Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Read and Weep #4 - Social Costs 

As mentioned in earlier posts, I taught in a variety of schools as measured on the socio-economic scale. In each location, we encouraged and for the majority got parental participation.

In all three environments expectations for learning and behavior were high. Tolerance for poor work habits and irreverent behavior was low. My belief was that school needed to be a safe place and put downs were unacceptable. On the other hand, sloppy, undisciplined, illiterate or no teaching also was unacceptable.

Now, why do these approaches and attitudes matter? Via our tax system, all Americans pay for schools - kindergarten through graduate school at universities. From a pragmatic point of view excusing teachers from teaching and not demanding proper deportment of students is defeating for everyone: students, schools, government, businesses, and the nation as a whole.

An educational profession that abdicates its responsibilities to instruct by letting children "figure it out themselves" is a gross misuse of taxpayer money, period. If students do not learn they are trapped in stifling environments and drain the public coffers for the rest of their lives.

Too much of today's educational culture puts our nation at risk. Most of us are very happy with our toys, opportunities, activities, etc. However, they are not guaranteed in perpetuity. We will not experience a continued lifespan expansion, a maintenance or improvement in lifestyle, and more everyday conveniences if we drop demands of students and teachers from our educational system. Believing so is only fooling ourselves. A society cannot maintain its standard of living when the standards of its education continue to decline.

We have systems that work but the educational lobby and certain politicians appear to be against using those processes that produce results. To be "progressive" without content is lying to our children, our future and ourselves.

Next post will cover issues with the educational community.