The news is filled with stories coming out of schools that shout there is too much violence, problems with dress codes, teachers cheating, children misbehaving. You name it; the school system today is essentially a metaphorical mixing bowl of young society all trying to function under one set of rules. And yet, new laws and legislations, and mandates and procedures and policies are constantly being forced into place by the government to ensure that children don’t fail, that equality abounds, and that every child finds a place to fit into the larger picture of education. When a child does not, can not – whether due to emotional problems or simply because they come from a broken home or a poor socioeconomic background, no one is there to take the blame. So the burden naturally falls back on the school system. And then, yet another set of rules is formulated to leave the impression that today’s school system works for EVERYONE.
News flash. It doesn’t!
Consider bullying. Bullying has been going on for as long as people have been alive. And suddenly today in this day and age of feel good parenthood and childhood without boundaries, the bullying issue is one that schools are being challenged to face. Years ago, these things were handled in the home, through upbringing and morality – and sometimes on the playground.
When children exit schools today with high test scores on mandated testing, does it really mean they are ready for life? Are teachers more concerned about teaching the tests in order to get their bonuses than they are about teaching life? Because a child can recite from pages in a book (or an online tutorial) does it really mean that they have been educated? Are students today learning to think on their own, to participate in quantative deduction, to make decisions – or have they simply figured out what it takes to get by with the least amount of effort?
The question today, is this. Is the school system broken?
Few people would disagree with the fact that the school system has taken the place of the parents in today’s society. It is no longer the responsibility of parents to expect good behaviour, to raise citizens, to invoke morality in their children, to teach them how to think for themselves. Today’s children are robotic and answer driven quite simply because that is the way the public education system has taught them to be. When parents can’t, or don’t take responsibility for the learning of their child, the morality and behavioural expectation of their family – the schools are forced to take responsibility.
Unfortunately, at its onset, the school system was not designed to act as parent and guardian. Schools are intended to educate. And even that education, which they were founded so many years ago to teach, is ambivalent at best.
While parents expect their children to learn all the necessary life skills they need to succeed in life during school hours, under the careful watch and policies of government, the reality is that school systems by design – are and were simply founded to maintain the status quo.
Parents need to reacquaint themselves with the theory that schools are teaching quite simply, what the government and governing agencies want children to know. The routine public school has neither the time nor the inclination to produce masses of young people who are able and motivated to think on their own, to question or to further their learning and education. As long as schools are run by governments, they will be regulated with so much red tape and remain so equality based, that the educational process will be thwarted and slued to the point of mediocrity.
Dr. Rudy Crew, author of the book, To Save Our Schools shares these facts about the United States School system:
- One-third of American eighth graders cannot perform basic math. That means more than a million thirteen-year-olds can’t do the simplest calculations needed to buy a candy bar or ride a bus.
- One-third of all teachers leave the profession in their first three years; by five years, half of them have left.
- A black child in Washington, D.C., has less than a 30 percent chance of learning how to read before he turns ten.
- The odds that any given ten-year-old in a large American city can read are about fifty-fifty, and six in ten for the nation as a whole.
- Only one in five students entering college are prepared for college-level work in math, reading, writing, and biology.
He goes on to say in an excerpt from his book, that
“Our schools aren’t just struggling to teach academics and civics; they’re also failing to produce young men and women of substance. And before you shrug your shoulders and say, “That’s not a problem in my neighborhood, no gangstas in my gated community,” you should know that in 2006 the Josephson Institute of Ethics reported that 60 percent of students surveyed said they had cheated on a test in the past year; 35 percent admitted to doing so at least twice. One-third had plagiarized from the Internet, and 62 percent said they had “lied to a teacher about something significant.”
According to all the research and according to the competition that the United States of America faces from other countries, it seems obvious that our school systems are failing our students. Around 70% of the labor work force in the United States is made up of high school graduates from American schools, while the more skilled, higher level jobs are more and more often being outsourced to other countries, or being held by those educated outside of the public education system.
When a country unable to balance their own budget, is in charge of educating its people – and ranks 24th in the world out of 29 major public educational systems, it is time to reconsider what our children are really learning in school, and how well their time spent in these ‘status quo’ institutions is serving them in life.
Is the school system broken? Or is it society in general that has turned its back on the value of education and educating our youngsters?