|stupid education system
||[Jul. 6th, 2006|02:46 am]
So its late and I am bored. I will take this as an opportunity to ramble about the state of American Education!
In the 1800's education served one purpose; to train new workers. In order to reflect this, schools taught basic skills needed to enter the workplace as a factory worker. Since then, American education has changed very little. Policies continue to be made in order to better the citizens but still, the main purpose of education is to train blue collar workers.
In modern times, America has shifted its stance economically. While we still do have great amounts of blue collar jobs still, we also have a great amount of white collar jobs. More importantly than that though, is most jobs in the US are actually white collar jobs. Another type of work that is up and coming as needing vast amounts for the workforce are service related jobs. The problem that presents itself with education is that it is still functioning as if to train blue collar workers and not white collars in spite of the fact that there is a greater number of white collar and service oriented jobs in the US today than blue collar thanks in part to outsourcing.
At present, the American teacher is treated like a second class citizen in this country. This is related to the pay scheme, but I think it is also related to vocabulary and a corner that academics have painted themselves into. A great place to begin would be simple vocabulary differences.
When a new teacher applies for a teaching position, one thing that is asked commonly is “What is your educational philosophy”. When one breaks down the term Educational Philosophy, it basically sounds like one is being asked what their concept of teaching is. This answer is mostly true. In reality, the education philosophy is a set of ideas the teacher uses to determine how they will go about doing things in their classroom. Additionally, it reflects what goals and ideas they have for how the students should be learning. In the business community, these concepts are Mission Statements and Vision Statements. The mission statement being the method for achieving the goals set out in the vision statement. When analyzing just the terms Education Philosophy and Mission Statement and Vision Statement, it is pretty easy to realize the differences and confusion most outside the education world have. A philosophy is an idea that is not tangible and openly negotiable and constantly discussed and argued about, whereas a statement is definitive. It is this point that throws most in the business world off. They want definitive solutions to the problems of poor test scores and inadequate student training, but instead are faced with strings of concepts and philosophies that change yearly.
The lexicological differences are just the beginning of the problems that face education. In one of my education classes, I read a statement that sent the business side of my head a buzz with anger. The statement was “Educators cheer the new teacher shortages that have been rampant across the country because it allows them to change the curriculum used to train teachers”. What that translates to is as follows: People who run teacher certification programs take advantage of teacher shortages as a way to increase course loads of students and further justify their jobs. Unfortunately, the people who actually run the school systems (elected officials) and their supporters (business leaders) do not see eye-to-eye with educators in this concept. Instead, they see the teacher shortages as a real problem that needs a definitive solution. To them, the answer is to open up more outlets to achieve certification. In many states across the US, this has meant that certification is an easy 3 test process if one has a bachelor’s degree in any subject. This solution bypasses the colleges of education completely.
This leads to the real problem with the American Education system. I feel that the true cause of the problems across the US are not the school boards, are not the students, and even are not the teachers but instead are the colleges which train teachers. These educators get their heads caught up in an academic bubble and they fail to see reality. So below, I am throwing grammar into the wind and listing solutions and problems:
Problem: not enough teachers
Their Solution: create more classes for certification and education degrees because it allows for better trained teachers to enter the workplace
Real Solution: Consolidate all the certification classes into only a couple courses beyond any other degree program to allow for quick student turnover rates. More students would go for certification if it were only 2 or 3 classes beyond any other degree simply to take education as a crutch in the very competitive job market.
Problem: Poor standardized test scores
Their Solution: increase teacher training, elongate the school day, start school earlier, make teachers teach the test.
Real Solution: The school’s rating, funding, and teacher pay is all determined by the student’s performance on tests. The real solution, which would offer more means of measurement and a better overall assessment of a school’s programs, is to test the teachers. The whole concept of high-stakes testing is to rate the teacher’s performance based on that of their students. This is the truth, even though many do not see it. If teachers are tested on their knowledge of subject areas on a yearly basis, then they are forced to be more on top of their game.
I can go on for hours on this subject matter, but it is 3:30am and I think this is a good point to stop.