The Hard Truth

This post is in response to a post I read on an educational blog I am following: Musings of a Not So Master Teacher  Check out his blog and his post on Friday, January 29th "A Make Believe Conversation About Parenting".  I disagree with this blogger, but the beauty of our country is that people can agree to disagree, be civil about it, and not risk being imprisoned or beheaded for a dissenting opinion.   So please read his blog, then read my response so you can understand where both he and I are coming from.  Who do you agree with? Let me know! I would love to hear from you!

In regards to your points, unfortunately public education should be run like a business. Whether you earn a high school education or a college education, the goal is to get a job.  To get that job, you must COMPETE (this is capitalized for emphasis, not yelling) with others for “value”, “worth” and “acceptance”. And if you don’t speak the language or have a disability, the odds are against you…so sorry, that’s life. Life is unfair, and you are going to have to work three times as hard. Even when you have the talent, there is no guarantee, you will be successful, so we must equip students to be prepared for life’s challenges.  

In life there are moments, and there are people with whom, you can express your “self” and be your “self” but sometimes no one is going to give a hoot about your “self”. Your employer only wants you to get the job done, often ignoring your “value”, stripping you of your sense of “worth” and rejecting, rather than “accepting” your “self”.  Kids need to learn what contributions they can make with their sense of “self”, whether it’s on a small scale or a large scale, depending on the limitations of the individual’s intellect.

By the way, we are in a global pissing contest, and sorry for the profanity I am about to use; you started the metaphor, I could not help myself. We are dicking around for thinking we’re not! We need to teach our students that aim, size, and potency do matter. Our schools’ aim should be to teach students how to think critically about their place in the world. Currently, our students’ performance demonstrates we are impotent against the educational prowess and virility of Japan, China, India, Brazil, etc. who have had a steady stream of success in modernizing their societies and economies. We need to teach students to think BIG and think deeply!  Many of our schools encourage students to play it small by not allowing them the opportunities to think big!  We keep faking it, telling our students how great they are, when they’re really not!  This issue can be resolved…not with Viagra, but by teaching our students how to be great…in academia!

Grades are meaningless, and so are an endless number of things humans have generated to rank our value, worth and acceptance; students have to conform to the fact that in our society, grades serve to determine their value, worth and acceptance. If a student plans on entering college, grades won’t be meaningless, so students must suck it up and earn the grades so they can prove their value, worth and acceptance to survive in the real world.  If a student plans on subsistence living, then maybe grades are meaningless. And if a student thinks they’re as talented as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Einstein, or Johnny Depp or the countless number of other high school and college dropouts, then they need to drop out, pursue their dream while living under a bridge, or in case they’re wealthy, while mom and dad pick up the tab so they can go find their “self”.  But still they must know that society won’t conform to make them feel good about their “self” or to help them with their sense of value, worth and acceptance.  It may be up to more than just knowledge and talent, which will make them, succeed, it may be fate!

Guess what, public schools DO need to compete for resources as well. Elected officials in impoverished districts do little or nothing to elevate the living conditions in those areas. The people in these communities must take charge and demand that they receive the same resources as affluent areas. But they don’t! They have few true leaders who work toward improving education and for eradicating poverty. In this business, there is an unspoken truth that many of our nations’ worst schools have the worst teachers. Why aren’t the leaders of these communities galvanizing their constituents to come out in droves to protest this violation of human rights?  Because these leaders think it’s beneficial to keep people poor and ignorant! And the people themselves are oblivious they are caught in this cycle; they even resort to destroying the resources they are being given. One in million break free. Take Geoffrey Canada and others like him who makes no excuses for poverty. We need more people like him. We have to stop feeling sorry for the poor little White, Blacks, Latinos and Native Americans in these under privileged neighborhoods and schools, and teach them how to empower themselves by holding them accountable to meet high expectations. 

And that kid in the middle, he needs to step up his game, and get some educational Viagra because life will be hard, if he’s not hard on himself! 


Donna said...

Ary, my soulmate, you speak my mind. Education is the most powerful tool of any society, look what Hitler did! through what? EDUCATION. This is America, once the land of opportunity, well it still is, but not as it once was. As said, all schools are not the same, parents can be so influential in the curriculum and adminstration of a school, if they are with right motive. But in the end, students must strive for an excellent education, but they often look for the easy way out. Mediocrity has stricken American society, along with poverty, equal, less than greatness. Entitlement has taken over the poor of a great nation by well meaning politicians who have created generational poverty. Third and fourth generations living in government houwse has become a lifestyle and we have found through Ruby Payne's research that this entitlement of free everything has made children believe education is free. Well, yes, free public education...but not like the subsidized think. Oh, student, hard work does still pay off, in the end you will discover your "Self" through the power of discovering who you are from the inside: integrity, character, all a part of the education experience. King Solomon spoke well when he said," Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart." Stop making excuses, and expect excellency. Viagra is an old man's drug. Youth merely need use their God given abilities to learn, and shape the future. Teachers? we are the guides, the directors, the encouragers, the watchers of the wall. I love what I do.

ashley said...

Truth is after high school I was totally burnt out with school. I had been in school since I was 5 years old and I just had to take a break. I worked approximately 6 months and missed learning so bad I couldn't wait to go back. When I went back it was to community college. That was God guiding my footsteps because that was just what I needed. Education by teachers that were so passionate. I was taught business law by lawyers and accounting by accountants. I think in the U.S. we need to change the traditional "school" model we have been following for hundreds of years. Some of us learn better in changing environments with different methods than the traditional model. Just my opinion…

The Empowered Teacher said...

That's right! We have to change the traditional ways, and realize every individual learns differently. Thanks for your thoughts Ashley! I appreciate your support and pardon my metaphor there! I was a bit embarrassed you read that!

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