Choices in Education II

Today it seems more and more like mainstream education is involved in appearance setting rather than educating our young people. I have seen instances of teaching a test rather than educating the young person as to life and the expectations that not everything will always be “Hunky Dory” and you can be whatever you want to be just because you want it.
It seems like the time period of “Dr. Spock” is fast approaching it’s demise and a major dose of reality is setting in.Now exactly what do I mean by this?I mean that the time of the Baby Boomer is fast drawing to a close and the next generation is starting to take hold and creating their reality. These people are by far, richer, and more educated than the previous generation and the failing of the previous generation are being highlighted and studied. Where we as the “Boomers” had what we considered to be some very astute minds, some of the pronouncements that came from these minds are now being put to the reality test. It seems that some or most of our lofty ideology has indeed passed into fanciful and impractical machinations that have fallen flat and cost us a rather large fortune in both monetary and reputation areas.The United States used to rank pretty high in the areas of education, science, and business on the stages of the world. But, over a period of the last 40 – 50 years that reputation has diminished on every front imaginable. And the most noticeable is in the area of education. We might not have had the ranking of the European or Asiatic countries in education but we at least held our own on the world stage. Today, according to the statistics, we sometimes hold our head above the water and gulp for air. To me, this is unacceptable on any level, and I’ll tell you what I experienced in trying to find out why this is.I had occasion to go directly to the source of what has now become a total conundrum and ask the Director of what is called the largest association of teaches in the United States exactly what was the cause of this problem. In response, and I give the man credit for responding, came one of the best cases of tap dancing that I have witnessed, second only to that of Bill Clinton under questioning about a purported illicit relationship.This gentleman asked if I would support the endeavors of his organization to reverse the current situation of the state of education in the United States, I said I would support the plan to achieve that goal, but I needed to hear what that plan was. No answer was forthcoming. My parting remarks to that gentleman were how eloquent his silence was.
The conundrum I currently see is how do we as parents and concerned citizens deal with getting our children educated enough to be able to deal with the intricacies of this world we live in today, is it to focus on things such as the Taks, or the Tass, or other such tests that only improve the local school districts chance of getting money they don’t know how to use, and then complain that they don’t have enough money to meet the standard of “Educational Excellence” we hope our children are getting.Here’s the conundrum “How are we to achieve that level of excellence when:
the people in charge can’t even agree on what that standard is???It has therefore become the responsibility of the parent to make the decision as to what standard will be used in the education of their child/children. The Educational system in the United States has failed in the delivery of the one product that it was incepted to deliver. It has failed to educate our young.I do not fault the front line teachers and educators that deal with our children; their jobs are almost untenable is the scope that has been prescribed by the hierarchy of education. It is there and only there I lay the responsibility for the Status Quo.I am not a person who presents a problem without suggesting a possible solution, and for my solution, I will draw on what I have witnessed in my area of the world, which happens to be Far West Texas.
My wife is a remarkable woman, in the thirty years we have been together, I have watched her raise our four children to be successful, well adjusted adults who are to say the least are significant people in their own right.
She is also a Licensed and Accredited Home Day Care Provider. In her Day Care there are 12 children of different ethnic backgrounds, ranging in age from infant to school age. When I have the opportunity to be home during the time she works with these children, I see things being done to benefit the children both educationally and socially. It amazes me as to what is accomplished in the environment my wife has fostered in her Day Care. My wife has been doing this for 27 years now and has impacted a variety of children over the years.This past summer, we had an opportunity that comes around only once in a great while. One of her former Day Care children invited my wife and I to her graduation from High School. It was remarkable to see who this young lady had become. Because of this both my wife and myself endeavored to have a reunion of the families that had been involved in her Day Care, for the most part, each of the children had blossomed into a well adjusted young individual, there was of course incidents of the opposite too. Each of the children cited the treatment they received in the formative years as a major steppingstone in the successful culmination of their educational experience to that point in their lives. The teachers they had from the time they started with my wife throughout their schooling had taught the child, not the tests.
This is where I feel the system fails, the hierarchy has forgotten the reason they came into being, the child.It seems to me that the cure for this problem we experience in the United States should be comprised of seriously looking at this hierarchy and exerting the pressure necessary to inculcate a new focus into this organization. Namely, there is no amount of legislation on the face of the earth that will improve educational standards, so more rules are not needed, quite the contrary, the more bureaucracy you put into a situation, any situation, the more you cloud the issues of what is necessary, idiosyncratic rules only serve the person making them in building and ego and fostering an agenda that does nothing more than to serve the purpose of a very few.The focus should be realigned to benefit the student and the student alone, therein is the future of this country. Set a single standard that is a reachable standard that each school district in the United States can achieve according to its ability. And primarily let the teachers teach the children. If a parent chooses to Home School a child, assist then in doing so, if a parent wishes to send their child to a private academy, again assist them in doing so. This should and would address the problem of overcrowding in the schools wouldn’t it?
I for one consider this to be of major importance in our country, and I am not willing to leave it to those in charge to fix, been there and done that, and I didn’t like it well enough to buy a T-Shirt.Until next time, keep the faith.