Thursday, June 10, 2010

#6- My Thoughts on Public Education

Topic #6 From Travis (A.K.A. My Hubby): "Or the current state of the US public education system..."

As requested, I will discuss the current state of the public education system. First, I will say that the public education system varies by state, obviously. I will first list the top ten states with the best public education systems according to

1. Maryland
2. Massachusetts
3. New York
4. Virginia
5. New Jersey
6. Ohio
7. Pennsylvania
8. Georgia (tie)
9. West Virginia (tie)
10. Arkansas

Where would be the lemonade without the lemons? Here they are:

1. Washington D.C.
2. Nevada
3. Idaho
4. Mississippi
5. Nebraska
6. South Dakota
7. Montana
8. Oregon
9. Arizona
10. Missouri

Remember, too, that the education system also varies according to districts. Now as far as I’m concerned there is one serious problem- circular blame. Teachers blame the administration, the administration blames the government, and the government blames… the teachers! Then you have parents sprinkled in here and there blaming and being blamed.

I have the answer… I know who the real problem is… everyone!!! Wow! What a concept! Everybody has some part in the education of children. Period. Even the children have a part. If a child simply refuses to try after everything has been done to help him or her, then he or she may not make it to the next grade on account of his or her own doing. You know what my response to that is? Oh well! If everything has been done to motivate and help that student save cheating on standardized tests or other illegal methods, then that child will have to learn to accept that he or she did not try. Now don’t get me wrong; I am not saying that students will special needs or learning disorders should be included in this category. I am referring to the children who have positively no ambition whatsoever.

However, I digress. The main point is- we all have some part in the failure of the U.S. public education system. No one person or group is to blame. Yes, even I as a teacher would have to accept some blame if a student of mine did not succeed.

The reason I believe this is because my mentor for my teaching internship had to deal with the administration, unsupportive parents, and students who didn’t want to try… wake up call… every one of his students passed the FCAT. Even the ones who we were certain would not pass. Why? Because he is an amazing teacher who feels it is his responsibility to try his best to help each child succeed. He didn’t give up on them. He understood his responsibility and took it upon himself to try his best for every student.

The overall U.S. public education system is messed up in my opinion. There are reasons:

1. Standardized tests
2. Over diagnosing children with disabilities that are non-existent
3. Lack of discipline at home
4. Lack of homework help/attention in general at home
5. Lack of repercussions in school
6. The mushy gushy “everybody is a winner” garbage
7. Lack of parents helping their children learn English
8. Too much "English as a Second Language" obsession… learn English… you are in the United States!
9. The Great American Melting Pot turning into a “Salad Bowl”? I am surprised we aren’t “Salsa” if you know what I mean.
10. Lack of respect for education
11. Tenure
12. Unions
13. Grade levels based on age instead of developmental levels

Those are just a few. If you have any to add, please comment with your ideas and add your much-needed two cents. Two cents… hmmm, I believe that is a teacher’s yearly salary. ;) Like I said… add your two cents… do you agree? Disagree? Are you indifferent? What’s your point of view?


  1. Good post. There are definitely a lot of problems-- though I think the worst is lack of parental interest. Even a struggling student at a poor school can do well if the parents are involved in finding ways to help the child excel.

    Any thoughts on public vs. private vs. homeschool?

  2. Thanks! :) I definitely agree... the lack of parental interest is a biggie.

    Well, I think that homeschooling is the best if the right child is involved. For example, homeschooling was perfect for me because I was social enough to be involved in extracurricular activities.
    I think that private is better than public because usually parents are more involved and there is less liberal, union garbage. Private= less crazy government control. Thanks for commenting! :) I can always count on you, love.

  3. all the reasons are true but the biggest one for me is the lack of Christianity. I can't get over that so I will neither teach or send my child to one when my Heavenly Father is not welcome and indeed pushed out of the classroom.

  4. VERY true! Thank you for mentioning that! I don't know why that reason slipped my mind, but it is 100% accurate. I definitely will not want my child in a school where he or she will not have the opportunity to pray before class or share in open discussions about the Lord. I, too, want to teach in a Christian school... I would love to hold discussions about our Heavenly Father, read Christian books, and pray before and during class openly. That would be such a blessing. :) Once again, thank you for mentioning that; I can't believe I forgot to write about that in my post!

  5. Having been an educator in a Christian school (two schools) and having home schooled as well (my niece for high school) plus having my own children attend both Christian and public schools, I see a lot of changes in the last several years that concern me, especially for my grandkids now.
    Working in a government position as a social worker, I also see similarities in both the social service system and the educational system. Both are, of course, driven largely by politics. Like it or not, political entities are hard at work behind the scenes and often the new legislation getting passed reflects their hard lobbying work. Some legislators do take the time to be in the districts, learning more about the educational system, etc. but many have never spent much time in their own child's classrooms, let alone others to observe what it actually is that they are addressing in their sessions.
    Much is financially driven. Even when I was teaching, I easily spent half of my salary back on the things needed in the classroom that were not being provided. It is worse now.
    Teachers also are working with their hands tied in regard to classroom discipline, curriculum decisions, and what they can/cannot do. People in the US have become lawsuit-crazy and threaten to sue teachers all the time.
    I remember one parent coming to me extremely upset because they were "paying my salary" for their child to get a good education and that I had the audacity to put their child at the same table with a child they disapproved of due to his reputation the year before. I explained their child was receiving an excellent education, and that the likelihood of children growing up and getting to sit next to "approved" people at work or working with only people they chose to work with was not a likely outcome. Although it was a Christian school, this particular family was not Christian. But I think Christ's universal acceptance of people where they are came through, because in a matter of weeks, they boy was being invited over for dinner, and the group had done a project together and the mom was "amazed" at how well-behaved he was and how respectful he had been in their home.
    This was a long-winded (sorry) way to say I agree that the parents have the responsibility to teach children at home in terms of how to behave, how to respect people, how to treat others, etc. A lot of the problems with kids not listening, etc. and eventually not learning, and not passing tests revolves around what they have at home: if parents sat down with kids occasionally, asked how their day went, asked if they have homework and if they understand it, and show up at the child's programs and events, and PRAY with their child about issues of concern, etc. there would be a significant change in the statistics!
    Also, it was GREAT to start the day with the staff having devotions, having prayer in class and teaching Bible as well. But it was not a guarantee of that being followed at home. Some of the kids had been kicked out of public schools, and had no prior church or Christian school experience and thus balked at prayer and chapel time. A couple came from "extreme" religious groups. And sadly, I needed to make a few CPS referrals while a teacher. (The worst was when a Christian father felt it was his duty as a parent to whip his son with a rubber hose on the side of the road on the way home - because the son got a C in spelling - where he was observed and reported by high school kids driving by on their way home.)
    Best to you entering the educational arena. I know you will be an awesome teacher. Learn the policies of that particular school well - learn from the staff that has been around awhile. Learn (a lot) from the secretarial staff. Each school has its own political structure - even in Christian school - so learn what it is early on.

  6. Everything you have said here is definitely true. That is an excellent story about the student who had a bad reputation; you should totally write a book about your experiences, Marcy. Thank you for the great advice; I will definitely keep that in mind if I land a teaching position. :)