This posting discusses what level of involvement and control the federal government should have in education, as well as what the level of control should be placed with the state government.
It is easy to point to national test scores to "grade" educators, however there are too many variables over which educators have no control in testing, and everyday teaching, that hinder their most ardent attempts to guarantee that "no child [is] left behind." This posting discusses the fallacies of NCLB, the lack of support and funding for public schools nationwide, the insidious ways districts are cutting funds, and how all of these things are negatively impacting our nation's youth. Also discussed are the elements outside of school that are taking their toll on our young, making education something of secondary importance?understandable but not acceptable.
This article points out discrepancies, and makes suggestions for the benefit of students, and the parents who try so hard at home to support their children. It is reasonable that the federal government (and a limited state government) have input and provide supervision, but certain realistic and logical guidelines are suggested so that our children will benefit and not become numbers on a balance sheet sitting on some bureaucrat's desk in Washington, D.C.
I hope this piece provides you with some feedback into the realities found in public school classroom, and the frustrations felt by educators through districts, states and nationwide. I am passionate about this, as are teachers who really want to do a good job: for us, education may pay the bills, but it is a calling, a passion, which becomes more difficult every year to accomplish. And the truth is that the ones that suffer the most are not teachers or parents, but the students MOST OF US are trying so hard to serve.
As a teacher, I feel that while federal oversight is necessary to keep the state governments honest, and using the same "measuring stick" to monitor a school's "success" is mandatory, I believe that the people on the federal level who oversee these tasks MUST have a strong educational background as CLASSROOM TEACHERS. It is impossible for an average member of society, without the background, to understand the intricacies involved in successfully running a government. It would be ludicrous to give anyone of us the job of being the President without the training and experience necessary. (And even with that, there are no guarantees...as is the case with teachers and every other profession.)
How is it then that the government is making policy for schools when most of its members have not a clue about what it takes to run a classroom or a school in 2011?
What comes first to mind is the "No Child Left Behind" (NCLF) foolishness that has given the government a means of holding a report card over the collective heads of school districts across the nation. The "carrot" is that if the school doesn't "pass," not only do they get a negative rating, but federal funding is withheld. This is nothing more than a witch-hunt. The government at the time this was implemented wanted to garner votes by buying into the public's misapprehension that teachers do nothing else but work a few hours a day, go home early, and have their summers off. The more money a teacher makes, the more rabid the public becomes (and there are MANY teachers that assume enormous responsibilities in educating and "raising" students, who make ridiculously low annual salaries: trash collectors?God bless them?make more, with less responsibilities).
(I realize there is a fair amount of generalization here: in many cases, the lifeblood of special programs, and even classroom success with the individual child, also must come from parental support.)
We are dealing not with facts, but with something that has become a part of urban folklore: "what a cushy job these teachers have, and I'm footing the bill with my taxes." As with any profession, there are those who work hard and those who do not. It is the height of foolishness to believe that ALL politicians are doing their very best (making fine money and receiving life-time health benefits after one full term). It does not matter what the profession is?lawyers, nurses, clergy, doctors, etc.: there are some who do an excellent job, and others who do not.
(As an aside, in our district, it is NOT the union that protects bad teachers. If a teacher is "reported" for failing to fulfill some portion of his/her contract, the ADMINISTRATION is in charge of observing and documenting these failures so that the union can take steps to speak to the teacher so he/she adjusts his/her methods or behaviors in keeping with the contract, or be asked to leave. If the Administration is unwilling to take these steps, the union can do nothing, yet the union is blamed for not "getting ...
There should be concern and control regarding the amount of federal and state government control in the classroom, especially by those inexperienced in education.