They say education is the key to everything. Education is supposed to pave the way for freedom, a better life financially, more opportunities and a brighter future for America when it comes to the world stage. We've been given scenarios and told what would happen if we fail to take advantage of educational opportunities but what happens when the educational system itself fails us? What recourse do we take when the very institutions that we had hoped would mold the young minds of our children, instead have begun to condition their minds for mediocrity and failure?
I used to be an employee in the public school system where I now live for seven years. And during that seven years I've seen the public school system go from a system that took input from teachers and staff to improve the learning environment to a system that no longer listens to it's foot soldiers, the people in the trenches everyday in the class rooms, and makes excuses for the behaviors of students and doesn't hold them accountable for anything. Do you know what the penalty is for never holding a child accountable for doing their work or bad behavior?
You see it everyday in the news when you hear about someone committing a crime such as murder, assault or robbery. You experience it every time you walk past someone who can't get a job because they never got their high school diploma. We are conditioning our kids for failure by letting the system deteriorate the way that it is. So as we began to ask ourselves and others what went wrong or what's wrong with the kids today, we have to look at ourselves.
We have to look at ourselves because we sat back and let it all happen. Why are we not putting more pressure on school board members and superintendents to change standards, to allow teachers or administrators to discipline kids more in class or deviate from a curriculum to educate children? Years ago, critical thinking used to be a staple in schools everywhere, it wasn't just a novelty for colleges.
These days, teachers are under so much pressure to stick to a particular curriculum and teach kids toward getting high scores on standardized tests that many children today lack critical thinking skills. Think about it, when it's a proven scientific fact that all of us learn in different ways, we are forcing kids to learn from curriculum that isn't flexible so that we can test "intelligence" in one uniformed test.
Sounds counter productive and goes against all we know about education and the learning process. I've seen superintendents with self serving political agendas turn public education into a joke. That's a terrible outcome when many American's can't afford to put their children in private schools during a rebounding economy. But there's another aspect to this that I want to touch on as well. It's the fact that many parents pretend that education belongs only in school.
Parents let me say this loud and clear, education does not end at school. Education should be supplemented at home as well. Part of the issue is the laziness of parents. There are too many parents who don't take the time out to read with their children or help their children with homework. And in an era where the number of prison cells to be built are determined by the number of kids that can read at grade level by the third grade, that's just unacceptable.
Now I realize that some parents may be running a single parent home and work several jobs which may rendor having quality homework time with your child nearly impossible. But there are also parents out there who don't work at all or only work one job and aren't putting in the effort to assist their children in their academic progress. Mothers, if you have an hour to watch "The Real Housewives" then you have time to help your child read and do math.
Fathers if you have time to watch a basketball game or Duck Dynasty, then get in the kitchen or living room and read to your sons and daughters, show them long division and multiplication. I'm tired of both sides, meaning the school system and families, pointing the fingers at each other and not realizing it takes a collective effort to rear our youth up the best way possible. America used to be at the forefront of innovation and education, ahead of the game when it came to science and space exploration, just ask world renowned scientist Neil Degrasse Tyson.
Now many would say we are in danger of losing that mantle or maybe we have already lost it. I once heard someone make a racist remark about a foreign born doctor and how he couldn't understand him. Well if that's big a deal to you, why don't you try making academics and science more of a priority to your own child so they can become a doctor and treat you.
Until then, close your mouth and let the good doctor do his or her job! Behavior is getting out of hand in schools as well. All to often administrators and teachers are letting kids get away with anything. And all it's doing is putting that child behind and others in their class room behind because to much time is being spent on redirection or no redirection at all which is just a massive distraction. So now you have not only one, but mutiple students in class that aren't gaining and optimal learning experience because of lack of discipline in the class room.
Teachers, stop being afraid to reprimand students for fear of their parents bark or chastisement from an administrator. The class room is your ship and you're the captain of that ship. Therefore lead your ship the way your know how! I'll even tell you a secret, most of the parents only come in with the attitude and raise their voices at you because they know you're on the job and your options are limited in how to respond to their aggressive behavior.
I was in a similar situation with a child and their parents, and low and behold, when these same rude, aggressive folks saw me outside of work their attitudes were completely different.
Why? because they didn't have the assumed protection of the school and me being on the job to protect them. I was met with completely apologetic and docile behavior once I brought up their behavior towards me at school and invited them to display the same behavior outside of work. Goes to show you that when you ask the wolf to do more than huff and puff, often they aren't even capable of blowing anything down. I've even heard excuses about African American males being disproportionatley suspended in schools and how the suspensions should be cut down.
I disagree, in my experiences there are many cases where kids should have been expelled for bringing weapons or contraband to school and weren't even suspended or maybe met with a one or two day suspension. I propose that instead of not suspending kids at all, lets just make sure that we are suspending kids of all races equally and justifiably. I think the statistics about the suspensions of African American Males being disproportionatley suspended is skewed because many times teachers or administrators have made more allowances for their white counter parts and aren't suspending some white students nearly as much as they should in some cases. So what happens as a result of viewing these stats? Over compensation takes place and we stop suspending kids in entirety.
And further more I disagree with making excuses for the upbringing or mindset of African American males and an excuse to not suspend. I'm an African American Male and I take offense to the fact that it implies we lack the mental and emotional proweess or strength to handle the situations life has thrown at us or structure. I'll argue that we can handle anything you through at us and more. We are strong intelligent men, and we don't need your pitty or excuses, we need structure and restraint, and we will thrive!
Now many of you who don't believe in suspension may say, "Well why suspend the kids, that's what they want is to be out of school anyway and they are missing instructional time." I say that's because the parents aren't stepping in and taking responsibility on their end. Kids who don't fear trouble, usually are that way because there are no repurcussions at home. You have parents, who put sole responsibility for discipline and education on the school when I've just stated before that it takes joint action, and these things should occur at home as well.
Parents, schools are not day cares and aren't soley responsible for raising your kids. These teachers didn't make these babies, they only took a profession that says they are charged with HELPING educate and discipline your babies! I think if schools were to require that parents come in for mandatory meetings every time their child was suspended before the child was reinstated, then you would see more involvement by parents. Parents can only handle you messing with their paychecks so much before they start to react and come at the one person responsible for the behavior, the child.
When parents have to continue asking their work for time off and missing out on income because of a child's behavior, sooner or later the parent is going to be forced to look in the mirror and their child for a solution to the problem. The child can't remain at home, it's illegal, so eventually they have to make concessions to make sure their child stays in school. What about those parents who don't work and treat school like daycare so they can lay around all day and enjoy their personal time? Well as I said, when you force those parents to have to deal with their child's behavior at home all day, trust me, they'll be willing to fix the issue to get their child back into school.
It's about working together to solve these issues. It's about schools and parents working together to close achievement gaps and behavioral issues. We can't expect kids to do it on their own. Children do what you allow them to do, so if you allow them to get away with anything that's exactly what they will do. But if you leave them no option but to excel and grow, that too is what they will do. So yes, education is the key, but it will continue to be unatainable until schools and parents work together to unlock it!