Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Real 21st-Century Problem in Public Education

I picked the title above from a discussion on Linkedin in the internet. I believe articles like this will be leading the masses to bark up the wrong tree.  

"The October 2013 Southern Education Foundation study indicates clearly that poverty, which has long been the biggest obstacle to educational achievement, is more important than ever. It is our true 21st century problem.
A large and growing proportion of US students live in poverty and even concentrated poverty, have a disability, and/or are learning English as a second language. THAT is the paradigm shift, and we need a totally new set of policies to address that 21st century reality.
We do have a 21st century education crisis – poverty. Until we properly diagnose the illness, however, our prescribed remedies will continue to fall far short."

I believe poverty (the state of being extremely poor) is a problem but not necessarily the biggest problem in public education.

The following is what Sr.Susan J.Brien had said in Linkedin

I worked with a colleague who was studying for her doctorate and her dissertation research was about why 4 schools with high poverty met, or exceeded standards while other high poverty schools did not. Her conclusions included the efforts of each school's staff to be on the same page with regards to lessons, assessments, discipline, camaraderie among the staff and administration, and the students feeling motivated, a sense of belonging, etc. The final result was that the staff worked together and they didn't accept poverty as an excuse to learn. Students and staff alike found ways to stand out and do well. Maslow's hierarchy was in full swing in those schools. Poverty is an issue that needs to be addressed, but it doesn't necessarily mean that those schools fail. Many parents were involved and they were / are a key component of each school's success. Do we need to truly and deeply address poverty? Absolutely!

The following are comments from an article I had read.

There are examples of schools that have been successful in improving the academic outcomes of students despite poverty. Mostly, they collaborated with the larger school community and together, supported student needs. Poverty is a HUGE factor in challenging academic success for students, but it is by no means, the only predictor for their future success. IT CAN BE DONE (read K. Chenoweth) If there are committed adults who are willing to invest in the future of students. It is not working harder, but smarter. It can be done.
Here is an extract from another article.

Kids are not

learning basic concepts of Math, English and Science. Since when do elementary age students need to act like they're working in corporate America and we all know that is not about 'teamwork' but about 'power' to control others. Sure, 'teamwork' on projects is important but it should not remove the teacher from actually teaching.
Another comment:

You people are just full of IT! You don't have to be rich to learn..... Why do I hear this only in USA? Is this your motto? You have to be rich to be educated? I am from a tiny country and from even tinnier village. I walked to school every day. I went to a public school where you had to bring your own toilet paper, because school didn't provide it. You had to buy some crayons, pencils, erasers and notebooks. Books were for free........I speak 2 different languages, I have a master degree, I used to be a professional tennis player and I have a great career. But I can assure you- it was not money that gave me education. It was my parents and my approach of  life.

One teacher told this one great example:

"I teach children of all races. Black children for some reason always lack less vocabulary than other kids. They are behind with reading, they can't spell, and they have problems with math as well....... Lots of people tell me that they do not have the same conditions to learn as white children. Well I say this to them: Library and Books are free for everybody"
If you want to make an excuse for why we have problems in education, you can always find it. You just found it...........but poverty is not the good one.
Another comment:

I'm the result of several generations of poor people reproducing. We have our share of jailbirds, drug addicts and alcoholics, but not every one of us is like that. My mother and her family were legitimately poor, not even having electricity or running water, or even indoor plumbing on a consistent basis. Yet, despite these obstacles or maybe because of them, she and all of her siblings rose above their "class" and their children (me included) are going even further. My mother works as an office manager, when her parents were an oil rig worker and a maid, respectively. I became the first person in my family to graduate from college, and I'm a certified educator AND I'm studying to get my master's in microbiology. My cousin is an engineer. We're "moving up." So yeah, poor people deserve to have children too. You never know what's going to happen. :)
And another comment:

As a poor parent of a child in a poor, under-performing school, I can speak to some of this.
It's frustrating to hear people complain that a teacher who earns seven times my household income is underpaid. It's similarly frustrating to relinquish my child to the state for six hours a day, five days a week, only to hear these professional educators complain that, when they fail, it's the parents' fault.
It's frustrating to know that if I had the luxury of time to home-school my child, he'd be exposed to so much more than he is in school.
One more comment:

It's frustrating, when I pick my son up after school, to hear him all excited--not because he learned something exciting or acquired a new skill or built something he's proud of, but because he got a good behavior rating for the day. I worry that a school that stresses conformity over creativity and academic performance is little more than a holding cell.

As I struggle to pull myself up by the bootstraps so I'll have a profitable farm to leave to my children, it frustrates me to see signs of an educational system geared toward programming children to believe that their only option in life is to become someone else's employee.
One final comment:

Teacher: "I have students (from poor families) who smoke dope and other drugs daily and who are absent constantly."
Commentator: I grew up middle class and went to a private middle school. They have those problems in there, too. It's a result of bad parenting, which is not at all the exclusive domain of the poor.

There is more to come on this in my next post.


Unknown said...

I wish I could help that parent who is working so very hard to provide for his or her children. What I can do, right now, is pray that the Good Lord is watching over each family that struggles.

If I were just beginning my teaching career, my starting salary would be between $30 and $40 thousand dollars a year (in America). I began my teaching career over 40 years ago with 3 times less and I think teachers complain about what they earn because there are inequities in salaries. While I was earning way less in my district, other new teachers had much higher salaries. As a teacher, your thinking, planning, creating lessons and assessments don't stop with the last bell of the day. Most often, your weekends aren't your own either. I spent many a night up until the wee hours grading papers, writing notes to students, and reworking lessons.

Parents are the first teachers any child has and valuing an education for them will help them succeed. Parents are the people from which teachers want the most support. You are entrusting your child with a teacher for many hours of a given day, so keep encouraging your children to do well. They ALL matter no matter where they live.

Luqman Michel said...

I cannot agree with you more when you said "Parents are the first teachers any child has and valuing an education for them will help them succeed. Parents are the people from which teachers want the most support. You are entrusting your child with a teacher for many hours of a given day, so keep encouraging your children to do well."

Thank you for your valuable comment.

Aliesen Senado said...
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