There are so many things out there right now that I consider both serious and urgent. One of the most difficult for me to share in any sort of organized or coherent method is the way our education system has been undermined, sabotaged, taken over and totally trashed. It isn’t that my emotions get in the way, although I do get angry every time I think about what is being done to our children and young adults, it is just that there is so very much that needs to be said.
- Every education degree I have researched or tried to pin down at a major four year institution seems to require as many hours of teacher development, classroom management, educational trends and community relations as it does hours of the subject matter that one is expected to teach. I realize that some psychology is necessary when dealing with children, not to mention their parents, but I think that a teacher should have a single mission and leave all of the management, relationships and negotiations with the administration. If this seems unreasonable, then allow the parents to become more involved!
- Parents have slowly been forced out of the school systems. Educators, backed by very powerful unions, have taken over our schools from kindergarten through college. We thought that we were placing the future of this country in capable hands that valued the trust we gave them. We were wrong. Every 3 years the Program for International Student Assessment measures the performance of students from 65 countries. The United States of America scored LOWER than China, Republic of Korea, Japan, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Estonia, Canada, Belgium, Vietnam, Australia, Slovenia, New Zealand, France, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Finland, Poland, Germany, Austria, Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, United Kingdom and Latvia. Similarly, we also scored lower than most of these countries on the science literacy tests. So, obviously the people who have been in charge of educating our children are failing miserably by world standards.
- Our government sees a problem and immediately thinks to solve it by throwing money at it until a better result is achieved. For the comming 2014-15 school year the National Center for Education Statistics estimates that we will be spending $12,281.00 on each child in public school. Naturally this figure does not include the lab fees, sports fees, home room fees, band fees, club fees or the massive quantities of paper towels, toilet paper, baby wipes, band aids and other miscellaneous classroom on-hand merchandise. Then, one must not forget the notebooks, project materials, highlighters, workbooks, planners, poster board, reading lists, sometimes it seems as if there should be an advanced course in finance just for the parents to juggle all of the expenses.
- In the nineties homeschooling started gaining in popularity, but there were still many who felt uncomfortable taking something so important (your child’s education) away from the professionals. What if something got left out? What if they couldn’t get into college? Well, in 1997 a study was undertaken. It was a little surprising to me. Home schoolers outperformed those in public schools by 30-37% in all subjects. From K – 12 all homeschoolers scored, on average, in the 87th percentile! If you want some numbers that are a little more recent, in 2001 Stanford accepted 26% of its homeschooled applications which was about double the overall acceptance rate. Wheaton College reported that its homeschooled SAT scores averaged 58 points above the total entering class average. Also, SAT reported that homeschoolers scored about 81 points above the national average.
We all have complaints about the selective history being taught. We resent the attitude that America is not the greatest nation and a beacon of hope and freedom. We detest textbooks that only cover the mistakes without also covering the sacrifice, the heroes, the generosity and the exceptionalism. But it is absolutely infuriating that the education system could not even teach concrete concepts of math and science! It is so hard to be organized and coherent when teachers have been telling me that they know what they are doing and that they are professionals when they are obviously not getting results.
There is a problem here. Is it really logical to keep doing the same things over and over while expecting a different result?