Do you ever think about education reform?
It’s really a hot-button issue, especially in the world of education; I was once leveraging myself into a position from which I might be able to enter that world as a working stiff – i.e., a teacher of English and writing – but I was actually sidetracked by the vagaries of life. To be honest, I don’t regret it at all or even feel a need to go back to that for several reasons. One is the fact that college education is very expensive, even when you’re going to a public institution. Another is the nagging doubt, the lingering suspicion that you’re going into a fad degree that will leave you floating helplessly in an overstaffed job market, although that’s pretty much taken care of by the fact that a lot of teachers don’t make it to the five year mark before changing the direction of their careers altogether. The big thing, though, is that regulation is getting tough.
In the interest of providing a better education for the American youth, the government keeps pushing through legislation with varying degrees of failure, and usually it involves some incentive for a school to get better test scores from their students – a system of rewards and punishments, as it were. But the problem is (and you’ll hear it from the entire establishment, as well as all through school if you’re actually going to try to be a teacher) that the government, while supposedly using education professionals to design these programs for improving schools, seems to be coming at it all wrong. The programs are causing panic among school administration because they expect results that are too drastic, too soon. The anti-incentive usually involves cuts in government funding, which is the lifeblood of a school. The administration jumps on the teachers’ backs and start pounding. The teachers’ reactions are often to start teaching students how to answer the specific questions on the tests, circumventing important contextual learning and giving no regard to individual students’ interests or preferred learning styles; not to mention the pressure, the tension, and the stress only gets worse as it filters through to the ground level – the students whose interests these laws propose to protect. The teachers sometimes even resort to cheating on tests, which sets a bad example for the students!
So here’s a question: can we do it better? Here’s my short answer: yes we can. Can I design the law? Absolutely not. But here’s a few things that come to mind:
It’s obvious that technology is a big deal. Teach them all to use it at a base level; I’ve been saying that since I was in high school. Most of that is no big deal anymore, considering these kids are born with a smartphone in one hand and a cash card in the other. But the important thing to remember is not to forget about . . .
They need to learn to write by hand. They ought to be doing it daily. They really should be doing a good portion of it in cursive. I honestly don’t care how they get their reading as long as they read something, but writing is an activity that has a ginormous impact on brain development. Don’t leave it out and don’t let them give up on it, because it makes a big, big difference. They also need math. Everyone seems to have a calculator at hand nowadays, but they still need the skills to do it longhand and on paper. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, long division, and simple algebraic problem-solving. Those are the mathematical avenues to normal daily function in modern society. If they want to take it further, great. If not, they still have access to about 70% of the professional job market, at least. (Dear U.S. government: not everyone is cut out for STEM professions, and we still need nurses and construction workers.) How can we best impart knowledge to our young?
I’m a huge believer in hands-on learning. Give it a context, show them how to do it, throw them into several different situations that require a similar treatment so that they can learn not just the skills, but to employ them in a flexible manner that gives them the tools they need to exemplify the awesomeness of being an intelligent human being. Teach them how the box works, and then show them how to think inside and outside. I’m also a huge fan of physical props where appropriate, because more people are visual and hands-on learners than the educational system seems to realize.
Mme. Ross and I have discussed the possibility of homeschooling our children before, and the option remains on the table. I know we have the ability to do it, if not the tools to do it to the government’s satisfaction. If we were to do it, I think we would probably focus on the essentials of reading, writing, arithmetic – and I guarantee the technology would take care of itself. I’m the original tech-savvy, and I know my kids are going to be the same.
In my honest opinion, a lot of the world seems a little too fixated on getting every child into a high-flying professional position, which seems to leave many people unhappy and unfulfilled, feeling ostracized and to some extent used – used like a tool; and that’s because they have been used. It’s a game to those who control the media. They’re trying to build a wall with us, with the elite on one side and on the other side are the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free; the wretched refuse of our own teeming liquor stores; the homeless and the tempest-tost! Where’s the golden lamp, my friends? It’s really meant to light the other side of the wall. The fact is, the majority of America’s elite, that top one percent, wants to leave the rabble in the dark – because they only need us to do the dirty work for them. Make their lattes and their steak dinners, install their appliances and mow their lawns. They want us to do it, and they want it cheap. So why play their game?
A wise man once said that if a person can get a job doing what they like to do then they never have to work a day of their lives. Perhaps that’s a little pie-in-the-sky, but why not just work toward developing the kids’ natural abilities to their fullest extents and let them be who they want to be? In the end, their happiness is all that truly matters. What they really need to learn is that they can choose to be happy.
All other education is secondary to that.
What do you think? Am I a whacko nutjob, or what? Feel free to add your voice, I’m always looking for a good conversation!
This post was prompted by today’s Daily Post prompt
- The New Colossus | Wikipedia
- A Different Viewpoint on “The New Colossus” | Home of the Brave
- School’s Out Forever! | alienorajt
- That One thing I wish to be taught to children (particularly in the philippines) | 365 days of defiance
- Best Days? (an idea for a book) | Kate Murray
- How to raise naughty children (and why all good parents should consider doing so). | Cogito Ergo Mum
- Daily Prompt: The New School | From Slacker To Scribe
- A Salute to Teachers and the Art and the Love of Learning | meanderedwanderings
- S. Thomas Summers | Jesse James Takes the Gun
- Killing Creativity | 61 Musings
- A new school | Sue’s Trifles
- We Need Dumb Teachers To Get Smart Kids | The Jittery Goat
- Redesigning School: My Viewpoint on a Herculean Task | Eyes Through The Glass – A Blog About Asperger’s
- The new school – inspired by the Daily Prompt | Kicking On
- creation does not stop at conception | peacefulblessedstar
- Footie Smoochie | Retrofocus
- The Lurker’s List | School
- Daily Prompt: The New School “Old School New School” | Dancing with the Wise Women
- School. Thou art banished | rightclickontheworld
- Daily Prompt: The New School | Awl and Scribe
- JED’s Playhouse
- School time at the playhouse | JED’s Playhouse
- Getting Back to The Root | My Play Nook
- Daily Prompt: The New School | Nicole Sloan’s Books
- Daily Prompt: The New School | Basically Beyond Basic
- The Next Generation School | iPrattle
- The schoolyard | not4faintheartsblog
- Daily Prompt: The New School | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
- 239. New School | Barely Right of Center
- Daily Prompt: The New School | Heron There & Everywhere
- The New School | The Nameless One
- The New School | Lead us from the Unreal to the Real
- Basics | Flowers and Breezes
- Daily Prompt: The New School | I really just pretend to know stuff
- The New School Called: Reality Horizons | The Political and Social Chaos Blog
- Daily Prompt: Skilled | Different Isn’t Wrong, It’s Just Different
- A Meandering Look at My Ideal of Education/Daily Prompt | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
- Epistemology | vic briggs
- Education Means Enlightened hearts, Not Straight A’s ! | Shadows Of The Divine
- A Post About School!? But it’s Christmas! | Baby Gates Down
- The New School | Geek Ergo Sum
- Learn your place | Fictionalism
- The School of Practicality | The Wind…It is blowing…
- Harmless Propaganda
- Daily Prompt: The New School | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)
- The New School | lostguy35
- Standardized Testing Is Ineffective. | Write Through Life
- Getting Schooled… | sltimewellwasted