Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Education in America

I graduated from college with degrees in history and Spanish and certification to teach secondary education (and an endorsement in English as a Second Language).  I married my husband right after graduation, moved out of state to be with him and wasn't able to find a teaching position.  Now that we have Lucia, it's not likely that I will try to find a teaching job anytime soon, yet the state of our education system is still constantly on my mind.  It will be quite a while before we have to decide on how our own children will be educated (at this point we are leaning toward homeschooling), but education is not only about one's own children, it's about all children and the future of our nation. (And in fact, I believe that at least part of the education problems in the US is the apathy of those who don't currently have children in the education system, combined with the apathy of some who do.)

I was very disheartened by what I saw and heard about the education system while I was in my university's education program and throughout my student teaching.  Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like much is being done to fix any of our problems.  The statistics have been abysmal, but there doesn't yet seem to be any solutions is sight.   

I don't want this post to be about me and my opinions, I want it to be a jumping off point for a discussion about what you think.  So I'm asking you, my dear readers and friends, what do you see as the biggest obstacles in our education system?  What do you think are the solutions?    I'm serious, I'm curious!  What do you think?

And if you need a little something to get you thinking, here are some recent (depressing) statistics about the US education system:

Why America's Education Isn't Worth the Money


  1. Over at IgnitumToday, several bloggers have been looking at the state of what it means to have a Catholic education. A slightly different focus than what you have above, but I suspect some concerns overlaps, since some people focus on the public education model:

  2.  Oh wow, thank you! I totally missed all those posts. I have a lot of catch up reading to do!

  3. I agree everyday I think I need to homeschool my kids. There are so many things I learned as a kid that I had to reteach myself as an adult. Unless I marry rich I doubt I would be able to afford private/catholic schools and I know I DEF. wouldn't fit in with the parents of those kids. 

    After spending a week trying to score english papers I find it crazy how the scoring standard goes. Kids are passing who can't spell simple words right. Also I've realized there is so MUCH fluff the schools ad when you homeschool you only need 3-5 hours of school time! It's crazy!

  4. wow what a great post, very interesting. glad to have stumbled upon your blog!

  5. I'm a third grade teacher in the public school system and I'm troubled and embarrassed by how these statistics makes us look. We are not providing our students a quality education and it's not our fault, it's not our children's homelife or economic status. It's the support we as teachers get from our district. It's the curriculum we are given and the accountability our district gives us to actually teach it. It's our districts and communities support to help fund us so we don't lose our library teachers, music teachers, and pe teachers. It's our district and communities support to help fund and value our time on the clock to be effective teachers. I could be a more effective teacher if I dedicated my days and nights to teaching but I have to be a mom first. Don't get me wrong, I put my heart and soul into teaching my students and many of my collegues do as well. But, we are a broken system that people want to make quick fixes too. You will often hear veteran teachers say, "we tried this X years ago." Many of them feel like they are stuck in a viscous cycle of repeat. What we need is time, support, funding, accountability, and consistency on what is expected of us.
    I'm running on fumes by the end of the week and I hope what I said makes sense and doesn't knock public schools too bad. I believe in our schools or I wouldn't be doing what I do. Yes we have some holes but every system does. At least in this system you have people who are in it for the children. It's definitely not for the money.

  6. My daughter started grad school this semester.  her assignment Why the health care reform act is good for America!!!!!!

  7. I could write forever on my opinions about education in America. I bet they'd be almost the exact same as yours. 
    I think one of the BIGGEST issues in American education is actually an issue with parenting. If parents aren't doing their share, there's no way even the best teacher in the world can make a big difference in the elementary school. Great teachers can motivate middle school kids and older to 'dig' their way out of a hole but it *may* already be too deep if the issues are too deep seeded. Aside from the lack of parental involvement/support/motivation, teaching at the elementary level needs to be worked on first. The caliber of a large percentage of graduates with elementary teaching degrees are (I dare say), not very intellectual. Sure they love kids and are nice enough, but when it comes down too it, smart and personable people who would make great elementary teachers see: the behavior of un-parented kids, the low pay, and the non-respect the position gets from others and they run toward other occupations.

    We are leaning toward homeschooling too, at least for the first few years.


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