I am very thankful to my parents for my traditional Catholic school education.
I am thankful for two reasons, actually. One is that as a result of dealing with the daily brainwashing administered to me during those years in Catholic school, I am now an atheist. HA! That’s another story altogether, though. The second reason for my being thankful about my parents choices is the fact that I did receive and outstanding education. I didn’t always utilize the opportunities that this education provided me, but that’s another topic for another day also.
I want to talk about education today; specifically education in the U.S., the state of which sucks, in my opinion. Even 40+ years ago, when I was in elementary school, the public schools were preparing their students for epic failure. I had neighborhood friends back then who were nearly functionally illiterate. To this day, many of them have never read a book from cover to cover. I find that sad. Why? There’s the old saying that ignorance is bliss. Well, that’s not entirely true. Ignorance can be hell.
Intelligence is not what you know. It’s knowing where to find what you need to know at any given time. Education should not be about memorizing facts and dates in order to pass a state sanctioned exam of some type that’s primarily used to determine school appropriations and teacher salaries. Education should be a way to teach children to learn. Don’t just teach the whats. Teach the how and whys, also.
Unfortunately, in the U.S., as with all things it seems, money appears to be the limiting factor behind education. School boards are garden variety bureaucracies whose prime directives are to maintain themselves; with little concern for educating our children. These board members are sucking up six figure salaries and a smorgasbord of benefits to oversee the education system in your city. You wanna’ good job when you grow up, kid? Be a school administrator in a medium-to-large city. You’ll have it made.
The U.S. students are falling farther behind each year. Our children’s performance in math and science is abysmal when compared to that of students from other countries around the globe. This is going to hurt the U.S. eventually. Our brain trust of intelligent and innovative people is aging; and not being replenished, unfortunately. We’re training a nation of retail and service workers; fewer scientists, doctors, philosophers, skilled technicians/engineers, etc.
Parents, you are to blame for much of this. You’ve dropped your kids off at the curb in front of the school or watched them walk to the bus stop every morning; and then you’ve gone off about your own business, letting your child be raised by some stranger with a BS degree in phys-ed and some cheesy teaching certificate. You’ve abstained from raising and teaching your own children by dumping them into the system.
Changes need to happen. We’re not doing anything for this world, our country, or our children by letting the current state of education in the U.S. remain as it is. We won’t even get into the for-profit higher education debate here today, folks. I believe it is evil to sell knowledge. Knowledge should be free. The means to gain knowledge should be free. Every child should have the right to free quality education in this world. Noble dreams, huh? It can happen, folks. You have to make it happen. Others have.
Why Are Finland’s Schools Successful?
The transformation of the Finns’ education system began some 40 years ago as the key propellent of the country’s economic recovery plan. Educators had little idea it was so successful until 2000, when the first results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a standardized test given to 15-year-olds in more than 40 global venues, revealed Finnish youth to be the best young readers in the world. Three years later, they led in math. By 2006, Finland was first out of 57 countries (and a few cities) in science. In the 2009 PISA scores released last year, the nation came in second in science, third in reading and sixth in math among nearly half a million students worldwide. “I’m still surprised,” said Arjariita Heikkinen, principal of a Helsinki comprehensive school. “I didn’t realize we were that good.”
Do something today to affect change. Doing nothing leaves tomorrow to its own ends.
*The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of the sponsors… Wait a minute here! I don’t have any advertisers paying me, so I can say whatever the hell I want. Really free press! 🙂
Image credits: studious boy courtesy of WPClipart