Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Please Get Involved

Read the quote at the end of my rant. Unfortunately, it was taken from a fictional TV show. Then, see what you can do to help your local school. Have a kid in school? Then volunteer to help in the classroom or to take projects home (teachers have lots to cut, glue, and grade). And, get your kid to school on time, make him or her attend every day that he isn't sick, and don't pick him up early on Fridays just because it is more convenient. Teachers cannot teach kids who are absent or tardy. If you don't have kid at school, consider helping anyway. And, drop off your old National Geographic magazines or extra art supplies...there is always a teacher in need (we actually spend hundreds of dollars on our classrooms each year because there often is NOT a budget for copy paper or pencils or crayons). It seems so much easier to bitch about how bad the schools are and how teachers are terrible, rather than to proactively get involved. I really, really don't know a bad teacher. I don't know one teacher who doesn't genuinely care. I do, however, know a lot of teachers who have about eight years of college and grad school who are getting paid much, much less than doctors and lawyers with the same number of years in college for their specialties.

Do you realize that our country has made a commitment to educate EVERY child from five to eighteen...for free? Other countries, those who get featured on the evening news and always seem to have better test scores, they don't educate everyone. They track kids who might be successful and them give them an education. They don't offer much to kids who don't show promise early in life. So, when we compare test scores, we are comparing all our kids against a few of theirs who were given a very monitored education in a limited subject area. And, while we are at it, it seems a bit bizarre to me that we expect every kid to be good in every subject every year...and we are willing to blame and fire teachers or withhold raises if their entire class doesn't score highly (and the bar is raised higher every year). Did you know I suck at math? I am great at history, science, language arts, cooking (!), but I wouldn't be able to score higher and higher in every kid going to be good at everything? Were you?

If you want the future to look bleak as hell, then ignore the public school system. If you are realistic, you will realize that the children of this country will be the citizens tomorrow (and will be working with and voting with private school kids and home school kids and anyone else that thinks they can escape public school).

Ok. That is my soapbox speech, and I do feel better now. But...remember to read the quote:

(This is a quote from the TV show "The West Wing'. It was said by one of the secretaries of something or other...played by Rob Lowe).

"Education is the silver bullet. Education is everything. We don't need little changes. We need gigantic revolutionary changes. Schools should be palaces. Competition for the best teachers should be fierce. They should be getting six-figure salaries. Schools should be incredibly expensive for government and absolutely free of charge for its citizens, just like national defense. That is my position. I just haven't figured out how to do it yet."

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