America's educational system is harming children. Learn the reason why and how to stop it.
| Every parent who has ever looked into their childs' eyes knows that their child is capable of great things. We start off teaching our children to shoot for the stars! We all have our own dreams of our children growing up and becoming doctors, lawyers, even astronauts. No parent is going to encourage their seven year old to become a cashier at the local grocery store or go to work the second shift as a sorter or packer at the local factory. Instead we foster our childrens enthusiasm all the while secretly praying that they will even go to college. We dutifully send our children off to school everyday. We spend what seems like hours reading to them, helping them with their homework tutors if they struggle. We do everything that "good" parents do, thinking that our children are getting the best education that we as parents can give them. At first we watch our children blossom into bright if not gifted students. We are not surprised when our eight year old has already filled ten scrap books with awards for good grades, letters of recognition for a job well done and lets not forget, the hundreds of newspaper clippings that proclaim to the world that you were right all along, your child is a genius!
Every parent also knows that none are more surpised than them when their child starts the slow downward trend that will inevitably lead them on a path towards mediocracy. By the end of their primary education the once above average child ecome just average. We are told it's a teenage phase that all kids go through it. Eventually that excuse loses it's comfort value and we progress on to the belief that our child has become somewhat of a slacker. What follows are the venomous argumentsthat usually contain the words "The teacher just hates me!', followed by the multitude of parent/teacher meetings that will inevitably end with the realization by both you and the teacher that you as a parent has somehow failed. At this rate we are considering ourselves lucky if they can just make it through highschool. Suddenly, without thinking we have lowered our expectations of our children and of their future possibilities, cutting them off at the knees, so to speak. This tragedy or travesty, whichever you prefer, happens everyday in every school in America. Yet as a nation, who has suddenly become ranked in the double digits when compared to the rest of the worlds educational systems, we stand around befuddled by what is happening.If one really was serious about fixing the education system in America, they would start in their own communities for that is where the problem lies.
As a parent, as well as a former employee of my childrens' school districts, I am here to tell you that your child was right!!! It is the teachers fault!!! No, they don't really hate your child,however; they are not giving your child the attention that not only do they deserve but that they are rightfully owed by their community as a whole.The reason your childs teacher can not properly educate your child is simply money. Not a lack thereof, but more specifically where they get their money from. The federal funds that are issued to each district are a godsend. The funds provide computers, well supplied libraries as well as all the other teaching aides necessary to properly educate your child. The problem lies with how the federal government distributes your tax dollars to these districts. That is where the standardized tests that you are all familiar with comes in to play or not.
Years ago somebody who must have certainly been a victim of a poor education decided that these tests were the answer. they would distribute the funds to the schools using a formula based on the number of students that scored proficient on the standardized test that were designed to test a basic knowledge of a few core subjects. The more students that were able to achieve this basic rating the more federal funds that district would recieve. In its initial stages the tests standardized tests and monetary distribution seemed to have some merit, but as the years rolled by our students over test scores seemed to fall. Bewildered by the sudden breakdown of the individual districts like the Kansas City School District. Overwhelmed, they found themselves facing a higher number of students who fell below the poverty level. These low income children were unable to recieve the same early childhood education as many middle class families were able to afford for their children, either through monetary support or by being able to maintain a more traditional household with one working parent leaving the other free to devote more time to their children as opposed to the lack of time that a single parent working above average hours was able to devote to their children. hese students through no fault of their own were not able to test at a proficient level. The federal government responds to districts like Kansas City by denying them funds for the following year. If enough students fail to meet this "benchmark", then the school is forced to shut down some if not allthe schools within the district. Terrified by the prospect of shutting down the administrators and teachers revised their teaching strategy. Instead of teaching everything they had taught in previous years, they would revamp their curriculumn to focus on the areas that their particular grade would be tested on. For example, if a fourth grade class had to take an american history standardized test then their entire year would be a preparation for the test itself and its anticipated questions. The problem with this is the school districts are not concerned with excelling in these areas since they do not recieve additional funds for these excellent scores. They are only concerned with achieving a score of proficient with as many students as possible.
Naturally, these teachers learned that they didn't need to spend as much time with the students who are already about average scores. Instead they could spend that time with the students who were in danger of failing to achieve the profiient scores. They have become so fixated on this method of achieving funds that some districts have stooped to unbelievable levels to achieve these scores. Personally, I was asked to help these particular students who were in extreme damger of failing to reach the benchmark scores by cheating. I was instructed by school personel to gove the answers to these children if need be. They even went as far as to place the selected children one testing group as to facilitate an more conducive environment by which to accomplish this task. All the while, the above average students are left to color in the corner or even help the teacher with her menial chores such as grading papers or tutoring the more at risk children. These educationally fit students' right to an education was inadvertantly neglected by the very people that you were paying to educate them. Slowly over time, these students were unable to grow intellectually while the at risk students were able to. Eventually, after years of repeated neglect our brightest students were taught complaisancy. The only education that they recieved was one that took away their god given advantage replacing it with a complaisant, mediocre intellect.
Sad but true. The only way to change our education so that future generations of Americans can compete globally, is to do away with standardized testing altogether. Each student must be taught at their own pace in the learning style unique to each child. In order to achieve this we must redirect all of our educational tax dollars to our governing state to be distributed based on demographics and number of students enrolled. If that school does not measure up to parents standards they should be allowed to taketheir children and their tax dollars to a district that will provide their child with the education that they are entitled to.