The public school system is a colossal failure and our leaders have no clue how to fix it. Our public schools need to be scrapped all together and a new system needs to be put in place if we really want to see any significant improvement. Instead, the wheel keeps getting reinvented while politicians try to find another use for our schools. Today, our public schools have become nothing more than publicly funded centers for raising children.
As long as we choose to remain a society in which married couples have to work 40 hour weeks just to get by in life, our schools will be used to feed, clothe, supervise, and raise our nation’s children. The world is not like it was fifty years ago when kids could safely walk to and from school on their own and at the end of the day know a parent, almost always the mother, would be home waiting to talk to them about their day. Now, instead of five channels on the television or a transistor radio for entertainment, kids have unlimited opportunities to be exposed to pornography, violent video games, and useless reality television programs when they arrive to their empty houses. It’s partly why before and after school programs are federally funded so we can limit the mind pollutants we have made so readily available to everyone.
Another problem is we have too many of the wrong people having too many children. Unwed mothers, often mere teenagers who lack a basic education or moral foundation, are bringing too many children into this world and are all too often unequipped to raise them. Their absentee fathers who ignore their parental responsibilities compound matters and by the time their kid enters kindergarten, he has been exposed to more social ills than any human should ever have to face. This is a primary reason why you see the push for mandatory preschool programs to be monitored by our public schools. It’s okay for anyone to have a baby because the state has decided to raise our kids for us. The problem is, how many government programs are well run and managed? What makes us think the government will raise our children any better than they manage their budget?
By the time these children reach public school, they are not only lacking developmentally, their social skills, impulsiveness, and anger pretty much guarantee they will never succeed in school. Teaching them is not as important as managing and monitoring their behavior with the hope they get through the system without being incarcerated as a youth.
Our public schools can not be fixed until we repair the growing ills of a society caught up in the over consumption of disposable products that saturate our brains with endless advertising designed to brainwash us into thinking happiness comes from owning stuff and not from the satisfaction of doing without in order to raise the people we bring into this world.
Grades mean nothing to kids who equate love with how many electronic devices their parents have provided for them because they are never around for them. Life has become a negotiation to a generation of students used to asking, “What do I get if I do this?” rather than being raised to say, “I appreciate all the help you have given me.”
So the next time you hear a politician tell you how they support education reform, ask him how he intends to do it. If it is within the current framework, one run and controlled by the federal government, then all it will do is continue to enable a screwed up society. Real education reform will not happen in this country until there is real social reform. You can’t have one without the other.
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.