Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Okay, let’s talk hypothetical, since, as Americans, we are totally against any kind of change, even though change is definitely what we need. I am referring to our American education system.

Statistics being touted show that, in very successful education systems in other countries,  students receive about 5000 more hours of education. That includes pre-school, right through high school.

We Americans, in the early days, needed the children at home from Spring planting through Fall harvest. Kids went to school during the off-farm season. That system resisted change, even after farm modernization, changes in education laws and the move to more city and urban population concentrations.

When then President Jimmy Carter asked school districts to shut down  during prime cold months during the 1970’s energy crisis, schools never got back on board with ever reopening after the energy crisis faded away.

Spring break became a holiday vacation, Summer remained the several month “break” students needed to recuperate (?).

Special holidays included a host of semi-special reasons for days off and,  of course, the kids needed two weeks off for the Christmas/New Years extravaganzas.

By the time Spring hatched, kids and teachers were eager to let loose and the days leading up to the end of the school year became anything but real learning.

As U.S. schools and students began to lag behind their counterparts around the world, fingers were pointed and a host of easy solutions were tagged.

It’s the teachers’ fault. They are overpaid, over unionized, and job security, tenor has usurped the children’s needs.

In reality, teachers are underpaid. In many countries a teaching position is elevated to the status of a true profession, with ongoing required courses. There is no need for tenure and over-powered unions.

Now for one of the icky parts no one wants to address. Sports and extra-curricular activities are unheard of elsewhere. If you want to play soccer, there are sports clubs, not affiliated with the schools. The same goes for other activities we feel are entitlements.

We have gotten to the point where  even fringe sports, b-level and intermural sports are a must, and have started what was once intermural sports as leagues with other schools. We have sports cannot field enough students, so we bus the kids to other schools.

We have classes that do not generate interest, so we bus and pay tuition to other school districts to fulfill the wants of the few. We have allowed special education to be the largest portion of school budget. We have replaced feet with busses for the convenience of parents.

We often sidestep offering occupational skills as an educational tool,  thinking everyone should attend college. By the way, did I mention that students in very successful countries compile as much as 5000 more hours of education by the time they graduate high school. In addition, the cost per student is less in other successful countries.

Change? We won’t change. We like things just as they are.