To say that there is an education crisis in America would be a gross understatement.
Many are aware that the public schools of the United States are failing us in many ways, having ceded their authority to the internet, iphones and a plethora of social media sites. Teachers are swamped with chore upon chore; bureaucratic regulations imposed from above; the often unfair and unreasonable expectations of anxious parents and the awful fallout of financial failure in Post-Great-Recession America.
In inner city schools, it is especially hard for even the most gifted and willing students to learn in an atmosphere where the prevention of bodily harm to students and teachers is seen as the priority and students start their school day being scanned by a metal detectors. These schools are underfunded, and have become baby-sitters in institutional form.
They have strayed so far from their original mission of preparing young people for th challenges of adulthood that their main purpose seems to be the opposite: to keep them from reaching mental maturity. Victory in crime- and poverty-ridden school districts is seen by too many educators as keeping students out of jail, off the street and capable of holding down a minimum wage job after graduation
For those who have managed, in spite of their humble origins, to secure admission to university, the price of doing so has been financial thralldom – incurring decade after decade of indebtedness resulting from student loans at the college level. These loans, taken out to pay tuition that has increased by leaps and bounds in the last decade or so,have burdened borrowers so heavily that long term career strategies must take a back seat to the need to bring in quick cash in order to pay off these enormous debts.
Then there is the opposite end of the spectrum. The respect that students and their parents ought to have for those who have been charged with the instruction of their children has been sacrificed, by some, to the insistence on upward mobility at all costs. For the home-owning and Lexus-driving class especially, high school, middle school and even grade school are serious steppingstones to an advanced degree from a school of suitable pedigree; and heaven help the teacher who does not perform equally suitable miracles to ensure that their children are admitted by same.
These outer-ring school districts are often populated by people who have recently abandoned the suburbs for the exurbs – people who are more than willing in more than a few cases to make hours-long commutes to and from work in order to make sure that their tax dollars are not spent on the cause of equalizing educational opportunity.
Meanwhile, American students’ proficiency in math and science – for all but the most privileged – are moving steadily downward in international rankings. Tens of billions of dollars are spent on things that do not even remotely related to education. Included here are, athletic programs; ineffective teaching tools, costly maintenance fees for decaying school buildings and physical plants that are powered by failing and increasingly expensive HVAC systems. Add to this the outlandishly expensive instructional materials that are sold for top dollar to districts that are so cash-strapped that teachers must pay for office supplies out of their own pockets.
The result is an increasingly illiterate and ignorant student body that is in no way competitive in this increasingly competitive day and age of worldwide technological progress and cutthroat global competition.
(SAY SOMETHING ABOUT TRUMP AND DEVOS)
(to be continued).