Thursday, October 25, 2007

What Do We Have Left?

I have been observing the educational process over the last couple of decades. I have seen family members and friends as well as my own children going to and from school. Yet, I don’t see education occurring.

Basic fundamental things are missing. Math, language, sentence structure, reasoning, science, finance and so much more, are severely lacking. Even basic organizational skills have eluded many who have graduated from the process.

Then consider creativity and innovation, many of our young have nursed on the television for all their creative sources. Gone are the dreamers and expanders of our future. Are there any original ideas left?

I can remember reading a book and with the help of the author being able to fully create the world and characters in my head. Feeling so at ease with what I have imagined that it was if I knew them as well as any member of my household. I could draw pictures of them as if they were alive standing before me. I even remember once having an argument with a friend who had read the same book and had the nerve to create an entirely different group and world.

Now, you hand a kid a book and they will ask if there is a movie on it. They have no interest in the type written word. If magnifies even more when you hear some of our young attempt to read out loud. They are so detached and show little understanding of the words as they fall slowly from their lips.

What about math? Have you seen the look of terror on the face of a person who hit the cash drawer button without having the machine tell them the change? Have you seen a person wave the same thing across the scanner ten times hoping the machine would know what it was? I can’t imagine the horror of a black out and having to calculate the sale by hand.

How many people do think actually can keep a check register? I don’t mean writing stuff down (That is a challenge in itself.) but actually doing the addition and subtraction line by line. Then, there is tipping, I know common courtesy is almost dead, so maybe this isn’t that important, but can they do 10 15 or 20 percent in their heads? I keep seeing people break out calculators and little reference cards.

What has happened to our educational system and to our people? Even American History sounds funny when my kids bring home assignments. I find myself in teaching mode, adding excitement and perspective. My boy wishes I would come teach the class. I have great passion for our nation and its humble beginnings. It gives me great pain to see and hear what is passed as American education.

They keep telling me that we are advancing but I am warning you that the foundation has gotten a lot of cracks and gaping holes. We need to take steps to patch and improve or collapse is inevitable. We need to stop moving them along because it would look bad. The job market is really going to suffer and they are going to be incapable of taking the daily rejection if they don't know how to deal with it when it is simple and fixable. We are failing to educate our children now but what is worse we are failing to prepare the next generation for the common difficulties of life that keep this nation and all others alive.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said and so sad. I am particularly reminded of that this week, since my son is averaging B level, and has honor level skills and aptitude, yet getting lower grades simply due to incomplete assignments and not listening and following through. It's troubling to deal with these cracks and holes and try to make the foundation more solid under us.

12:37 AM, October 26, 2007  
Anonymous JMB said...

It seems to me that this lack of commitment for those basic fundamentals has become as much a protection for our teachers as it has become an immunity right for our children.

1:21 AM, October 26, 2007  

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