"Education is the only billion dollar industry that tolerates abject failure."
— Geoffrey Canada, American educator, social activist, and author
The Public Education List of Shame
If you have been educated in the U.S. Public School System, or have raised a child who is or has been, you can probably add to this list. It is astounding how many problems there are in our schools. If a private school faced this level of failure, people would not send their children there, and it would likely close in short order. Yet as taxpayers, we fund this system and often keep quiet about our reservations about the way our money is spent. The time has come to find a better way forward. The challenges the current generation of children will face demand it!
- So much time and so many school resources are used teaching students to take standardized tests that have little relevance on their future life. (source)
- The material that is taught one day is forgotten the next. (source)
- Important subjects and activities have fallen by the wayside to focus on a narrow curriculum. (source) Math, science, and literacy are all important, but so is history, geography, civics, and economics. (source) Even recess, an important aspect of a child's development (source), is often cut back and sometimes eliminated. (source)
- The quality of education varies greatly between school districts, giving economic and social advantages to some kids, while perpetuating poverty and low achievement in others. (source)
- Once a student gets to school, very little time is spent learning. (source)
- Kids are bored! We've grown up thinking that boredom in school is necessary, but it's not! This isn't to say that kids must be constantly stimulated or that they should never be bored, but boredom at school is so prevalent that it's one of the most common things that kids mention about their school experience. Boredom inhibits learning, while being engaged and excited about a subject creates the ideal conditions to learn new skills and retain information. (source)
- Large numbers of kids are bullied at school creating a hostile environment that can lead to increased rates of depression, suicide, and sexual harassment. (source)
- At 84%, the low graduation rate in the US (source) is a tragedy and an embarrassment. Some school districts only graduate 30-40% of their students (source). Supporting students where their passions lie, making school engaging, fun, and appropriately challenging, will address this problem. We should accept nothing less than a 99-100% graduation rate.
- Schools often cram too many students into classrooms. This is often blamed on budget restraints, but it is also the result of an outdated education model that relies on one person teaching a classroom full of kids with different needs and mastery levels. (source)
- Public schools reinforce the myth that everyone needs a four year degree. This is based on yet another myth: that vocational and technical jobs are inferior or pay less. They don't! (source) Four year college degrees are also notoriously expensive, not to mention debt-inducing. College degrees are great for some people but not for everyone, and schools should embrace the many paths to gainful and meaningful employment.
- If public school were to be invented today, it would reflect and compliment the work schedules of parents. (source) It's not hard to organize the school day in a way that parents don't need to scramble for before and after school child care. In fact, parents are left out of the equation as a matter of course. That's just plain stupid.
- Many skills that are required to live a well-adjusted, happy, and successful life are not taught in schools. Students graduate without knowing how to prepare a healthy meal, change a flat tire, do their taxes, unclog a sink, save and invest money, or even tie a basic knot. (source)
Parents, teachers, taxpayers, and especially children all deserve better!
"Our 'leaders' on both sides of the aisle continue to claim that our schools are failing and need to be reformed, while in reality our education is obsolete and needs reimagining."
― Tony Wagner
― Tony Wagner
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