Good morning! Mornings always bring clarity, don’t they? I am feeling like the last installment was a bit too bellicose. This morning I would like to clarify.
When I said “the public is the problem,” I did not mean that I view people negatively or in a hateful manner. To be clear: I LOVE working with people and my vocation of counselor. I believe it is where God has put me. It comes naturally to me and I look forward to my work every day. I am blessed to say such; I know many people cannot make a similar claim.
So here is what I meant: our culture has significant issues, deeper-rooted than the issues we see in our education system. And this may be a leap for some of you, but I am beginning to believe that schools are society’s most convenient “whipping post” for most every problem.
For the purposes of this post, I do not want to identify the supposed problems with education. I simply want to ask some questions. Random questions, based off of my own reading and my own experience with the educational system in the US of A.
Would the failing schools in America look different if their surrounding communities were not poverty-stricken and/or riddled with crime? If you have never read a book by a lady named Ruby Payne, I suggest you go pick it up! The title: A Framework for Understanding Poverty. This book accurately describes my experience with the students in my school district.
Would the quality of a school improve, if said school had more resources? I believe this is rudimentary, simple, basic. Common sense. College athletic programs understand this–it takes money and resources to grow a program. You have to put some time and effort and money into a project before it becomes freestanding, lucrative, productive. Schools, in my opinion, have enough tireless workers and enough people who put maximum effort into seeing their students succeed. Money and resources, however…
If students had attentive parents at home, would their learning increase? You guys, I could read before I went to school! Why? Because my mother taught me! The school I attended asked my parents to let me to skip the second grade, because I was so advanced compared to my peers. Was I a genius? No! But I went to school with a great foundation for learning. My teachers didn’t have to teach me EVERYTHING. I humbly submit to you all that if a child cannot read, it is NOT THE FAULT OF HIS OR HER TEACHERS. It is not a teacher’s fault if a child’s parents rarely speak to them, never read to them, and do not value education. It is not a teacher’s fault that parents allow television, gaming systems, and other technology to be free babysitters for them. I could go on another rant, but I will refrain…
Would the face of education in this country look different if families weren’t broken/fractured/divorced? Think about it for 2 seconds, please. My daughters will grow up in a household where Mom and Dad have 4 degrees between the 2 of them. Where they are spoken to frequently. Where they are well-fed, kept warm, and lack no basic needs. Where we value physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Where reading is not a chore, but a joy and a privilege. I say all this with a prayer…God willing I can give all of this to my daughters! Still, even if my wife and I fall short of this, we will get close.
Can we seriously think about what schools would look like if every child grew up in such a home? I know it’s a dream and it won’t happen. But I’m just asking the question. Is it my daughter’s first grade teacher’s job to make certain she can read? Is it the job of the school system to broaden the scope of my childrens’ thinking? To encourage them to be themselves? To navigate socially? Or is that my job?
I strongly believe that schools should be AUXILIARY to a student’s learning, not central. I see the problem thus: schools have become central–not just to academic learning, but also social, mental, and emotional learning. Not spiritual, though! Now tell me true, people…how are schools supposed to be everything to everybody?
Come on and tell me! I don’t see how it’s possible.