Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Education Part II

Either I only have 2 people that read my blog these days or there are only 2 people who have an opinion on education. Seriously, doesn't anyone else have anything to say?

Tonya, I think you are absolutely right. It is definitely not the teacher's fault. They are just doing what they have been told to do. In fact, did you know that recent studies show that over 50% of all new teachers will quit within their first five years of teaching? When I started teaching in Texas and was immersed into a real classroom, I was so glad that I was teaching Kindergarten. I was shocked to see the kind of pressure and stress that the older grades had to put on their students in order to get a certain percentage of them to pass the test so that the school would get funding and the teachers would get their bonus. It really is not fair to the teachers, or the children. For so long, I blamed it on the government. I blamed it on the government program No Child Left Behind. But, it really isn't the government's fault. In my opinion, they shouldn't be so involved in education, but the problem is that we, as a country, have forced them to get involved. We force them to get involve as the drop out rates have hit a dangerously high level. We have forced them to get involved as the standards have become lower and lower in schools because the teachers are no longer just teachers teaching math, science, and english, they are also standing in as mentors and confidants teaching students what they are not being taught in their homes by their own parents.

What children are not getting in their own homes, the schools are having to make up for. So, really when it comes down to it...it is our fault. And when I say "our" I mean every one of us. We can all do more. We can do more to teach our own children. We can do more to encourage education and family in our communities. We can do more in our children's schools. We can do more within our own homes to foster a love for reading and learning. It just fascinates me how in Pakistan the terrorist blow up girls schools. They feel SO threatened by Greg Mortenson, who is "fighting terrorist one school at a time" because they know that if the girls are given an opportunity to be educated then they will not allow their sons to join the terrorist groups (culturally, they must get permission from their mothers in order to do so). In this example, as in so many others, education could change everything, and in turn, save a nation.

I feel like, as mothers, we have the greatest responsibility to promote and encourage a love of learning. When you think of the Stripling Warriors, you always think of their "mothers who knew". We must be those same kind of mothers. Mothers who know that education is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. Mothers who know that the most important classroom is the one within our own homes.

Just recently, President Obama said that the drop out rate is becoming a "national crisis". I think that if we were to just do a little more in our own homes and community, then we could make a change, even if it's a small one, in our little corner of the world. I believe that as we all do a little more and take this crisis as seriously as we should, then in turn, we could literally save our own nation.

11 comments:

Lisa said...

When Mel started pre-k her teacher told us that it is very easy to know what students have parents that are active in their lives. And that Mel was the best reader and writer in her class and she appreciated all the work that we had done with her to prepare her. The thing is we didnt, we did what I assumed every other parent does with their child. And that is to teach them the alphabet, to read together every night, to encourage a love and passion for reading. It warms my heart to find her in a corner just reading quietly to herself and her sister. I have taught my child to personally write thank you cards after receiving gifts. But I thought that everyone did that. I didnt realize that just that little bit of common sense and being a mother was actually extraordinary to someone else. It truly broke my heart. Even know Mel wonders why she is the smartest kid in her class, she doesnt understand how they cant write simple words or read stories and it makes her sad. It really does start at home.

Mandy said...

Well, the drop out rate is DIRECTLY related to parenting and the lack of it in our society. How does a child get to that point, by that age, without some serious signs being missed and ignored by parents and loved ones along the way? Also, I must say that I believe that the government may have some place in this...about as far as putting in place consequences in real life for the drop out kids...like no drivers license until the age of 18. However, these politicians who make policy and determine funding and standardized testing competitions usually, almost always, have aboslutley NO training in how to teach children, improve education, or have any practical sense of how to get to the bottom of all this and truly make a change. Government could have chosen to make tast forces made up of teachers, retired teachers, successful administrators, etc. who could then determine the direction we take in this country. There is an obvious lack in the responsibility of our society and families in the US, and that deterioration will continue, as we know. So, teaching has become, as you said, a much broader job description and that isn't going to change. MANY of my friends who were wonderful teachers have left the profession, not because of the kids or a lack of enthusiasm for teaching, but because of the constant micromanaging of county, state and government officials who have nearly taken all of the power to teach away from teachers. Teachers are forced to teach exactly the same way to each child in each classroom, even at the same time of day....no creativity is being encouraged, or even allowed. Our training has become nearly "unnecessary" to many of these school systems. Teaching has become a miserable profession for so many who really wanted to make a difference, even knowing when we chose the profession that the pay is at the poverty level. So much needs to change.....I just saw a TV interview with the lady who ran the DC schools for a while, making radical changes and thousands of terminations. She has taken on this movement. I'll support anyone who is sincerely trying to make a difference in the correct way....who actually understands education. That counts out the politicians and NO Child Left Behind, which has hurt education in so many ways, especially at the secondary level and in the way of standardized testing pressure starting in elementary school.

Mandy said...

I meant "task forces". You got me started, Melissa:) Sorry about the "book".

Melissa said...

There is the fire I was hoping for. :) I knew I could count on you Mandy. Well said, well said!!!

Lisa, way to go!! Mel is so blessed to have you as her mother!

Beadles said...

I began reading an article/paper at www.hsph.harvard.edu it is an article ranking the U.S. globally things included have to do with work and family. It is interesting. I have only read the parts giving actual data and have not come across the conclusion yet. It is interesting to read and think about.

Melanie Anne said...

My MOm is an educator (a middle school principal in SLC) and she too is very passionate about this topic. I totally agree--we must all get more involved in improving public education. The future of our nation rests on it! This was good food for thought! Thanks Melissa!

erin sheely said...

My aunt has been a teacher for 20 plus years and said she would never encourage a young person to go into teaching. Now isn't that sad? I just really agree that it is a good deal of a failing on the part of parents that things are going to pot in our education system. Not all, but a big part. And not just the reading at home (which I a GIANT proponent of) but of being involved in the school...knowing what is going on the classroom, participating in school programs, etc. I am a huge loser in terms of taking the responsibility to write my senators, congressmen, etc. about how I feel about education but that is something we should do as well.

Remodelaholic said...

I am not an educator, but I am a mother, and I am not happy with the way schools are being forced to run only based on test scores.

I have a friend here is Texas, who knows of kids having nervous breakdowns in the second grade because of all the testing they have to do. How is this right. I don't have all the research and whatnot but I do know that I want my child to not only love to learn, but to have fun doing it, not be scared out of their wits that on Friday they won't get a good score on a test. Which seems as though it would just paralyze them from even trying to learn new things in case they don't do well, and that is how I responded to things like that when I was young and so worried about being cool and good at something.

Anyway, I don't have time to keep gong, but believe me I have opinions! I love to read other's thoughts so good for you for posting it!

Cassity

Matthew and Shanna said...

I totally agree with both of your education posts. I couldn't have said it better myself. I just finished reading a book called "The Read-Aloud Handbook" by Jim Trelease. I totally recommend any teacher or parent read this book. It really goes in deep as to why reading and enjoying to read is so good and essential for our children and students. One point he brings up is that if students are actually comprehending what they read on tests, that will help improve scores. Even though I totally disagree with this testing in the first place, if teachers focus more on comprehension while reading instead of doing practice tests, scores will automatically rise. So anyway, its a good read!

Anonymous said...

One thing that has struck me is this government view that American kids are behind other countries' kids in math, or science, or whatever subject they choose. And that we need to push it more, lengthening school days and years, etc. in order to keep up with the other countries. My take on it is this. I was never terribly interested or particularly good at math. I have never used the higher math in my life beyond school. I never wanted to be an engineer or anything of the sort. Many of the countries that are getting higher scores than us are countries that have much of their GDP come from industries that use that kind of math or science, etc. There are many options for people here. To force me to make a certain score on a standardized test in order to progress in school is only going to push me to drop out. The government's interference is a huge reason why kids quit. And then, what good is high school diploma these days anyway? We are forced to believe that the only way to succeed in life is to go on to college. How many of us did that and are unemployed in our field of expertice? How many others finished high school and are making a living wage and doing well? We've been sold a bill of goods IMHO. Stop the standardized testing. Let each kid develope at their own pace and excel in the subjects they love instead of forcing them to take a bunch of subjects they hate. My parents were never involved in the schools. They were never encouraged to be. I did fine. My brother did fine. We both have decent lives and are good people. I am not particularly involved at the schools now either. But my kids are readers and creative and good. I think elementary schools should reinstate recesses (more than one a day). If I had to sit still for hours on end without a mental and physical break, I would go nuts. These are just some of my thoughts. I hope they made sense.
(Laura Collier - I couldn't get my google acct. to work, so I published this anonymously hoping it would post).

Carrie said...

I agree that the government shouldn't be involved. I also agree that it all falls back on parents. Children are being raised by day care workers not their parents. The root of all these issues really steams from the decay of the family unit in this country. How many children are being raised in single parent homes? The more we let the government into our lives the less choices we will have and education is REALLY not where we want them to be. Longer school days, starting at earlier ages-pre-kindergarten is being looked at as a way to get our children back to the academic standards of the world. SERIOUSLY!?!?! Let's take the children away from their parents even earlier! I totally agree with Laura-recess once a day is sad. Jake doesn't even have recess on the day he has gym because it takes it's place...Children aren't allowed to be children. They learn so much more through play than sitting and memorizing!!! UGGGHH! I so wish I could home school!!! I need to stop now or I never will....

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