Most parents who currently have children in the public school system will happily discuss the dismal state of public schools. But in a lot of cases, will make sure to tell you that their schools are just great. This holds true across the country for schools in the city, schools in the suburbs and schools in the country. So . . . if everyone is certain their child is going to an exceptional school but the rest of the country’s school system is abysmal, what are you to think?
People think their own particular school district is great because they know the people who are in the school system. While there are plenty of sub-standard public school employees, the majority are nice people who love kids and are doing the best they can.
So what is the problem with the public school system? If there are so many amazing teachers out there (which I’m convinced there are), WHY does it seem that a majority feel the school system is failing? For now, let’s look at the top four reasons.
1. Political Correctness;
Unless you live under a rock, you are aware that our public schools are under siege from certain people/groups who seem determined to focus on anything BUT what kids are learning. Teachers and administrators both are so concerned about their own and their school’s reputation on things like drawings of a gun, or a pop tart chewed into the shape of gun, that actual learning has seemingly been shoved to the back seat. Starting in preschool, children are being trained to speak in a way that offends no one and questions nothing.
2. Centralization – Common Core Standards;
Starting with the No Child Left Behind act and culminating in the Common Core Standards, the federal government is pushing for national curriculum and standards for kids across the United States. Most Parents and citizens have not been invited to vote for or against this influx that is affecting everything from what kids read to what they can eat for lunch. Too few people question these changes that take away the authority of teachers to teach in the way they see fit for each child. Nor are people aware of the influence of huge corporations like Pearson who stand to gain from the implementation of a nation curriculum.
Every child learns differently. What would happen if everyone banded together to help formulate a cost effective way to teach children as the individuals they are?
3. School System Tradition;
K-12 school has changed very little since the 1950’s. Additions like AP high school classes, “gifted-ish” programs and adaptations for children with special needs aside, the model of school as not changed much. Kids are expected to learn and regurgitate facts for tests that are duly noted on progress reports. It seems that little to no acknowledgement has been given to the way today’s world works. Even schools who give each child an iPad insist that they learn the way people have learned in the past.
The reality is (and kids know this better than any of us) the world is different. Little has been done in the field of education to acknowledge technology and what it means to the future of today’s youth. The advent of MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses) and verified certification is slowly changing things. In the meantime, kids of the 21st century are being instructed much like their 1980/1990 parents. Many are forced to spend their free time truly educating themselves.
4. Lack Of Choice;
Despite numerous studies that have shown that charter schools, virtual schools, homeschools and any combination thereof are far superior to public schools, the powers that be refuse to acknowledge the facts. School choice is an issue that has not yet reached the people it will most benefit – low income families who are seriously looking for a bright future for their children.
Education Alternatives Growing In Popularity;
As classroom sizes continue to explode, and the resources available to public schools continue to decline, many families are turning to alternative means of educating their children.
- Homeschooling – Has EXPLODED in the past decade, with over 2 million families actively teaching their children from home. While this option is not for every child and every family, there are several Homeschool Resources available which can help explore the pros and cons. Along with Special Education Homeschool Resources available to assist parents of children with special needs reach their excellence.
- Tutoring – If you live in a household where both parents work, homeschooling may be out of the question. Alternatively, supplemental learning through Special Education Tutoring can assist your child in receiving the additional assistance they need while continuing to attend public school. Often, a special education tutor will take the curriculum currently being taught in the classroom, and mold it to fit your child’s individual learning needs.
- Groups / Communities – A simple google search for individuals in a similar situation will most likely pull up millions of results in google. Within those results, you will see online communities and groups created to help each other navigate through the choppy, uncertain waters of education. Join a few, as you may be able to connect with someone who went through a similar circumstance and can help guide you as to not make the same mistakes they did.
- Additional Resources – There are millions of articles and additional Special Education Resources available online. Set aside time to explore options and understand what’s available. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to ensure success for your child!
Unfortunately, we live in a country that is currently seriously divided in multiple ways. Throwing money at public schools hasn’t worked. Centralizing education in a nation as big as the United States doesn’t appear to be the answer either. Talking openly, admitting that your child’s school might not be the end-all-be-all is a first step. Accepting teachers as full-time professionals who deserve to be paid as such is another step. Politics aside, we all want the best for our kids. Opening things up for an HONEST discussion gives us all a chance regardless of income, politics or where we live.