One thought I believe to be true: The majority of men and women teachers are dedicated and doing the best they can with a system that has been screwed over by ignorant politicians.
Unfortunately I believe the educational system we now have is broken and can’t be fixed.
My point is I’m having a problem with the future of education. I’ve had an ongoing debate with myself about discussing the future of education here in this blog.
Future education will depend totally on technology. It doesn’t feel right. But, it probably is. Unless you can give me a good argument against my premise.
I don’t mean sitting a kid down in front of a computer and saying, “learn.”
Boring. Maybe one child in 20 could force himself to stare at the screen and learn something. Most would fall asleep or figure out a way to hack the silly machine.
Let me explain.
Before discussing the future, I have to look at my parents’ education experience, my own, my children and my grandchildren’s education experience. I know those four generations intimately. I know how we learned, what we learned and why we learned it.
From the early days of public education until thirty or forty years ago the hired teachers were the best and the brightest females of their respective schools. Teachers were mostly female. The discriminatory glass ceiling was in any other career a female might be interested in. Teaching was always a respected profession and I don’t know many older Americans who don’t have at least one teacher in their background who inspired them to learn and achieve.
There have always been wonderful dedicated men teachers, too. But, even today they are less than 25% of the almost four million elementary and secondary instructors.
A slow creaky door started opening for women in business, law, medicine, science, military, and even NASCAR. Suddenly jobs that weren’t a consideration were now not only available, but opportunities to rise to the top. Females became CEOs, Chief Engineers, Head Surgeons, Judges, Ministers and Astro-Physicists
There were still dedicated men and women who wanted to teach more than they wanted to have a more lucrative career. Just not as many per school.
So instead of the top 1/3 of the class going into teaching, the bottom 1/3 of the class did. Unfortunately that coincided with the politicians wanting more say so in curriculum and method, but at the same time cutting more and more funds from education.
We’ve watched the USA fall further and further behind many other countries. In the last fifteen years we have made no progress compared to most other countries. In the 2012 PISA test (Program for Student Assessment) we were about the same as we were in 2000. A great big MEDIOCRE.
One half million 15 year- old students in thirty four countries took the test. In math we were below average and ranked 17th. In Science we about average and ranked 21st. In reading we were 17th.
We are FIFTH in spending per pupil. The Slovak Republic, which scores equal to the USA in all subjects spends $53,000 per student. We spend $115,000 per student. To be fair, we have a horrible poverty problem for such a rich country. The thirty four countries average 7% in socio-economically disadvantaged students (Poor). A few countries like Vietnam, China, Korea, Singapore have 13% in the poor category. The United States has 25% socio-economically disadvantaged (Poor).
We have this multi-pronged mess of spending too much for too little. The people who are trying to solve the problem are also a mess. Most of the left-wing and right-wing ideologues have never had a job. Never. Had. A. Job. They spend all of their time raising money for the next election (city, county state, federal) and their whole life is leaning as far right or as far left as the political donations demand.
Here are their two diverse solutions:
Conservative: Break up teacher unions. Teachers are overpaid and not held responsible for their poor student scores. Fire the teachers with the lowest class test scores. Hold administrators responsible, too. Fire them and take over their school if they can’t produce better results. Stop spending so much money on education. Give vouchers to parents for the schools of their choice and have more competition with private schools for the students.
Liberal: Go back to the days of the best and the brightest. Pay teachers as other professionals are paid. They should be on a scale like doctors, lawyers, etc. Then the best and brightest will come back to teaching. Pay bonus money for teaching in poor areas.
I know there are more viewpoints, but my opinion is neither plan will work. |
To bring four million teachers pay up to what other professionals are making is fiscally impossible.
To fire tons of teachers who are given impossible tasks to teach kids like my parents and I were taught is also wrong-headed and also impossible.
However a kind of compromise of ideas is what has to happen in the next ten years. I predict it will happen by 2020.
We need excitement about learning. We need enthusiastic SUPER TEACHERS.
We need the best possible methods and curriculum.
Every classroom will have a giant TV screen on the wall. Class size will average 50-60 students(twice the size of today’s classroom). The video course will be taught by a Super-Teacher. Like a doctor, lawyer or engineer, these Super Teachers will be paid accordingly. Their video course will have engaging interactive videos, Tedtalks, essay prompts, professionally produced video of current events, interactive challenges and games students can play with other students around the world, printable worksheets and assessment tests. In each classroom will be a Classroom Facilitator. A $15-$18 dollar an hour room facilitator making sure kids are behaving and equipment is working.
No need for teacher unions so the right is happy.
The best and the brightest are once again teaching our youth so the liberals are happy. Each course taught will be the best possible efficient and interesting course available in the country. No child will be left behind. Our country will finally have equity in every classroom.
Those ignorant old farts in Washington aren’t going to improve a thing. You, my friend, have to demand it. Or, maybe you have a better idea. Let me hear it.