Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just Because You Went to School Doesn't Make You an Education Expert

I didn't plan on using this blog to rant, but you need to just give me one moment tonight to get this off my chest.

All of a sudden (six weeks before elections??) discussions about education are popping up everywhere. Movies purporting to explain all the ills of education are going to be screened across the United States. It's the teachers' faults. Damn teachers. They already get paid too much. If they got paid to do their jobs based on what they accomplish (read teachers get paid based on students' test scores), like people in the business sector, we wouldn't have these problems in education. Look at China. They know how to do it there, and we're falling behind!

This. Makes. Me. Sick.

I wish all of these people on all of these panels, state and national boards of education, television panels and charity boards could spend one week in school with me. Go ahead, pay me based on merit. But here's the catch... I want to get the same quality materials people in the business sector have. I'm fairly certain that people who build Fords, Harleys and Apple computers only used the highest quality parts. Defective parts? Simply throw them away. I'm fairly certain that the programs that didn't meet Microsoft's high standards never made it to production. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that the Super Walmart does not sell food that is out of date, rotten fruit or rancid meat. Even China - guess who goes to school in China? Only the highest kids who will actually succeed.

What's my point?

I teach what I get. I get kids whose step-moms and step-dads tell them they hate them. I get kids who aren't sure where their parents are. I get kids who come to school with their once-a-week showers and clothing that isn't washed because they don't have hot water. I get the kids being raised by their grandparents because their parents are drug addicts or just don't care. I have kids who are bright kids, but for whatever reason a learning disability keeps them from performing to their actual ability. I have kids who don't have a house, barely have a house, don't have food, barely have food, wonder if there is food, aren't sure where they are living, who actually have more of an education than there parents, and... and.... and...... I could go on, but I think you get the point.

Businesses get and use only the best materials to make their products; many of my materials are damaged goods, and it's those damaged ones that I love the most. Because who else will? In addition to meeting the rigorous state standards and trying to help my school achieve AYP, I make sure their lunch is covered and make sure they know that somebody cares about them.

Seeing these people talk about education like they know what our kids are going through makes me sick and listening to all of the things my kids have to see, hear and live through makes me cry.

So all of you experts, please, come spend a week or two with me. Better yet, go home and live the lives of some of my kids. Then we'll see what kind of "experts" you are.

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