The current state of the US Educational System. Is this it?


It's FI Friday" and you know what that means... caution is in the wind and I am about to run my mouth!

My friends… Buckle up…




When I think of the current state of the Educational Systems in the United States, my heart breaks. Twenty years ago when I was in school in Miami, Florida no less, there were no metal detectors, no books or two page ($200) school supply lists to furnish and from what I can remember, teachers were still happy to teach. I enjoyed learning, socializing and felt safe in my environment. Actually, I didn't even think about my safety... it was a given because IT WAS SCHOOL!

Today However...

I have absolutely NO faith in the U.S. School system. The government is constantly cutting crucial funding, YET the board personnel are still making six figures salaries while the teacher’s atrocious salaries are barely meeting the poverty guidelines. And let's not forget the huge elephant - the fact that our children are no longer safe in school! There is a serious disconnect in this country with educational funding, standards and classroom level etiquette.  

I find this disconnect to be one of the biggest problems facing America today. Our children are our future and if we as a country cannot even provide something as basic as education and a safe place to learn, then how can we call ourselves a super power?  Or maybe we are today, but no way are nurturing a future generation to carrying on that legacy.

I appreciate the teachers of then and now so so so much- the good, the bad, the mean ones and even the worn out-sick of the system shitting on them-tenure ones. However, I wager to say all teachers start off as‘good’ ones, then over time become jaded by uninterested kids, and a system that appears to be equally uninterested in education.

There was a time when teachers were given the tools to be great teachers. Why have these essential tools been stripped? The financial support from the state and national levels to these individual teachers is all but gone.

Today, teachers are required to purchase (out of pocket), all classroom supplies needed for them to teach! Because of this massive cut in spending, parents of first-graders had to provide a list of supplies for their children two pages long that included boxes of tissues and toilet paper, TOILET PAPER!  Is the government not even providing that level of the basics?

I just don’t understand - if teachers are paid squat, parents are paying for uniforms, classroom supplies, books, lunches and now toilet paper, where in the hell is the funding going? 

It absolutely blows my mind that the pay level of a classroom teacher barely scrapes above the single income poverty line.  Seriously?

Or what about the fact that the violence in schools today is at an all time high? What’s being done about that? So far,very little.

The Lobbyist with their arsenal of weapons are staying rich and fat on The Hill, while parents are burying their children? 

Again, what are we saying?  We would rather not spend the time to crack down and re-write legislation then provide a safe environment for our children? THIS IS OUR REALITY!   

Thanks to this reality, the thought of sending Oliver off into the current school system, (public especially), terrifies me!  I am so thankful that my son is only a year old. Because within the next four years I will be better able to gauge whether or not homeschooling will be my only option to provide my son with a safe,  nurturing, learning environment.

I also wonder if the current situation creates an entire new learning environment where brilliant teachers branch off to start homeschooling programs for multiple kids out of their basements.  Bet your ass I would take that option over traditional schools in a heartbeat.

I am just growing more and more outraged as I write this post.  I feel sick for the future of the education system.  I feel sad for the wonderful teachers out there following their life long dream to teach, but at the sacrifice of a comfortable living wage!

With constant budget cuts and the increase in indifference of teachers and educators alike, what will it take to get the US Education System back on track?  What will it take to create a safe effective learning environment for our kids?  

I can go on like this forever, but I think I'd better stop and let you speak.  What are your thoughts? Shay, Lucy, Helen… the three of you are such wonderful and passionate teachers, what are your thoughts?
What is your educational system like?

Parents: Are you a paying an obnoxious amount of money for your child to attend a school where the learning is becoming sub-par and the metal detectors are becoming common place?  What do you think the solution is?


Please I hope someone tells me I am wrong, and it is not nearly as bad as I think...




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Two confused parents=One amused baby Hopelessly we are trying raise a baby who is clearly smarter than both of us. April is an award-winning writer, blogger and proud debut novelist - The Devlyn Disguise. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more about April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com

25 comments:

Shay Grant said...

As much as I would love to visit America, to be brutally honest I could never live there – I too am terrified at the prospect of sending my son into a school where the children seem to be the lowest priority (note: according to the bureaucrats and policy makers, NOT the school staff).
The education system here in NZ is far from perfect, and the current government are intent on implementing policies and practices that have been proven ineffective in other countries. Our government is blatantly disrespectful towards and disapproving of teachers – they place the blame for students who are failing solely on the shoulders of teachers and are pushing for performance pay because they believe teachers are really slackers who only work from 9-3 Monday to Friday, 40 weeks a year. They are opening charter schools, which are enterprises run by private businesses that can employ anyone they choose to teach - regardless of whether they have a degree in education or not – and they are exempt from the national standards that have caused so much trouble for teachers. However, the majority of teachers I know still LOVE what they do and are able to block out the negative press and general contempt they are viewed with, to do their very best with their students. We don’t run the same risk of having our children hurt or killed by another child or crazed stranger with a gun. And for that, I am thankful. I can step up and support my sons and my own students educationally, but I cannot teleport to protect them should someone show up at their classroom door with the intention of hurting them. Your education system sounds pretty awful 
But, my rant isn’t all doom and gloom – even as a pragmatist I believe there is hope for our children. Teachers who love what they do, parents who value their children’s teachers and value their children’s education even more, and people with a voice all have as much influence on learning as policies and politics. It is sad that budget cuts so often seem to be directed at education, but teachers are nothing if not creative, and, if they are still teaching in the face of these challenges, they’re stubborn too. And damned if any politician is gonna get them down! I’m not making excuses for some of the shocking decisions they have made, and they absolutely need to be rectified – when it comes to education money really shouldn’t be an issue and teachers unreservedly deserve a salary that reflects their qualifications, experience and work conditions.
I LOVE your idea of a virtual classroom, led by a qualified professional for parents who homeschool. I’m very interested in what other suggestions you get here – perhaps it is worthwhile taking one or more of them and running with it?

Ned said...

You speak not just for yourself but also for a lot of frustrated parents out there.. My kids aren't in school yet either and considering the condition of education system in America, I think I would opt for homeschooling for my kids.

foodpixie said...

Here is yet another teacher publicaly resigning because he's fed up with the system. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/09/teacher-resignation-letter-gerald-conti_n_3046595.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000010

Rebecca said...

We have lived in 4 different states in the past 7 years, and we have had excellent experiences in the public school systems in all states! Maybe I have just been lucky? We do choose where we are going to live based on the school system, but it hasn't been hard to find good places. There were weak spots at every school in terms of what the teachers could do with the resources they had, but there were very bright spots in other areas.

I wouldn't give up on public education!


Molley Mills said...

As a foreigner deeply intrenched in this f***ked up system I freak out all the time. Our school ran out of paper last year! Printer paper ... they had to cut up old stock of larger paper, yet the DOE continually puts more pressure on to perform and penalises teachers who try. I hate it and as we edge ever closer to HIGH school, I desperately want to go back to Australia for something better.

Lucy Ball said...

What a fantastic comment! Mind if I share this on fb? There are SO many things broken with our system. Schools and districts have less and less control over what and how they educate the students. National government should NEVER be allowed to mandate local education with their 'one size fits all' mentality. We're putting an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff and expecting real change. NZ happens to be one of the most educationally progressive countries especially in the area of literacy with Reading Recovery. I love these conversations. If more parents and teachers spoke up and pushed at the state and national legislators on these issues, we might actually be heard. Until then, most teachers' salaries are merely combat pay.

Lucy Ball said...

I am a former teacher and have worked in school districts that were clueless, and others that were making continual improvement through teacher training. I have some experience with virtual schools and I'm considering it for my children. I hope you'll stop by and read my thoughts on it next week. http://www.mylifeaslucille.com/2013/04/hard-work.html

Lucy Ball said...

Oh how sad. :-( The reality is, many of us have no choice but to keep teaching in a system we no longer believe in for financial reasons.

Lucy Ball said...

Great comment! Yes, there ARE many great schools and school districts. Unfortunately for many people, they don't have the financial resources to move to the areas like this. Often times the best schools are those that have the most parental support and are generally in more affluent areas with a higher property tax base to fund the schools.

Mariann D. said...

I hate to say it, but your entire post is accurate. The entire U.S. Educational system is behind in the times and it's failing our children. There's no way that our children will be able to compete with other children worldwide.
Education has become an afterthought in this country. It's not a priority and that's scary! It's scary that so much violence is centered around the buildings where our children are suppose to go learn.....and not much is being done to curtail it.
They are hanging our kids, the next generation, out to dry.
We definitely need to take our outrage and allow it to fuel the cause of fixing our educational system. I have two teens in high school, an in-between that I'm homeschooling and a toddler. I want a thriving school system for all of our children!

Lucy Ball said...

Education is still very much a priority. Unfortunately, we all have very different ideas about exactly HOW to put a bandaid on a broken foot. The people who care deeply and are directly affected by the shortcomings of our school systems, often have the least power over what happens there.

Lucy Ball said...

This was an excellent discussion. I hope you'll invite me back again soon. ;-)

Shay Grant said...

Hi Lucy, thank you!
So long as FTM&D say yes I say go for it. I completely agree with your points, I love literacy and when I was in a classroom I was always on the hunt for new ways to teach my students. :-)

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

Of course! Please do with it as you would like Lucy. I am so thankful you ahve been a part of this!

Jenn @ Something Clever 2.0 said...

The issue with supplies is insane. All I was required to bring to school as a kid was a pencil. Maybe a notebook.

I think a lot of the actual educational issues stem from kids whose parents aren't invested in their education. When my son goes to kindergarten, he'll know how to read. So the teacher will spend more time with the other children who don't know how to read, catching them up. My son will get bored, and become disillusioned with school. By the time he gets to middle or high school, he's lost interest. Maybe he drops out. Maybe he acts up and disrupts class, and now the other kids aren't learning.

I really think it all starts with parents taking responsibility for their children's learning, and viewing school as a tool to help them. As a parent, your child's education is your responsibility, and yours alone. Teachers can't teach when they're put in a position of de facto mom or dad to 30 kids.

Jessika Kazaros said...

Oh dear... I missed this whole post this morning- but you know how I feel about most of it. My aunt retired out of the school system this year (and is currently publishing a book- Confessions of an Elementary School Teacher), but the dysfunction overwhelms the goals we once held for our kids. I LOVED school as a kid. Honestly. Even now I do, but it's not without weeding through the bullshit. This week coming up is FCAT (good ole' Florida), and nearly the entire school year is spent prepping the kids for this f'ing exam. Why? Because their school "grades" determine budgets and money given to the schools- and of course to save face. Therefore, the principal of Kaely's school has been quoted as saying "there is no time for fun" in school- and has questioned why certain things like puppets, creative centers, and other "fun" activities are found in the classrooms- of Kindergarten & 1st graders- WTF???

So yes, I have contemplated multiple times over going to the Virtual Schools- which I think is an awesome idea- especially in lieu of doing it all on your own as a parent. However, I cannot provide the social stimulation (regardless of how retarded), the variety of encounters (good and bad), that she learns in the classroom. I realized for us- this is just for us- that I have to do both. Allow her to attend public schools, while essentially playing the homeschool teacher after school- ensuring she is able to sort through the essentials and still balance out the "fun." It is tough- and I'll be the first to pull her out of the system if I start to see her suffering.

I can only hope that things will eventually improve- or at least we can find a way to turn this into a way to prepare them for the "real world" as depressing as it is.

Sorry- I'm done now :/

Mrs. Loquacious said...

I can totally understand your concerns, and trust me, I've considered the whole "small group homeschooling co-op" thing. I've even talked to my teacher girlfriends about it! However, we are blessed in Canada (and in my province) to have private schools that are partially-funded by the government, and the school I taught at (and the one Little L will one day attend) is safe, and the quality of the education there is solid. It seems to me that in increasing measure, people are moving towards paying for private quality education. This is only a partial solution, however, since it creates a two-tiered system where those who can afford it get the good education, and those who don't end up either homeschooling (which can be good but can also be sub-par depending on the parent) or sending their children to the public system, for good or for bad.

In my humble estimation, the whole entire education system needs to be revamped. But that's a story for another day ;)

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

Shay I cannot thank you enough for this amazing response. I was looking forward to hearing the prospective of a teacher out of NZ. And I have to say, I am not surprised one bit. I keep telling FTD I want to take Ollie back to OZ for schooling. I have just lost all faith in this country when it comes to actually creating a massive education reform. It's just not on the agenda and probably never will be.

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

Homeschooling is the only option for us right now.

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

Thanks for this link Foodpixie. It really is such a shame.

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

I think it is absolutely fantastic to hear that you are having such a great experience. Maybe it is still possible...

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

They ran our of paper? UNACCEPTABLE! I could not agree with you more, U.S. High schools are a daunting place for both students and parents today.

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

Thank you for your support and response Marianne. The lack of c government concern for providing a high level of education and safety to the future generations is appalling. Something has to be done!

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

Jenn, you are absolutely right, the education and support should start in the home. Indifferent parents create indifferent children.

Shay Grant said...

Nawww, you're so welcome :-) Personally I would prefer the Aussie system to the current American one. Even better, come to NZ... ;-)

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