The State of Education in America

Why should bureaucrats tell teachers how to teach?  I don’t tell doctor’s how to treat patients.  That would be crazy since I have no medical training and have never been a doctor.  I have no business offering medical advice or treating patients, in the same way politicians have no business telling teachers how to teach.  It makes no sense!

Unless you’ve been in the classroom and understand the complexities of teaching, you have no business making decisions for the classroom. It’s one of the hardest jobs on earth and you cannot possibly understand it unless you’ve done it.  Kids are rewarding, but draining!   Schools cannot be run like businesses, they are completely different.  It’s like comparing apples and oranges.  People like Bill and Melinda Gates have good intentions, but anyone who has not been in the classroom cannot make decisions about teaching.  The thought that kids should compete in the same way people compete in business is ludicrous!   This is making students and teachers exhausted!

Many kids don’t want to go to school anymore, they are becoming complacent.    All of the standardized testing and pressures put on students is making it harder for them to succeed. Learning should be fun! Kids love to learn in elementary school, but this changes during middle school for many struggling students.   If they are behind, they get frustrated and eventually give up.   Many drop out of high school and face a life-time of economic struggle.

Teachers are exhausted and unhappy.  How can you be creative and energetic when there is so much pressure placed on you as a teacher?  There have been more and more expectations put on teachers year after year and it all adds up to making the job  less enjoyable.  We spend time and money training teachers who end up leaving profession.  The average teacher lasts 5 years.  This is a terrible investment.  Doctors spend 10+ years in education and training in order to have a life-time career.  Teacher education and training should lead to a life-time career as well.

In Finland, teachers teach less, but have better results. They teach part of the day and have professional development and teacher planning the rest of the day, making them more effective.  Finland also recruits top college graduates. Teachers make high beginning salaries, on par with doctors. Teaching is highly sought after and esteemed.   People want to get into the education field, whereas in America we will have a shortage of teachers soon.  This is due to the media consistently blaming teachers for the problems in education.  This negativity hurts teachers.  If people would simply encourage teachers and help them, without telling them what to do, then maybe we could transform education.  It is a hard job and one that needs incredible support!

Please read this excellent Washington Post article for insight-

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/10/10/educating-kids-isnt-rocket-science-its-harder/

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Senator Diane Feinstein Meeting and the State of Education in America

I met with one of Senator Diane Fenstein’s representatives yesterday for an hour and discussed at length what’s wrong in education today and how to fix it. The rep took copious notes that she will share with the senator as well as the senator’s education office in D.C. She was extremely receptive as her sister is a public school teacher. I had articles baking up my research as well as my 16 years experience in K-12 education. I also told the rep the premier expert on the state of education in America is Diane Ravitch.

My main points were how standardized testing has hurt the children of America, naming the billionaires who have damaged American education with NCLB, Race to the Top, and Common Core. I told her that teachers need to be supported rather than blamed for the state of education. I explained that class sizes are too high, our students need more support in the form of counselors, and libraries must be re-opened with highly-qualified teacher librarians. I told her that fewer college students are going into education because of the way teachers are treated and the low pay. I explained that this is leading to a shortage of credentialed teachers, leaving students with substitutes rather than teachers. I told her this would only get worse unless standardized testing is removed, teachers are trusted as the education experts they are, teachers are supported and encouraged, and more money is poured into education. Money that is well spent: to attract and retain teachers, to lower class sizes, to support school libraries, to add counselors, repair broken schools, and the list goes on.

I stressed that if they want to know what needs to be done in education, ask the experts, the ones who are in the classrooms day by day with our students- teachers. Not bureaucrats, billionaires, or anyone with a self-serving agenda and especially no one who’s never been in the classroom! I explained that schools cannot be run like businesses. I also shared that America is waking up and there is a movement across the nation supporting all of these points. I explained that if we continue in the trend we’ve been in since NCLB was enacted, then our children will continue to suffer. I told her that poverty and parental involvement are the main indicators of student achievement, that even the best teacher can only do so much. Teachers, let’s continue to band together and get the word out! I have spoken to state senators, U.S. senators, school board members, and Arne Duncan’s office. Although, we know some are not as receptive as others, you would be surprised at how open they are and willing to hear from us. No one else can truly tell politicians what is going on in the classroom. I am encouraged by the thousands of people who are supporting teachers in getting the word out and am encouraged by the strides being made in this nation for education. It is only a matter of time before we will win this fight and make American education strong again!!

http://dianeravitch.net/

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Team Work and the Online Environment

In order to succeed as an online student, students will need many fundamental skills in order to be successful.  It requires a student to regularly go online to check assignments and notes from professors and classmates, have mastery of various computer and internet programs, adequate time to devote for each class, effective communication skills, good time management, and the ability to understand and carry out directions.

Many people dislike working in teams, they think that it is easier to just do it themselves.  They may believe that they will lose control when other team members do not do their fair share or complete assignments on time.  They may also believe that they will not get along with other teammates.  This is a misnomer, as working in teams has been proven to be more productive as opposed to working independently.  Studies have shown, as Dr. Haycock in pointed out in his presentation, that people learn more through collaboration, rather than by listening and/or reading a lecture.  Students also retain the information they learned at a higher rate when they work in teams.  To me, this is a huge indication that team work is vital to the learning process.   Of course, as an outgoing individual who thrives in groups, I am more apt to work in groups than work alone. 

It is important that a team begin working together by meeting to discuss the steps they’ll take in order to succeed, as Dr. Haycock discusses.  Teams must first decide what their goals are, the characteristics of an effective team leader, the roles and responsibilities of each team member, what the ground rules are, and the consequences for non-compliance.  I also think as Enid Irwin pointed out, that is important for each team member to know their deadlines and meet them, communicate regularly, and always be prepared.  These things will all lead to a successful collaboration and assignment! 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The musings of a librarian

I have been a teacher librarian for eight months now and thoroughly enjoy it!  I teach at a middle school in Los Angeles and yes, I said I teach.  Librarians do not just sit around checking out and shelving books.  We do far more than that!  We teach research skills, promote literacy, teach professional development, create lessons with teachers, and the list goes on.  Libraries as well as librarians, are critical for every school.  Unfortunately, librarian jobs are cut each year and libraries closed as school districts have pushed testing.  They have forgotten the importance of libraries in the process.

Not just anyone can run a library.  You must have the education and fortitude to create a center of information literacy.  I have seen libraries fall into disarray when unqualified library aides are brought in to run a library.  Hopefully, we can educate school districts as to the importance of libraries and have qualified librarians, so that children can get the most out of their education and be prepared for their college and careers!

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized