A wide chasm is developing between Teaching and Educating. Teaching is defined as “ideas or principles taught by an authority”. Educating is defined as “giving intellectual, moral, and social instruction to (someone, especially a child).” Looking at modern “education”, I don’t see a lot of educating.
School Has Become a “System”. Schools these days are more like systematic cloning facilities than they are centers for learning and education.
The advent of standardized testing assured that. Why figure out what a child is truly capable of when it is so much easier to just teach him what you want to know and make sure he can regurgitate the knowledge at will. “Here, kiddos – today’s lesson is the version of American history we are comfortable with you knowing, there will be a test on Friday.” This way schools don’t have to deal with things like evaluation individual intelligence, only what the hoard can accomplish
The twist here is that the absolute last people to blame are the teachers. The teachers are told “not to teach to the test”, yet their overall performance is rated by the scores their students get on these standardized test. I am no school board administrator, but I’d guess that any teacher who likes gainful employment is going to teach to the test. The teachers are just doing what their school, district, region, and state mandates them to do. You don’t go into teaching because you want to get rich, you go into teaching because you have a passion for it.
What you end up with is a system where teachers, the very people responsible for the end result (the children), are handcuffed.
The End of Individuality
Now that you have fundamentally removed both aspects of what would drive a healthy education system, you have this withering thing with kids trapped in it. Bright kids. Special kids. Kids with endless potential who are under-diagnosed and over-medicated on a level that rivals anything in history. “Oh little Billy likes to talk a lot, and is hyper, and has a crazy imagination – clearly he is ADD/HD and needs to be medicated back to a zombie-like status so that we can deal with him”. No, Little Billy is loud and rambunctious because he is a KID. That’s what they do. Schools are not daycare, or simply a holding pen for your child. They are the catalyst for the most formative years of their lives, and should be treated with that kind of reverence.
We’ve taken away the emphasis for kids to stand out. We’ve glorified the lowest common denominator, and then we wonder why kids these days are dumber than they have been in years. It’s not that kids are any dumber today that they were 10 years ago, it’s that they DO NOT CARE. The brightest kids in this current education system are the ones that suffer the most. Making too many waves, and being an individual does not lend well to a system that cares more about statistics than it does the actual impact of the system. Children are taught to achieve towards a standard that someone else created, simply because it is what you are supposed to do. The order of the day in modern education is: Do Enough to get by. Don’t make any waves. Be a square peg in your square hole. You are a cog in the machine.
Breaking the Cycle
Now, like I said earlier, there are WAY more good teachers than bad. This is not their problem, the system is the problem. Parents don’t do enough to break the cycle.
There are a lot of parents who might have just read that and immediately yell at their computer screen or smart phone and say “Not me, by golly – I care about my kid’s education!!” Honestly, I know, in your heart that you do. The reality is, that your convictions are not enough in themselves. The good parents are outnumbered by the parents that just don’t care. So if you DO care, you’ve got to raise that much more hell about the things that you’re not happy with in the education system.
1. Quit Yelling at the Teachers
Yelling at a teacher to change the school system is like yelling at your postman to change the price of a stamp.
2. Find other like-minded parents, and talk to school administrators
Going to your annual parent/teacher meeting is not a way of expressing yourself. Those meetings are designed to make you feel like you have input, simply because you really don’t.
3. Talk to school district officials
Taking things to the next level is the only way to get your point across. How many times have you been dealing with a customer service person and asked to speak to a manager? teachers and principals are your customer service agent, and the school district officials are their bosses.
REAL change in the education system comes from the top. The state you live in mandates the requirements for your child’s education, and passes them down.
5. Look for alternatives
Hackschooling seems to work well for Logan, maybe it would work well for your kids too:
There’s no reason to continue to watch the education system circle the drain into obscurity.
I know that kids are limitless, weird little people, and no kid should be subjected to the “automaton training” that schools have become.
I believe whole-heartedly in the potential of every child. Even little Billy, who talks too much, is hyper, and has a wild imagination. We all have a little Billy in our hearts – give him the chance to flourish that he deserves.