The “Sum” of Education in America is NOT Adding Up!

On my day off from my Manny gig I went to the movie’s and watched “Waiting For Superman”.  This film was amazing.  It had all the components to a major blockbuster.  Love, loss, humor, suspense, etc.  But unlike most Hollywood blockbuster’s it did not have a huge budget, special effects, and the biggest name in the cast was that of Davis Guggenheim. A decedent of Meyer Guggenheim, a family known for having one of the largest fortunes in the 19th century.  The astounding thing about this movie is that it is a documentary and everything in it is sad and true.  It left me, and most everyone else in the theater, in a state of shock.  This angered and me greatly.  It gave a complete overview of where the current state of the United State’s education system is currently at, where it was, and where it is going…which seems to be down the drain and fast! 

I am going to list some things below for you to read and I just want to see if it angers, or upsets you in any way shape or form.  AND, if it does, what can we do about it?!

* Today families are being forced to enter their child into a “lottery”, usually with about a 10% or less, chance of winning.  A lottery which will guarantee a child a better education than they are currently receiving in their current crummy school. 

*  Bad teachers are granted tenure. 
As stated from the website, tenure is effectively a permanent job contract for a college professor or, in some cases, a primary or secondary school teacher. Tenure is granted to individuals who have proven their teaching skills, conducted meaningful research, published papers, and helped their educational facilities by participating in committees or creating policies. In most cases, a teacher must work between two and seven years before becoming eligible to receive tenure. A professional with teacher tenure cannot lose his or her job without just cause, such as obvious incompetence or severe misconduct. Tenured teachers are granted the freedom to pursue research and interests of any sort, even if they are unpopular or not in line with the opinions of authorities. 

Tenure in theory is a good thing in theory, but tenure has infiltrated our elementary/junior high/high schools where bad teachers can literally sit back and read the newspaper, because they are guaranteed a job for life, regardless of performance!

*  Even if a teacher with tenure is under scrutinity they could still collect full benefits/salary by attending a facility where they chill for 8 hours a day, doing nothing.  Most of them playing cards, reading books, or even taking naps.  This facility could hold these teachers who have been charged with horrible things, such as molestation and incompetence in the classroom, for up to 3 years before their cases are even seen before a judge.

*  One Washington DC Superintendent tried to set up a program that would change tenure and would give teachers who performed well in the classroom a pay increase.  This idea was quickly shot down and by the teacher union.  Many people believe the decision came down to politics.  It seems every US President in recent memory has stated that one of their biggest concerns is our education.  Well, how is this suppose to change when our school systems are still running on the same principals/programs of the 1950’s when people either became a laborer or even fewer yet, became a professional.  Our school systems do not take into consideration the advances in technology and the needs of our country in 10, 20, or even 30 years down the road.  Are school systems are somewhat archaic. 

* Schools even have bad teachers that principals trade between themselves in hopes of getting a better bad teacher from the bad teacher, they are that desperate.

* There are schools out there that just let the kids float on by to the next grade level.  There is one school in particular here in LA County that is known for graduating 25% of its students of the 10’s of thousands of students whom have passed through the doors over the past 40 decades.  Most of the kids who drop out in the 10th and 11th grade are at the reading level of a 3rd or 4th grader.

*  It should not surprise you that in these neighborhoods ALL over the country where these students drop out at an early age that there is a higher rate of violence and therefore more people in jail?  Did you also know that the amount it cost to keep someone in jail for four years is more than sending a child to a good private school for your years?  In jail you have to feed, cloth, provide entertainment and health benefits, as well as security. 

SHOCKING, I know! What can we do? I don’t really have an answer, but I can say that I thank my family and amazingly wonderful teachers I was lucky enough to have in public school over the years for making me study me reading, writing, and asthmatic.  You never know how one teacher can change the direction of a persons life.  I have a teacher like that, her name is Mrs. Shirley Rowles, my 3rd and 4th grade teacher.  She was ahead of her time and had results in her classroom like no other!  I still talk to Mrs. Rowles and think of her often.  I only hope that kids these days can have the same experience I had. 

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