- Posted April 30, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
iReport Debate: What’s your top issue?
We need to figure out how to improve education in this country. I am a teacher, a foster mom, and I have 5 kids under 11, so I am more than aware of what is going on in the schools. I am shocked at the enormous numbers of kids that cannot read at a minimum level, at the numbers of kids that cannot do basic math. I am also shocked at how we are wasting our brightest minds that are cappable of so much more than they are being asked to do. Some kids are coming to school with more and more deficits, and it is harder and harder to get them where they need to be. Other kids are coming so smart they need alternative placements designed to meet their needs. Politicians keep dictating the curriculum and the evaluation systems. Right now, the standards are changing, and they are getting harder, (which is needed) but many kids can't even function at today's standards!
Also, it seems so many parents are not vesting themselves in their childrens' education. It seems they want the schools and the teachers to do it all. They don't want homework, they don't want to have to follow through with discipline, at my school we weven give the kids breakfast IN THE CLASSROOM. Yet, parents want their kids to get great grades. If there is a problem at school, the first question to the teacher is "What did you do to make my child ____?" So from the beginning, the children are learning that they are not responsible for their learning or behavior.
I fully believe that if we don't improve our education system, we are doomed as a country. But we need to be smart about it. The newish fad is to "hold teachers accountable", through standardized testing. Yet there are no provisions to account for such things as 1. attendance, 2. individual growth, 3. health or mental issues, 4. family drama. If a child misses a day or two a week, but is "enrolled" the whole year, the teacher is still responible to show a year's growth. If a child is ill, and having weekily treatments for a chronic disease but they are "enrolled" for a year, the teacher is still responsible to show a year's growth. If the child is throwing chairs, has explosive anger, refuses to listen or cooperate or participate, still, the teacher is responsible. If the child is molested, raped, put in foster care, moved several times,if their parents get ill or divorced or deported, the teacher is still responsible for a year's growth. Every one of the above examples REALLY is happening with a student I work with this year. And we as teachers, need to make sure they learn the curriculum--or else we get poor evaluations, our schools get bad ratings, our scores may be published. Yikes!
We as a society really need to look at what we want our children to look like as adults, and work backwards to help them grow into those people. We need to focus on STEM and look for innovative ways to educate, like flipped classrooms, or other creative approaches. We need to start with our kids even younger, to establish the basics, so the gap is not so huge, even in kindergarten, like it is now. We need to expect parents to share the responsibility, and for all of us as a community to share the responsiblility. The schools and Teachers cannot do it alone.