Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Education of the Masses

Public education is in hot water.  There are never enough funds to provide the levels of education that we have been led to expect.  Teachers are being laid off.  Schools are being closed.  The sky is falling......

The school paradigm that we have today is essentially that same one we've had for nearly two hundred years - Kindergarten to Grade Twelve.  Most districts have three grade levels, classrooms are self-contained, and, by law, kids have to attend - at least until they drop out.

Essentially, students learn all the basics (or should have learned) by the end of grade three.  After that, teachers build onto the basic skills.  If a child fails to adequately master basic skills by grade three, they are destined to the hard road and usually do not succeed without some interventions. 

By the time a student is in about grade 10, every class is a repetation (basic subjects) of past studies.  The result is a high drop out rate.

Additionally, school rapidly becomes irrelevent to students in the poorer sectors of our society when they approach high school when they notice that their peers with the greatest power and wealth get these things from the narcotics trade or other criminal activities. 

Couple these phenomena with the fact that many kids are already behind the educational eight-ball before they go to school.  Absent parents, gang activities, poverty - all make the transition to a closed school environment nearly insurmountable.

So - what to do.  Since the school system has become the adhoc parent, health provider, food provider, etc., maybe we should start earlier.  A kid should start school when toilet trained and reasonably socialized (can get along without mom for a reasonable length of time and can play with others).

Stop the notion that all kids should go to college.  Only a minority of students will benefit from a four-year education at a college or university.  Get more vocational training.  Also, get some life skills training on how to get up and get ready for work, how to manage finances, and how to work with others. 

Stop blaming the teachers.  They are doing what they are told.

1 comment:

  1. "Bravo," said the recently laid-off teacher. "And Amen."