To understand why the public school system is in any way deficient, you must first understand this:
Schools are, from the ground up, primarily controlled by politicians.
I read this thread on Pandagon and couldn’t help but think of an adage repeated throughout my training: Everyone goes to school, thus everyone thinks s/he is an educational expert.
Politicians, concerned with public sway, bloviate on education and educational policies that have no empirical bearing on scholastic research, do not take into account that the United States is, in part, founded on the belief that education is a fundamental human right, and discount proactive, comprehensive learning in favor of learning that will produce a desired test score. I am entirely opposed to any sort of politicization from Democrats and Republicans alike that turns the educational system away from the individual student and teachers there to serve them. Nor do I have sympathy for outsiders critical of the school system or critical of sound educational practice that have no formal training in eduacation.
So many seem to believe that teaching is easy. It’s babysitting. Research all throughout the Western world shows the same thing: Ask a parent about the state of public schools and they say the system is failing. Ask them about their own children’s schools, and most will say the school is an exception. They’re doing just fine.
Those on the ground, teachers and in-school administators, are puppets for these politicians, strong-armed into the policies that politicians all over the political spectrum enact for the primary purpose of building reputation and maintaining political power. The solace you have as an educator is that when you step into a classroom, the door closes behind you. It’s you and the students. One learns to bullshit very quickly.
You don’t believe in an educational political agenda? Look at creationist ed. Look at sex ed. The policies that push these travesties into being begin at a local level by locally elected officials. Travel upward to see the dearth of educational funding whilst state officials lament the “broken” school system. Travel even further upward to see the federal government’s not-so-secret wishes to tear apart the public school system. Problem with the schools? Run them like businesses. Don’t like the teachers? Fuck ’em.
Education is a political issue — but it shouldn’t be. I am of the firm belief that aside from public support and funding, the public school system should lie at the hands of educators and people trained in sound pedagogical practices. Because this isn’t the case, I may very well pass up on a public school teaching job that I am over-qualified to perform. In no way do I feel obligated to justify my pedagogy to a parade of political assholes who aren’t even familiar with the term.
Fifty percent of teachers who are “most-qualified” to teach secondary education will leave the profession within five years. I wonder why — could it be the low pay? lack of appreciation? romanticization of the profession? political grandstanding? overbearing parents? Take a guess.
Drop the act: Just because you once attended a school does not make you an expert in education.
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