- Posted June 9, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
What’s wrong with America’s school system?
The Problem With Schools Today
It has been more decades than I would like to admit since I sat in a classroom and followed along with a teacher at the front of the room. But it's not been that long ago since I watched with pride when my youngest son graduated from high school and later from college.
What I have noticed is that schools today, in spite of all the technological advances, do not seem to be producing the same quality of learning as when I was a student. The focus of educators seems to be less on providing a basis for life ahead and more on making sure that students pass standardized, mandated tests coming out of Washington D.C.
I have seen teachers more intent on keeping the test scores up for the teacher's own job security rather than insuring the students have a well-rounded education. I know personally of teachers who spend an entire grading period not focusing on the lesson plans, but rather devoting all the time and energy into a standardized test.
The biggest issue I find and the reason that today's students seem less educated and less prepared than those of my generation is how control of policy and curriculum has been taken away from local school boards, teachers and principals and been shifted instead to state boards who must comply with federal rules and mandates being handed down from Washington DC.
There seems to be less and less attention on the individual students. Schools must compete on standardized tests to make sure funding comes in and to keep accredidation to remain open. It doesn't matter that the tests have little to do with learning or preparing students for the future.
Localities are best suited to determine what will be in the best interest of students as they learn and prepare for life ahead. Sadly, that has been lost as more and more authority has been taken away and consolidated in state boards which simply are there to execute the dictates from the federal Department of Education.
If these tests and mandates are so essential why are we constantly reminded of the dumbing down of America?
If federal involvement is needed, why do American students fare so badly compared to students in other countries?
Another issue is parental involvement has decreased. Schools have become surrogate parents and babysitters rather than institutions of learning. Parents have forfeited their responsibility of making sure their child learns to teachers, who too often are more interested in putting in the hours and getting a paycheck and less concerned with making sure his or her class is actually learning.
When I think back to my own educational experience and compare to today's learning environment, I see that I was the lucky one. Even though I went to 15 different schools before graduating high school, I was better taught than most students today.
Growing up in 5 diferent states, the curriculum often had a local flavor which I believe made me a more rounded individual. As I moved from school to school, the sharing of information made for a better learning experience and climate. Teachers and students would relish learning about other communities and other states from someone who could provide first hand accounts.
Today, we have a classroom where not just students, but teachers can't wait until the bell rings. We have students studying to pass standardized tests while learning nothing about the subject of the class.
From the Cornfield, we need less federal involvement in education. We need to bring education back to the local school boards and teachers. We need parents to take back their parental responsibility in assiting their children learn.