marginalizing us if we questioned their methods.

      It reminded me of my experience serving on boards of directors. They wanted my professional capital but they didn't want me to interfere with what they had already decided they were going to do.

      I think it would be wonderful if teachers were encouraged to do summer internships (paid!) in the business world to give them an occasional glimpse of how the rest of the world operates outside the fishbowl of academia. It would help them deal with parents and add a layer experience to enrich their teaching skills.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Kelley! Bev and I are having fun with the videos; it's a new avenue we are exploring and it will be interesting to see where it takes us.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathleen, I couldn't agree with you more. I had worked in so many different jobs over the years that I had a pretty good perspective on life and careers when I was teaching. By the way, I would go to workshops every summer...not paid for...simply because it added to my skills. There are a few of us!

      Thank you so much for your comment; greatly appreciated.

    • catmalone profile image

      catmalone 4 years ago

      This is a very awesome hub! I absolutely agree with you about the education system and that we as parents need to take responsibility in our children learning. My children are all grown now, but I remember when they where growing up I was always involved in their school education and how they where progressing in school. It wasn,t easy working full/time and trying stay on top of things, but I made it a priority.

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      TIMETRAVELER2 4 years ago

      Billy: Great hub! You know me well enough to understand that I totally agree with your views. I saw the demise of our educational system back in the mid eighties. Even then I was hoping the politicians would stay out of it and that parental involvement would be more than those parents who came to school to complain, blame and file suit. Too many parents want standards...for every other child but their own! This type of selfishness has severely damaged the system. There is too much waste, there are too many egos and there is just to darned much apathy. I spent 26 years fighting the good fight, but in the end, I just got tired...physically, mentally tired. If change comes, it had better come soon.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Fantastic, Bill. The school that Collin went to in Florida absolutely did not want me in or anywhere near the class room. I had to make an appointment if I wanted to see what was going on. As a result, I only found out after the fact that is was not a good situation for him.

      The school he went to in North Dakota was shocked that I wanted to be so involved with his eduation, they usually had the other experience (it's the teachers job to teach, call me if he misbehaves type attitude). As a result, I got a mini-meeting with at least one of his 3 teachers (usually all 3) every day when I would come to pick him up at the end of the day.

      They would share what they had been working on and where he needed improvement. We would discuss how we could teach him the lesson in different ways and all of us would work on it the same way. We made OUTSTANDING progress because we all worked together.

      I have great concerns about the school he is attending now in Montana and fear that it will fall mostly on me to keep him progressing forward. I can not say enough good things for the great teachers out there that live to make a difference in a child's life and try to follow the "teach to the test" while adding all the important and interesting stuff while they are at it.

      I saw a public service announcement on the TV the other day that said the US is falling even further behind in math & sciences and that "we" should encourage our students to take more math and science classes. What would be the point if they aren't getting anything useful out of those classes because the teachers are so one dimensional? Truely a sad state. :(

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      TYPICAL Teacher TRICK!! Checking the students out, to see who's paying attention!! Same Video, different hub, right??? Please do not tell me I'm daffy. Well, OK, you can call me daffy, but not for this reason....

      I hate being repetitive and monotonous.....but with your hubs, it happens.....same comment: Really GOOD stuff...and your point I agree with the most is "College isn't for everyone."......every individual needs to find their path to their goals.....that can bring a MULTITUDE of possibilities and ways to get there! UP ++

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I like that you address the parents in addition to the school system itself. Your opinion is backed up by your many years of teaching. By the way, that is quite the span of grades you have taught! I vote up.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cat, thank you once again. Our children have to be our priority; if anything in this life has meaning our children have to.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Time, I salute you my friend. I fought the good fight for eighteen years and finally had to get out for my own sanity. Perhaps we can pass the fight on to other dedicated teachers and parents.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Lil' Sis, all of your points are right on of course! Your last point is probably the best. They can toss in science and math classes until they are blue in the face and it won't make a bit of difference unless they find teachers who make the effort to make it interesting. I can't imagine what it is like having a special needs child and trying to get him the attention he deserves. Bravo to you for the love you show your son and I hope things get better in Montana soon. Keep fighting the fight!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, just trying to find out if you are paying attention. Good girl, I'm proud of you!

      This concept that college is the only way to make in life is complete horse dung. Some kids just aren't cut out for college so what's the point in going? Pretty damn expensive playground for socializing!

      Thanks buddy!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Christy, thank you! I have to see if you have written anything new because I haven't gotten any notices that you have.

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 4 years ago from Canada

      Billy, I completely agree with you about teaching kids how to think, how to reason. That is education. And too many schools honestly believe that a university education is the only "valid" one. The other kids are a bit less, especially if they are the hands-on types. And you are right -- fixing the system is a BIG problem. The solutions require all of the stakeholders coming to the table: parents, administrators and teachers.

      I enjoyed reading your views on education and hope you do write more. Great hub! Have a wonderful day!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you my friend...in the United States the first problem we have is the Federal Government being in charge of education. That was not always the case; I have a natural distrust of the government, and politicians running the educational system is a recipe for disaster.

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 4 years ago from Clinton CT

      Wow. You have so many insightful things to say about the sad state of our educational system today. I like that you didn't add statistics, polls, etc. It kept it clean. Nice work!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Julie! I'm done now with that part of my life but I sure would like to see change happen sooner rather than later.

    • collegedad profile image

      collegedad 4 years ago from The Upper Peninsula

      Another great hub! Our educational system makes my blood boil! If they dumb it down any further our kids might as well stay at home! I'll receive my teaching certificate in 2014 and have given serious thought to forming a charter school.

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 4 years ago from United States

      You obviously are a caring individual and it was a great loss to your students,when you retired from teaching. I believe that future education programs depend upon how people like you and those others who want needed change in providing for their children's futures, will let their congressmen know Some of those who base their political platforms upon education and really mean what they say, are what this country needs.Shame on this country for what we have allowed and failed to provide a decent future for our children. Thank you for your dedication and good work.

    • profile image

      Giselle Maine 4 years ago

      Well said! Some of what you said was eye-opening for me (as I have not had formal teaching experience). However, before stopping my career to have kids, I used to be a research scientist - a career where problem-solving skills are essiential. And I fully agree with you that problem-solving skills should be emphasized in any curriculum, over and above 'test-taking'. By its very nature, science is hypothesis-driven and based on experiments - it is not all about learning facts and figures. I have seen all too many youngsters leave the field of scientific research because they disliked the actual process of research and preferred learning concrete facts! There is nothing wrong with that mindset in and of itself (it would be very useful in the area, for example, of writing science textbooks) but it greatly differs from what is required in scientific research.

      I can sum it up by saying that some students think "I get good grades in science therefore I should be a scientific researcher" instead of (more correctly) thinking "I enjoy science therefore I should be a scientific researcher."

      I have always noticed that a student with a true desire and interest in the PROCESS of scientific research, even if their "book-learning" grades are not outstanding, will do better in a research career than someone who does well at memorizing facts and figures but has no love for the process of scientific research.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      College, I applaud you for getting your teaching certificate and I wish you well in the future. If you have a dream of starting a charter school then go for it. Until I see a radical change in the system I'm all for anything out of the box.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Whonunuwho, thank you for your kind words. I was a pretty good teacher but I was driven by a passion that is lacking in many teachers today. The political system either needs to get with the program or get out of the program. Either one will work for me. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Giselle, all excellent points. Too many people today equate good grades with intelligence. Nothing could be further from the truth, not the way the current system is run. I agree completely with your comments; I wish, in fact, that you were teaching. :) Thank you very much!

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 4 years ago

      Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! The thing is you just happen to be a man with an opinion that is backed with years of experience in a classroon. If you are a concerned and aware parent you will also reconized that the system is failing our children.

      My youngest son was being labeled with Attention deficit disorder and the school was suggesting I have him placed on ritalin... I knew he did not have ADD and after the school doctor finished his little explanation I took my son to an another doctor. After just a few moment she said to me. There is nothing wrong with this child except he needs more challenge. You see, he would finish his work and instead of them giving him something else to challege him or just to keep him busy while the others caught up they didn't. He would play with his pencil or paper, etc--not sit perfectly sill and silent. The doctor said she would call the school which she did. I went back to the school to see what we could do to give him more work, etc. He as expected to do what the other kids were doing.....period. This was suppose to be one of the best school districts in the area.

      That summer I talked with several people I trusted and decided to home school him..... we did this for several years before he went back into a private school. He is now grown and working with kids in alternative schools and helping them with the "buidling blocks" reading, comprehension and deductive reasoning.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dee, unfortunately, your story is nothing new to me. I saw this time and time again in all the schools that I taught at. It is easier to label a kid than it is to figure out how to support and teach them. I appreciate your comment; I hope you write a hub about this or have you already? It needs to be said.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      billybuc

      This is a great hub, and I agree with most of your opinion on education. I disagree with the Socratic approach to teaching. That is how I was taught in law school and I found it to be less than helpful in learning the law.

      I understand why they chose the Socratic method because the law is shades of grey and not black and white. However, there is no real answer to questions, so there is little help from feedback to reinforce learning.

      It is also useless for non subjective subjects, where the better approach would be inductive, and deductive reasoning. In these subjects such as math and science there are objective answers.

      I do agree with attendance being used as the criteria for schools to get paid by the state.

      My biggest problem with education has always been that it should be directed away from academia to focus on getting you a job.

      Education and industry are more than five years apart in what is taught and what is being applied. There needs to be a tighter bond between education and industry. In fact, I believe that industry should set the criteria for what needs to be learned outside of the basic core of fundamental subjects such as language, math etc.

      Most college graduates, especially those in the technology field have to be trained by the company that hires them. The reason is that companies even in the same industry have a different way to run their business and their employees.

      If you use the follow the money rule, then industry is where you make the money. While education is where you pay the money.

      In my opinion, the top schools in the country are not the top teaching schools, they are only allowing the top students to apply, and maybe attend their school. My point is that it is the quality of the student that is the reason for the success of the school, and not vice versa.

      The students that excel in K-12 are also the students that could go right into industry if they had the proper core subjects taught in K-12.

      College education is overrated and overvalued by academia and society. It needs to be reevaluated and reformed to serve the needs of this century.

      my opinion......

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 4 years ago

      Thank billybuc, I think I will write a hub about our experience. I did write one about how kids are keeping a raw deal.... but it was generally my opinion based on what I've observed.

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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      You offer some great wisdom and insight in this hub. I think you are right that the wages are so low that it isn't inticing for the best and the brightest to take the jobs. Add on all the discipline, behavioral, and emotional problems students leave home with, this field isn't drawing the right crowds. Well said my friend.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      bill....Just my little family is proof enough to me. 1 went to a 4-year..1. went to a 2-year....1 went to Trade&Tech School....and another went U.S. Marine Corps....all 4 are doing what they like, living well and lovin life. That's a fairly good mixture..with fine results,,huh?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rad, I respect all intelligent opinions and yours is thought-provoking and deserving of this space. We need opinions like yours to push this system outside the box and get it working again. Thank you for a great comment.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dee, I hope you do!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tammy, what would I do without you? It seems like you have been with me since my first day at HubPages and you have no idea how much I appreciate you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That's an excellent mixture and proof positive as far as I'm concerned. Thanks again buddy! Get out there and enjoy that creek. Hey, we're having sunshine!!!!!

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      Mark G Weller 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      Bill, you are right on as usual. The educational system is a huge failure and the Fed is a huge failure. Mix the two and boom!

      Voted Up!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mark, I could have saved myself 1300 words and just written your comment. LOL Thank you my friend; I hope you are doing well.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      A well thought out and well written article and of course, you are qualified to be writing this. Until our entire society has an attitude change and adjustment and makes educating our youth its number one priority and interest, I don't see things changing much. Education is not valued in this country as it is in other countries. Too much is taken for granted here. This is a societal, cultural, and governmental problem. Our culture will have to change to valuing education and not blaming the teacher for student struggles or problems. There are small pockets and areas where education is so successful - ie. the person that writes of the Montana school and teachers where his/her child attends. We need to get situations like this Montana school all across our nation in every state, city, town and village. If I knew how to accomplish such a large cultural change in our society and nation, I would suggest it. I think your article is a start and gives good advice and tips to parents and the general public on how to fix our nation's education situation.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzette, you are right of course...and thank you...this is only a start. You pointed out correctly that this calls for a quantum shift in direction. Awareness is the first step but after awareness comes what? I'm afraid I may not be alive to see any meaningful change...but I'm still hopeful.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Yes, there is always hope. I am a retired teacher who taught for 30 years and I don't even have all the answers. But, you are correct also - awareness has to come first and you have made so many aware with this insightful article. I commend you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Suzette, and thank you for the thirty years you gave to the cause!

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      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      I agree with you that parents should encourage the love of learning, that quality teachers should be paid for the quality and bad teachers should be fired. But how do you measure quality? Our schools were in an academic emergency and they said they would have it fixed in a few years - but my daughter couldn't wait a few years for them to get their act together.

      I haven't been a teacher, and I had a hard time figuring out whether my daughter was getting a good education. I had nothing to compare with - so I am all for standardized testing as a way to measure and compare. It shouldn't be used as the only method to determine quality though. The point is to measure what the child has learned - not to teach to the test.

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      Richard Ricky Hale 4 years ago from West Virginia

      Billybuc, perfect example of a class "A" article. Awesome work. This is a very heated subject. It amazes me how teachers are treated in America. Of all places in the world, AMERICA! Teachers deserve to make top pay. They teach our children for crying out loud. Yet, they make money that is a joke. Is this how important our childen are? I want my kids to learn everything possible. You can't go wrong with learning all you can. America's education system is a joke, flat out joke. How can young minds find inspiration to teach when they struggle to survive. It is not easy teaching 30 8 year olds 8 hours a day. Great write up Billybuc. I couldn't agree more. Teaching has to become priority.

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      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Awesome article, Bill. Your passion surely came through.

      I agree with you on all points. Education has to begin at home and parents owe it to their children and society to be hands-on with education.

      I began reading to my son the day he was born. Literally! We were home when he was just 10 hours old. We had "reading time" every single day until he started school. When he was in school, I went to every orientation, met all the teachers and had two meetings per year with the teachers to go over what his problem areas were and how they needed to be addressed both in the current school year and the upcoming year. Each time, the faculty would tell me they wished all parents were as involved in their childrens' education as I. I couldn't believe it! You mean they're not?! What?? Really??

      I love the fact that being a former teacher, you state college isn't necessary. I went to broadcasting school years after I graduated high school (30th out of 300!) and became a DJ and copywriter. However, I refused my parents offer to attend conventional college. It was complete rebellion on my part, but it hasn't hurt me.

      Because my teachers taught the skills we need as adults, including reasoning, and problem solving, coupled with my love of challenging my mind, I was given the opportunity to learn accounts receivable by a former employer who saw my apptitude and potential. I was 20. Today, I am an Accounting Manager without a degree. But I have knowledge and a proven track record.

      Once upon a time ago, teachers taught their students to think. How many kids today can do math without a calculator? Seriously! Can they do long division, diagram sentences or know when to come up with common denominators? Do they even know what that is?

      It's a sad state of educational affairs, to say the least. If parents are not willing to be deeply involved in their childrens' upbringing and education, they don't deserve to be parents!

    • mwilliams66 profile image

      mwilliams66 4 years ago from Left Coast, USA

      Brilliant hub Billy. It echos my thoughts on the subject quite to the t.

      I'll be back a bit later to comment further.

      Voting up and sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      mwilliams....it's always a treat having you visit. I thoroughly enjoy you and appreciate every one of your visits.

    • Kyricus profile image

      Tony 4 years ago from Ohio

      Very nice hub Billy, and very even handed too. I tend to fall on the more conservative side of the political spectrum, but I couldn't find much to disagree with here.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Millionaire, I have nothing against standardized testing. It's been around since Moses I believe and it does give some indication of progress. The problem as we now know is that when federal funding is tied into those test results schools have little option but to focus primarily on the test. That is an unacceptable system once that happens.

      As always I appreciate your comments and respect your point of view. Thank you for stopping by.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lyricwriter....it has always been a mystery to me that teachers aren't paid an income equal to the importance of their job. I taught simply because I loved kids but that is not enough to lure the best and the brightest away from high-paying corporation jobs.

      Thank you for your great comment and compliment.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I can see I touched upon a subject you are passionate about. :) I think it is infinitely more important that a person be passionate about their profession rather than choose a profession and hope that they become passionate about it.

      And to my dying day I will say that it all begins at home. A student does not flip a switch when they are sixteen and suddenly become interested in learning. We are born curious but without constant reinforcement that curiosity dies and is replaced by complacency...then you have a problem.

      Thank you my friend; have a wonderful evening.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kyricus, I'm not sure this issue falls within political boundaries...or at least it shouldn't. I have heard it be a political issue, mainly the states should handle education rather than the Federal government, and truthfully I have no problem with that. I just want someone to handle it and fix the problem.

      Thank you for the visit and the comment.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      I agree with what you said and wrote. Learning certainly begins in the home. It seemed when my boys were teen and they started the "new math" that it was just silly. We had to memorize multiplication tables and so forth and I can still divide in my head. Teach to the tests is another stupid move that has failed. My grandson went to a private school and has stayed on the dean's list throughout college and I believe it is to do with involved parents and excellent teaching in school. Things certainly need to change. Outstanding hub.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      without a family thank God for my teachers. heaven knows the streets were waiting with open arms. thank you

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mhatter, thank you for that personal reflection. Much appreciated!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pam! It starts with awareness of the problem. Then, hopefully, some forward-thinking people will take the issue past awareness and into the action phase. That's the hope, anyway! :)

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      Donna Hilbrandt 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      @Kathleen Cochran: Please don't assume that working in a school is not a "real world" job. Please don't assume that teachers don't have any other work experience out side of teaching, as many do. Also don't assume that teachers have time in the summer to go and work at a (paid) internship. I haven't had a summer off since I started teaching. Many teachers spend our summers teaching summer school and working on curriculum. Many teachers get second or third jobs both in the summer and during the school year, because what we get paid these days doesn't make ends meet. I am sorry you have come across teachers that didn't know how to communicate with parents. Unfortuneately, a few bad apples make the rest of us look bad. However, I think that could happen in any profession. I have met a lot of people in the "read world" of business that were terrible at communicating.

      billybuc - Great hub! This is a topic that hits a nerve with all public school teachers who care. We do our best within an extremely broken system. Sadly, I think it will get worse before it gets better. I hope parents and citizens speak out, as our kids need those voices to save their futures.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Donnah, I definitely feel your frustration. My own frustration eventually led me to retire early two years ago. There is only so much the good teachers can do in a broken system. Everyone wants results but it's like chickens with their heads cut off, flopping around without a plan or hope of one.

      I thank you for your heartfelt comment and best of luck in the trenches next year.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Our country is slowly moving toward private schools, which should scare the h--- out of us. What can we do? Support our public schools, get involved..Thank you..

    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 4 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      Another fantastic hub Sir Bill.. I have always believed in some of my teachers for teaching us values and points to remember for life rather than teaching us just course syllabus.

      I have had the honor to study under some wonderful teachers in life and they always considered syllabus completion a secondary point to focus on!

      Education in India here is a lot more course driven and trust me people like plumbers and electricians don't have a standard of living like those in the US( no offences :)). Basically a lot of importance is given to college here, a lot.

      So much so that... some fathers do not talk to their sons for months if they don't see them going in the top indian colleges like the IITs and IIMs.. I believe that is sad.

      College here is believed to be a platform to do well in life..and in most parts, the only platform to do well in life :( but I believe otherwise...

      As always Sir Bill, The hub is great...

    • Tactfullyrude profile image

      Tactfullyrude 4 years ago from Idaho

      True story there Billy, I didn't go to college and I totally rock face!!!! Haha!!! I loved this one, especially having a child with a disabilty 'old school' teaching didn't do the trick for my Aspie and it took some unconventional ways to help him succeed!!!! LEARNING BEGINS AT HOME!!! So true!! You are amazing!! Thanks for sharing your informative words yet again!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, thank you for once again showing why you are a fantastic Hubber and an even better human being.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rahul, it was once that way in this country, when a college degree meant something of value. Not so these days and it is sad and concerning. I appreciate you taking the time to school us on the ways of India and as always I appreciate your support.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tact, I'm not sure if I am really amazing or that I have lived one hell of a long time. Either way, I really appreciate you. Have you written a hub about the experiences of having a disabled child in school? I'd love to read that one. Thank you my friend!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Parents should be able to spot a child's talent and encourage it. Degree should be a choice and not a compulsion by parents for lucrative careers.Great hub.All your hubs provide insights and vital information. Voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vellur, thank you so much! I try to speak the truth as I know it, and if that provokes thought then fantastic.

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      Gail Sobotkin 4 years ago from South Carolina

      I so agree with this statement: "The greatest skill we can teach the youth of today is to reason; we must give them the ability to analyze a problem and find a logical solution to that problem. With that life skill they can succeed; without it they will fail in life."

      I love your cemetary example of the way you handled a question from your son. You responded immediately and helped him answer his own question in a precise way.

      With the advent of the internet, smart phones and all our other electronic devices pure facts are available within a few key strokes, but the analysis of facts and incorporation of fact into meaningful activities and pursuits is what's truly important.

      Voted this hub up, useful, awesome and interesting and hope to see more on this topic.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Gail, I do very little writing on education. I'm not sure why that is; maybe I'm still too close to it to have any objective thoughts on the matter. I'm sure you will see more in the near future. Thank you my friend; I am always grateful when you stop by.

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      Billy- Great hub! The subject of the video (at the top of the hub) you shared was something that I learned a long time back and I know it is the truth. It's been in my thoughts every day for the past few years, since I strayed from the group of people who were a positive influence in my life. Thank you for this important reminder. It is so true, I am responsible for my own happiness. Thank you again and hope you are having a great day!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Jamie; it is the most important message for me to remember daily as well. I appreciate you stopping by and I'm glad you liked my hub and video.

    • profile image

      Starmom41 4 years ago

      great hub- and you make some very important points. Things have gotta change- but it doesn't look very promising, from what I've seen in recent years.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Star, I hope some true innovators step forward with some workable solutions soon. Thank you for your visit and comment.

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      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Great message, Bill! All truthful and would make a difference if everyone paid attention to this signs you posted. Voted way up!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, coming from a fine educator as yourself, I consider that a great compliment. Thank you my friend.

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      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Absolutely...I have written about the assessment issue myself. I was a teacher for 40 years and I watched over time the classroom become a -huge money - making tool for

      those who develop tests at the state and national level. Teaching to the test is exactly what happened. While prepping for the BIG tests we had to assess and assess and assess on material we never had time to teach. So we had to remediate remediate remediate..which would not have been necessary if we had gotten to teach in the first place.

      I have maintained that a huge piece of the puzzle has been left out. Parents, some, not all are left out of the loop. They are not expected to share responsibility for their child's education!! It lies solely with the school to be all things to the child. If the child is not successful, it is the teacher's fault is too often what is facing teachers. It does indeed take a village to educate our children: teacher, all school personnel, community, and PARENTS. This is well said. Voted interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      pstraubie, thank you and your opinion is respected. You put in your time and paid your dues and I, for one, am grateful that you dedicated forty years to the good fight. Thank you for sharing your views and experience.

    • profile image

      Sueswan 4 years ago

      Hi Billy,

      Amen! A wonderful and important hub.

      My mom use to volunteer at the local elementary school in their remedial reading program. The volunteers were told never to tell a child they made a mistake. They were to say, "That is a nice word." "Can you think of another word?"

      Mom didn't follow the instructions. She questioned and challenged her students if they didn't know a word. She had them pronounce and sound out the word. The kids in her class improved the most with their reading.

      Here is a link to a video by Ken Robinson. I think you will enjoy it.

      http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools...

      Voted up and away.

      Take Care :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sue! I have several stories like your mom's that I have seen over the years. Common sense has been tossed out the window of late and replaced by the easy way out. I'm a dinosaur who needed to retire. :)

      I'll take a look at the video and thank you for sharing this on Facebook.

      bill

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      This hub has really motivated me today, us teachers we might not get monetary rewards that we would like, but knowing that someone is somewhere because you showed him or her some light in early year gives us joy and satisfaction that surpass the monetary rewards. I'm glad billybuc you have been there and you understand this. Voted up and shared.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      dwarchira, keep the faith and remember that the job you do is one of the most important in the world. Thank you for being a teacher and for caring.

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      David 4 years ago from Northern California

      I agree that our education system is broken. It seems like most of the attention, and money, isn't finding the mark to benefit the students.

      Here in California our state UC system just voted on raises for a couple of college presidents while students fees are going up, again, and classes are being dropped. Not a sign of an efficient system in my book.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      adjkp, not an efficient system at all. Maybe we need to have corporate leaders run the school system so it become more efficient, since corporations are the only entities making money. :) I hope things get better soon because the kids are going to continue to suffer.

    • Greg Horlacher profile image

      Greg Horlacher 4 years ago from Grand Prairie, TX

      Great hub! Nailed so much on the head, in my opinion. I disagree on a few things, though. That unions protect bad teachers is something I haven't seen. I have seen unions make sure that teachers are given fair hearing. The worst teacher in my old school wasn't protected by unions - he was protected by the principal! Know why? Because every single kid passed his "French" class without doing a lick of work. He worked wonders on the schoolwide GPA and graduation rate. Other teachers were ashamed to be near his classes because the kids did nothing but play on cell phones or sleep. That teacher himself would leave the class to talk loudly into his bluetooth earpiece. Embarrassing. Most "bad" teachers need help and training that is just not available.

      I also believe that teachers should make more on average (especially in certain lowballing states), but I'm not certain that the "best" teacher types would be attracted by money. Finland is considered by many to have the best and brightest teachers in the world, but their pay is no different from ours. The Finnish teacher rewards are respect and autonomy (and overall happiness)!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Greg, your points are well-taken. I think we have all taught at schools where there was that one teacher who seemed to push the limits to the max and seemed to be untouchable. What you described in the French teacher I have seen several times......the worst I saw was a P.E. teacher who copies her lesson plans year after year and never introduced new ideas in twenty years. I do agree there is a place for unions, and your idea about respect and autonomy has its merits. I'm wondering if that would happen in the United States?

      Anyway, thank you so much and keep up the good work!

    • trusouldj profile image

      trusouldj 3 years ago from Indiana

      I work as a teacher's assistant in a Special Needs school. The emphasis on structured teaching and Common Core goals sucks the creativity out of teachers; takes the fun out of school. Is it really fair to expect non-verbal/non moving children to do Algebra and Literature like higher level students? I get the idea of exposure, but ... I don't know. Any ideas?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      trusouldj, as long as the school system is tied to Federal funding, things will remain the same. I feel for you; I truly do. It drove the love of teaching right out of me.

      Thank you for your thoughts.

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