Sunday, October 31, 2010

Educating Tim, Nancy, Jose, and Akhmed

This debate is a relatively new one in that it never was discussed before the end of the second World War. Kids were thought to be extensions of their parents, therefore they were to do exactly as their parents said. Talking back to an adult was unheard of. Children were also an addition to many families way of creating a livelihood. During  these times, kids worked along side their parents in the fields harvesting and planting crops. This is why we have school calendars set up the way we do.. to allow the  families to have all hand on deck to harvest in the spring and summer, can fruits and veggies for the coming winter and the like.
I guess during the  baby boomer time frame, adults decided that kids needed to be free of work expectations, and free to make their own voices heard. Thus began the rush to make kids expressive, creative, well rounded and such. We have continued this line of thinking to the point where anytime a child has something to say, adults stop talking to hear the imaginative pearls. Of course I exaggerate. But we have lost the  ability to teach kids respect for others. We have failed them in teaching them how to interact in a socially acceptable way. They don't know how to attract and keep friends. They do not understand that  learning is  something only their generation considers a throw away thing. All generations before them have worked and strove to be educated. No other time in history shows this high drop out percentage at primary schools and add college drop out levels are monumental in the first semester, meaning kids aren't ready for higher education when they leave primary schools.  Think back about they way our schools used to be structured.. We had smaller classes, kids who knew each other because they lived in the same area and were dealing with the same issues , primarily, at home. Teachers didn't have to cope with standardized tests, over crowding, lack of materials and kids arriving from all over the city to be included in their schools. Community schools were supported by the community, not the federal or state government. Parents had a say in what schools taught and how. And teachers had power in the profession itself not through a very weak and jaded union.  Today's schools are a bastion of political and bureaucratic regulations that keep kids from being engaged in the learning process they were created to be very good at. They are trying to learn, trying to keep from being bullied, trying to understand the kids in their classes  who have very different cultural aspects than they do,in some cases trying to understand a teacher who really doesn't speak English well. Teachers  are expected to teach way more than math, reading and spelling grammar and the basics. So the basic skills tend to get lost in the muddle and kids get to senior year and can't read, write intelligently or do simple math. So they fail in the first try at a higher level of education. Take a look at private schools. How many of them see their kids failing out of the first year of college? How many of them are dealing with extremely high drop out rates? These schools are teaching what needs to be taught to ready kids for the continuing of their education or for starting a life. They have recently been regarded as a place for the elite to send their previous offspring. But if you honestly look at the way these schools are run and what the outcome is, it makes a case to stop all the government  interference with our kids education and return the job of educating kids to teachers and parents.  Just a thought anyway.
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