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How can we fix our education system?

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I've thought about this question a lot.  After reading the CNN article about the possibility of longer school years, it got me thinking about it again.

The only solution I can come up with is (drum roll please) MONEY!  Yup, money.  The root of all evil.  (if you believe some) 

Even if the solution is longer school years, that initiative will still need money to keep the schools open.  Where will this money come from?  Well, it just so happens that my love for education and our children's future goes hand-in-hand with my distaste for warring with other countries.  A report shows that we've spent close to 700 billion dollars on the war in Iraq.  

If you want to see how that number affects you, go to this site Cost of War and enter in the information about your community.  Here are my results:

Taxpayers in Brevard County, Florida will pay $1.1 billion for total Iraq war spending approved to date. For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided:
390,925 People with Health Care for One Year OR
779,198 Homes with Renewable Electricity for One Year OR
25,522 Public Safety Officers for One year OR
17,699 Music and Arts Teachers for One Year OR
345,587 Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR
8,171 Affordable Housing Units OR
612,358 Children with Health Care for One Year OR
151,174 Head Start Places for Children for One Year OR
18,891 Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR
13,464 Port Container Inspectors for One year

  At a time when Florida is cutting school funding, teachers and extracurricular activities, the numbers above make me angry.

Let's imagine with this new administration, the war gets wrapped up or the world community finally steps up and pitches in their share of help so that the US does not support the entire financial burden of helping Iraq get back on its feet.  For now, we will not talk about the ginormous deficit. 

What do I expect to happen if we poured money into our education system?  First off, teachers need better pay.  If teaching were a high paying job, it would attract more people, which in turn means teaching positions will become competitive.  Schools will have choices and can choose the best teacher suited for their needs.  When jobs are competitive and higher paying, people better themselves to get the job.  We'll see teachers working harder and becoming more creative in their teaching methods.  And let's all admit, when you're getting paid a decent salary, working, in any field, is more enjoyable.  We're putting our children's minds and futures in their hands, they deserve the respect and compensation.

With more funding, schools can keep and even expand critical subjects like physical education, art and music.  The more diverse the education, the better chance a student will find something that lights a passion in them. 

After school activities have always won praise for keeping kids off the streets.  But it's also offering more options to students and parents.  Clubs can be a wonderful place to discover more about a topic of interest and make friends.  Students who participate in band and sports have shown to do better in academics.

Obviously, better lab equipment and technology cost more money.  Teaching supply funds are often not enough and teachers end up buying supplies out-of-pocket.

Even longer school years looks like a good idea to me.  Then teachers have the time they need to ensure students understand the subject.  Field trips and days of exploration can be planned with out sacrificing lesson plans.

I dream of a school for my son where the teachers are happy and motivated to be there.  Where the class sizes are small and the teachers know my son personally, know what sports he plays and maybe even what music he listens to.  I dream of a school where he can play an instrument and compete in sports.  Where learning about the animal kingdom is never taught with out a visit to the zoo.  Or teaching about the government means a trip to the capitol and some Q&A with a senator.

It's easy to say throw money at the problem.  We've been throwing money at problems for as long as there's been taxpayer money to throw.  I believe we are investing in the wrong areas.  Funding our schools will have some short term rewards such as happier, healthier kids, and perhaps less stressed out parents.  But our biggest reward will be 10 years from now.  If we're patient and persistent, there will be less drop outs.  There will be more teens aspiring to do things they believe are within their reach.  The American workforce will be well-rounded and better educated.  The adults of the future will have the knowledge they need to make better choices than we have in the past.  They will no longer take our planet earth for granted.  They will understand that helping the human community is just as important as advancing themselves.  And most importantly, they will know that the children are our future and we must invest in them.

I'm not suggesting we stop funding our military and divert all of that money to schools.  But there is something wrong with our mentality if the funding for national defence is 10 times the amount we spend on education.  Both are important to our future, but I would rather prepare my son to make the decisions that do not lead to war.  

by on Feb. 28, 2009 at 11:37 AM
Replies (41-48):
BooBooCat
by on Mar. 2, 2009 at 11:48 PM


Quoting forsythia_18:

 

Quoting BooBooCat:


Quoting forsythia_18:

 

Quoting BooBooCat:


Quoting forsythia_18:

I think we should adopt the education system that Germany uses. 

That would involve completely re-vamping the existing school system.  In Germany children attend the same school from 1st through 5th grade.  After that students who plan to attend college go to one school and those who choose to go into a trade go to a "trade" school. 

It's a good system.  But honestly, did you know what you wanted to do when you were 10?  (My information on the German school system came from a native German)

BooBooCat  

Mine too. 

Yes, but you offer no explanation of how the German school system works.  It is a wonderful school system.  However, I cannot imagine any American being willing to pay as much in taxes as the Germans do.  Nor are we willing to completely change our school system.  And as I further stated, who knows what they want to do for the rest of their life at the "grand old" age of 10.

BooBooCat

 

 

Well, I like how you do specialized training when you get into High School based on what you are naturally good at (math, english, ect).  THAT'S what makes them and other countries like that breed the best and the brightest in certain fields.  In America, any natural aptitude in a particular subject is suppressed because we have to be "well-rounded".  

That's all I meant by it.  It's not like it's SET IN STONE what you're going to do when you get older but it makes you the best at what you're naturally good at.

 

There are two different levels of secondary education in Germany.  If someone goes to trade school they only attend until 10th grade.  If at some point they change their mind and want a career that requires college they are out of luck.  In order to attend college you have to go to a college prep high school, where they attend one more year than our students do- 13 years instead of 12.  From what I was told it has nothing to do with "natural ability" but with what the student decides.  And as far as being the best, the Germans are sending their college students to the United States to learn business management.  I attended college with German students who had come to the United States because our business colleges are better than theirs.  No arguement their elementary schools are great, but they are willing to put a lot of money into education.  When you say "increase your taxes" to Americans we grab our wallets and close them up tight.  Of course, that's because the politicians who run our schools are not using the money very wisely.  there is no easy way to fix our education system.  It would involve completely changing an entrenched system.

BooBooCat   

Junebug926
by Bronze Member on Mar. 3, 2009 at 8:01 AM

oooh, no thanks! That sounds terrible!

Quoting BooBooCat:


Quoting forsythia_18:


Quoting BooBooCat:


Quoting forsythia_18:


Quoting BooBooCat:


Quoting forsythia_18:

I think we should adopt the education system that Germany uses. 

That would involve completely re-vamping the existing school system.  In Germany children attend the same school from 1st through 5th grade.  After that students who plan to attend college go to one school and those who choose to go into a trade go to a "trade" school. 

It's a good system.  But honestly, did you know what you wanted to do when you were 10?  (My information on the German school system came from a native German)

BooBooCat  

Mine too. 

Yes, but you offer no explanation of how the German school system works.  It is a wonderful school system.  However, I cannot imagine any American being willing to pay as much in taxes as the Germans do.  Nor are we willing to completely change our school system.  And as I further stated, who knows what they want to do for the rest of their life at the "grand old" age of 10.

BooBooCat



Well, I like how you do specialized training when you get into High School based on what you are naturally good at (math, english, ect).  THAT'S what makes them and other countries like that breed the best and the brightest in certain fields.  In America, any natural aptitude in a particular subject is suppressed because we have to be "well-rounded".  

That's all I meant by it.  It's not like it's SET IN STONE what you're going to do when you get older but it makes you the best at what you're naturally good at.


There are two different levels of secondary education in Germany.  If someone goes to trade school they only attend until 10th grade.  If at some point they change their mind and want a career that requires college they are out of luck.  In order to attend college you have to go to a college prep high school, where they attend one more year than our students do- 13 years instead of 12.  From what I was told it has nothing to do with "natural ability" but with what the student decides.  And as far as being the best, the Germans are sending their college students to the United States to learn business management.  I attended college with German students who had come to the United States because our business colleges are better than theirs.  No arguement their elementary schools are great, but they are willing to put a lot of money into education.  When you say "increase your taxes" to Americans we grab our wallets and close them up tight.  Of course, that's because the politicians who run our schools are not using the money very wisely.  there is no easy way to fix our education system.  It would involve completely changing an entrenched system.

BooBooCat   


moneysaver6
by Gold Member on Mar. 3, 2009 at 10:52 AM

It's FANTASTIC (truly) that your child is in an "excellent" public school.  However, that would be the exception rather than the rule.

The rest of us who don't have an excellent school system and cannot move to an area that has one should not be punished for the government's inability to provide a good, quality education for our children.

We should have the option to go elsewhere and should not have to continue to pay to support a service that we have rejected BECAUSE of it's lack of quality.

Perhaps if that were an option, the the government &/or schools would be FORCED to look at quality EDUCATIONAL...not MORAL changes that will actually help children succeed in their EDUCATION.

Amy

Quoting anxiousschk:

I also do not believe in tax breaks for private school or home schooling.  You make the choice to do that, your choice does not get to negatively impact other students.  If that was the case then any person without a child attending school would be able to apply for those same tax breaks, and then where would the school system be?  It would be as if public school WAS private school. 


ellyc19111
by Bronze Member on Mar. 3, 2009 at 9:09 PM

Maybe kids in the public school system would get a better education if they conducted themselves like students and were eager to learn. I saw a documentary of a classroom with a hidden camera and the teacher was just sitting at her desk doing nothing because the class was totally disrupted by certain students who were roaming around, bullying other kids, threatening the teacher, playing music, dancing and putting on make-up. HOW can a teacher teach under these circumstances? She's obviously afraid for her life. The problem is these kids from a certain element who have no home upbringing, 0 disipline and total disrespect for any older person. Is this then the teacher's or the school's fault? And should these same kids be kicked out I guarantee you THEN the parents will show up and start yelling. And this was only 7th grade. So whose fault is it?

hsteele
by on Mar. 3, 2009 at 11:13 PM

Maybe if enough parents pull their kids out of public schools to homeschool or send them to private schools, someone would get the idea and start working on education reform.

mommy2isabella
by on Mar. 3, 2009 at 11:45 PM

As someone who attended private school her entire life, I support it. I dont have any issues with homeschooling, it's just not something I think I could ever do. With that being said, I do not support year round school or longer school days. I think the state tests are ridiculous. Kids should be studying for school and SATs. I also think homework and projects for young children are ridiculous as well. If teachers were paid more, then the education would be better. There would be more motivation for teachers to do well. IMO. 

in lovetoddler girlbaby boyHappily married to Erik 04.12 and proud mommy to Isabella Grace 11.01.06 and Camden Bjorn 09.18.08




 




 

Junebug926
by Bronze Member on Mar. 4, 2009 at 8:10 AM

I agree. After all, we've all heard Einstein's definition of insanity "doing the same thing over and over expecting and different results." That is exactly what public schools are doing by pushing for more/longer school days. They think the longer the kids are there the more they will learn. When are they going to wake up?!

Quoting mommy2isabella:

I do not support year round school or longer school days. I think the state tests are ridiculous. Kids should be studying for school and SATs. I also think homework and projects for young children are ridiculous as well.


Wyldbutterfly
by Bronze Member on Mar. 4, 2009 at 8:37 AM


Quoting ellyc19111:

Maybe kids in the public school system would get a better education if they conducted themselves like students and were eager to learn. I saw a documentary of a classroom with a hidden camera and the teacher was just sitting at her desk doing nothing because the class was totally disrupted by certain students who were roaming around, bullying other kids, threatening the teacher, playing music, dancing and putting on make-up. HOW can a teacher teach under these circumstances? She's obviously afraid for her life. The problem is these kids from a certain element who have no home upbringing, 0 disipline and total disrespect for any older person. Is this then the teacher's or the school's fault? And should these same kids be kicked out I guarantee you THEN the parents will show up and start yelling. And this was only 7th grade. So whose fault is it?

I agree with your for the most part. Education begins at home and that begins with respect,. However, the teacher you viewed sitting there doing nothing, was WRONG. She needed to GAIN CONTROL of that classroom. Send the kids who were not listening to the principals office or something. DO NOT just sit there. Eventually the kids would get it. That she or he does not play around.

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