I was in public and private education my entire adult life. What I'm about to say is not politically correct but that doesn't make it incorrect.
To become licensed to teach, when I began, one had to have a bachelors degree, specific education courses, student teaching and you had five years to get thirty graduate hours. Many like me chose to pursue a masters degree since it took the same number of graduate hours.
A few years later I pursued a second masters degree in school administration. I finally finished up my degrees with a CAS, certificate of advanced standing, which gave me my school district administrators license. All tolled, not counting the graduate hours at Columbia University in writing that my district paid for, I have about eight years of college education and four permanent licenses.
Why am I stating this?
I became tied of listening to educated and uneducated people spout off about what's wrong with our educational system. I'm tired of listening to state workers, executives and 27 year old mothers of 12 year olds , who haven't been in a classroom in years, tell me what's wrong with education!
The biggest problem with our educational system is twofold :
- In America everyone attends school. So everyone has an opinion. Of course it's based on their personal experience. If they had a quality experience they are pro school and if not they are anti school. How many times have you heard from adults and senior citizens, "...when I was in school we..." In a Jeffersonian Democracy the idea is to educate the masses and it also gives them a voice. Discipline is next to impossible. Every body from the State Education Department through students watch the suspension rates. One of my all time favorite ALBANY TIMES UNION news articles was about the supension rate at an inner city middle school. The article talked about how minority students were targeted for suspension. Since my friends all knew I worked there they would ask if it was true. I told them it was but I also reminded them that the student population was 94% minorities! God all I could think about was Dr. Powers my college stats teacher who gave us a book titled HOW TO LIE WITH STATISTICS.
- Superintendents, Principals, School Boards and unfortunately teachers have become political and therefore liars. Our society is litigious and alot of "rights" have been legislated. So when a parent asks why their 14 year old can't read and write you can't say because you didn't teach them appropriate social skills at home so they don't participate in lessons. Or that as a parent you've instilled the thought that teachers and school employees are second class citizens and can be disrespected at will. What about the sense of entitlement you taught them - the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree you know. I got ripped into by an indignant parent once, as the Summer School Principal, for dropping a student in a 30 day program after 14 straight days of absences. Even after repeated warnings to both the student and parent. We're liars because no one digs in and confronts any of the issues head on. There are so many students mislabelled special ed simply because they are discipline problems that it's scary and I worked in alternative education! Don't let anyone tell you that there isn't a district cap on special ed numbers. Many truly needy students do not get services simply due to numbers and cost.
Am I saying that the publics perception is true? No. What I'm saying is, become involved with your child's education, learn the facts and get to know the teachers. Yes, some are idiots but some of you are too.