Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt
I did something today that I rarely do. I jumped into a semi-political conversation concerning the sad state of education in America, and the silly idea that just throwing more money at it will fix it.
We’ve been throwing tons of money into “education” for years, and I’m putting quotes around the word because much of what we invest is not spent on the actual process of teaching and learning.
I am not against extra-curricular programs. I do think they need to be entirely secondary to academics. But that’s really a side issue, in my mind. The real problem is that teachers have had their days consumed with writing up reports, special-needs programs, student discipline papers. And they are required to teach to the test, in order to keep the school’s academic numbers high and thereby keep and/or increase their government funding.
It is very hard to find the time to spend with a student who needs extra help when the teacher’s desk is swamped with all the paperwork that is required of them these days that really has nothing to do with what students are actually learning.
Then there is this problem:
The weight of power has shifted. The child no longer feels he must respect the teacher, because his parents don’t. A teacher is expected to please Junior and Junior’s obedient parents.
There’s a world-view problem going on here, not a money problem.
You will find that in school districts where parents are engaged in the process, and supportive of the teachers, the quality of the education rises. I’ve talked to way too many teachers who are discouraged, burned out, used up, intimidated and worn out with trying to control unruly, disrespectful, and sometimes physically threatening and violent kids.
Most teachers enter their profession because they (a) love their subject and (b) have a heart for kids. I believe a good teacher has that gifting from God, and is a priceless asset to any family. Yes, there are poor teachers who should never have entered the profession, but there are thousands more who do it because they love it, love learning, love the kids. It is sad when those teachers quit in discouragement because they get so little support from parents or, sadly, administrators who feel duty-bound to please the parents first.
Money is not the answer, and even if it were the answer, where do we go when the money runs out? Government is funded by taxpayers, not some Money Fairy that sprinkles cash liberally throughout the land. When the taxpayers are tapped out, there’s nowhere else to go, is there?
I didn’t make much money during my teaching career. I taught in private Christian schools, and money was scarce. Parents often sent us their kids at great personal sacrifice. And yet, we got the job done. We graduated well-educated, well-rounded students who had some respect for authority, for learning, for making it on their own.
That’s what you get with a good education, even if there isn’t a fat bank account behind it.