Stanstamper’s Blog

March 14, 2011

Are we losing the education war?

Filed under: Uncategorized — stanstamper @ 8:35 pm
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As a society, we have a lot of tough issues to face, from the stability of our government to how we determine what needs to be funded, at the expense of things that we cannot afford.
Since education comprises the largest single expense item in the state’s budget, it goes without saying that we must constantly evaluate not only how we are doing, but strive to get the best return on each dollar invested.
I take a much harsher approach to funding education than most. I don’t think we’re winning the education battle. I think we’re losing. That’s not to say that we don’t have a lot of great teachers who are doing a wonderful job. Nor is it to say that we don’t have a lot of very sharp and bright students.
It seems to me that we have to approach education as a war—a war that we must win, because children who don’t acquire a basic education, are doomed. I think too many kids are falling through the cracks, and with government money becoming more precious down the road, how will society deal with these education casualties, not to mention the harsh real-world realities that educational failures will be forced to endure?
I actually think “as a group” Hugo and Choctaw County teachers are doing a tremendous job, given the demographics of the area.
It seems to me that instead of throwing so much money at education, we need to focus more on parenting. We need to raise the “expectation” in many youth—that we “expect” them to do better.
If you will take time to read the story to the right of this column by State Superintendent Barresi, you’ll get a better understanding of what an educational mountain we have to climb.
All over this country, parents and taxpayers are telling their legislators they want to see “education reform.” How that reform is defined, of course, is the sixty-four thousand dollar question.
I don’t have all the answers, but better parenting is badly needed. Smarter minds than me need to put together some kind of “parenting curriculum” or counseling for parents who have “at risk” children.
I know there are at least a few such programs in place (parents as teachers, etc.), but more must be done.
When parents don’t care about their children, there’s certainly a diminished likelihood that the child will do well at school.
Nationally, many parents, who realize the importance of a good education, are revolting against the public school system, which they don’t believe is providing the best possible education for their children.
These parents have demanded vouchers, so they can take their children and their tax dollars to the school of their choice…where they think they can obtain a better education.
How can you blame a parent for this, and what is the long-term result for public education when the sharpest and brightest students leave?
See why I think this is a war?
I can’t help but believe that “more structure” is going to be required to save our education system. Along with more structure, is more order, more discipline and more “expectation” for achievement.
I don’t think it makes sense to force a child to take biology if they can’t multiply seven times six. We are graduating kids that can’t read a ruler or figure 10% off the price of goods.
These matters will continue to loom as the greatest challenges of our society. I pray that more Americans understand the consequences of continuing “business as usual” when it comes to losing the war that counts our children as victims.

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