I must be in a surly mood today because I feel like venting a bit. As an educator & parent of 3 school aged children, there are several aspects our current education system that are on my nerves! These are my top 3 frustrations (not in ranking order) with schools today.
1. There is an overabundance of resources spent on children who are struggling in school. Not politically correct to share, but it is a huge frustration of mine. Why? Because this focus leaves the average and strong students with less and less resources. There are countless new mandates coming from national and state governments requiring local schools to provide services, but they are not given any more funding to do so. Schools have no choice, but to comply with the new mandate. Where do they get the money for the resources? From anywhere in the budget they are able to! It is not mandated to have enrichment classes, so they may need to be cut. A great teacher that I know is so frustrated with all the time and energy that her district spends on intervention with low acheiving students that she may pull her children out of the district. Her children are above average, but there are no accelerated classes for them and it is affecting their ability to learn. Yet, if one of her children were struggling a great deal, there would be a ton of options available. There has to be a healthy balance in our schools, and there is not!
2. Teacher tenure is another sore spot for me. I was a teacher for over a decade and I was tenured. There are many great teachers out there, quite a few average teachers and a much smaller percentage that really should be shown the door. Most good educators are just as frustrated with the poor ones because they give the profession a bad name. They make their job harder. A person in any profession can be fired with “just cause” and it should be the same for teachers. I know teachers who have been great from the moment they started teaching until they retired 30+ years later. Unfortunately, the same could be true for many bad teachers. They have been poor their whole career, but had the safety net of tenure keeping their job safe. I hope more and more states end teacher tenure (not unions!). Good teachers are an absolutely HUGE factor in engaging all types of students. Eliminating tenure would be a win-win for the profession as a whole and our students.
3. Testing, testing and more testing. So much time and money is spent every year by school districts, state and the national government to give our children hundreds of standardized tests to measure acheivement. Why? They are mandated. They are hoping to intervene with low achieving students. They are used to evalulate schools and teachers. It seems like I’ve already hit on a couple of these topics already! Hmmm….. There are some districts and many families that are refusing to have their children take any more tests. Will this be the beginning of the end? I hope so.
All of these issues I bring up are not to bash schools, but to seek awareness of reform that needs to happen to make our schools better. Our country has an education system that has so many great aspects to it. Yet, we need to make some serious changes to make the future bright for our kids and our country.
Do you have any insight to offer on the 3 areas I am fed up with? What are your pet peeves with education today?