Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The problems with today's schools.

After 2 1/2 years of teaching, I am finally free of that nightmare. The school I was at had the worst administration I've ever come across, two men with Napoleon complexes frowning down their noses at you doing all their best to make you terrified of them so that they can feel like big men. Wish I could say they only did it to the teachers, but no, they did it to students too. Still do, far as I know. But it wasn't even just them that made me want to leave teaching. The institution itself is broken.

Schools and the education system itself no longer care about students. They no longer care about student growth and development. A school's goal is no longer to make their students ready for the real world but, rather, to ensure that they can test properly and that they all reach the same, median, mundane line. Sure, the kids who are slower or simply not academically inclined (yes,world, there are people out there who simply don't do well in the world of academics, they're usually the people who do really well with their hands, and while they can't tell you what calculus is or the theme behind Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, you sure as hell don't want anyone else working on your car) are challenged in school, because we force them to meet this "minimum standard," but the advanced kids, the ones who will be your surgeons and scientists, are bored to tears, listening to the teacher explain again and again, ensuring that EVERYONE understands.

The system is broken. There was no harm in having Basic, Regular, Advanced, and Honors courses in schools. There was no harm in putting kids who are NOT stupid, but simply not academically inclined in what, yes, my generation called the Boom Boom class. Are kids mean? Hell yes. Will kids always be mean? Yep. So why would you put kids who are not as fast as others in the same classroom and force them to try to live up to it or, my personal hatred here, give them a form that says "that's okay honey, you just do half of what the other kids are doing." What makes a kid feel worse? Being in a classroom of his academic peers where he can compete with kids just like him, or being the dumb kid in the regular class with a special form that lets him and every other kid in there know that he's not as smart as they are? Now, like I said, these kids aren't dumb, hell I saw several of them play that system. You know what happens when you give them that IEP and tell them they're "special"? They give up. They know they don't have to do anything and they know the less work they do, the more lenient that IEP will become over the years. We're creating leaches who will be content to live on welfare when they get older because hell, they've never had to work for anything. And it's not their fault. The system failed them. The system told them it was okay to give up because they aren't as good as everyone else.

Welcome to "everyone's a winner" education, where the truth is everyone sitting in that classroom just lost.