Monday, September 27, 2010

Our Educational Woes

Alot of buzz is going on about the condition of our country's educational system. NBC has launched a week of programming on education. A movie, "Waiting for Superman" has hit the theater circuits. More money is being poured into various school districts from the business world. Programs are springing up all over to "solve" the problem. I was thinking about my own education. Fortunately, I had a good education. This was due, in part, to the following reasons:
a. stability at home
b. stability at school: teacher turnover was nil
c. education was a valued commodity
d. stability in the neighborhood: kids stayed at the same school from K-6
e. teachers were respected by the parents
f. parents were respected by the teachers
g. well established boundaries (kids understood clearly how far to push)
Did any of these things cost money? Not really. Many of the problems facing our systems today could be tempered if my above list was in operation. What other things would you add to the list?


  1. I would add a good, solid work ethic, on the part of the parents AND the students. Also, a perserverance, and the ability to wait, to not expect to have one's needs met instantly/not expect instant gratification. Another thing: the ability to independently problem-solve---people skills that would enable them to settle disagreements on their own.

    I completely agree with you. If the parents in our country would unite, and would change directions drastically, the pendulum would swing the other way, and it wouldn't cost any money.

  2. Hi Barbara,
    You raise some good points. I especially agree about respect.
    I would add that there was more homework and fewer after-school/sports activities.
    Great, thought-provoking post!

  3. Barb, I agree with you on so many points. However, I have kind of a different perspective about "the good old days," because my brother would have been able to get a lot more help in 2010 than he was able to get in the early '60s. Apparently, he was not disabled enough for the special school district, but there weren't paraprofessionals and special educators in the regular classrooms like there are today. So there was no help for him.

    I know it is very tough for teachers today with the lack of parental support, though! Too bad we can't have it all--the work ethic of the good old days and the extra help for special-needs students of today!

  4. Dianna made a point which I had forgotten. There WERE so many kids who got lost in the cracks in that era. (I call them "Crack Kids"---not because of any maternal drug use, but because they so obviously need assistance, but according to the "standards" do not qualify for help.)

    Dianna is definitely right. These days, the paraprofessionals help out whole classrooms full of students when they push in to help (officially) only help a few.

  5. Thank you for visiting and commenting at my blog. Education...ah, it is so simple and yet seems so hard these days. I taught too, and when I left, I felt like teachers were in the squeeze, not supported. Seemed like students were not held accountable for their mistakes...We all make mistakes but we should learn from them.

  6. Hi Barb,
    I enjoyed your post. I was in St. Louis public education for seventeen years and private for seventeen. It has always been my goal to boost self-esteem, not bust it, and to prevent a problem rather than punish. Please email me or check out my blog Where do you teach?

  7. I think you summed it up beautifully. I'd add that better nutrition helped in our era, though. I got back to education after a long hiatus and couldn't believe the sugar/gitters/candy/weight problems. And I think too many video games hinder some of their problem-solving skills. But Diana is also right--there definitely are some improvements. On the whole, they are also far more accepting of other people's differences and less likely to bully. Maybe someday we'll get it all right?