February 9, 2017

Education Issues (S&T 2/9)

This was supposed to be a random confessions post today but ideas started popping into my head earlier this week and I figured I'd go on record. The too-long; didn't read version is: Just because you don't like what the current President is doing, don't think education is really an issue in this battle. It's been a problem for awhile and this is the first anyone is actually talking about it. 

I find it interesting that no one minded who the Secretary of Education was until a unpopular President handpicked someone for the job. Don't get me wrong: she is completely unqualified; the villain in the general overview of what our country is doing/could be doing with public education.
I haven't looked into her that much because, not only is it disheartening, it doesn't really matter. I know this is equivalent to sticking one's head in the sand, but who the Secretary of Education is isn't actually the point. The point is that our nation's educational system has been in a downward spiral for awhile.

I'm on the front lines. It's terrifying out here. Every state uses different measures of success. Every district uses different curriculum (because selling curriculum to schools is a business, plain and simple). And every school requires different criteria from its students. Plus, the current culture affects our educational system more than the label "Secretary of Education" ever could.

Truthfully, I don't fear DeVos. I don't like her, but I'm not afraid of what she will do (which will likely be nothing because I don't think she or the President really care about education).

I fear what will happen if the above-linked culture continues to run our schools. Things are already bad when it comes to testing, accountability on the schools' parts, etc. NO ONE takes poverty into account when it comes to ranking schools or rating teachers. Poverty is the root of the problem in our schools and until we solve poverty, schools will be in trouble. Poverty affects test scores, it affects how kids learn, and it affects what kind of money schools receive from the state. Each state has a different system for giving money to schools, so all states are NOT created equal. When I get students from out of state (in any state I've worked in, really), I never know where they're going to be. Parents often see the differences in schools right away.

Obama's administration actually did a lot of harm to the public school system, as teachers see it. The bar is not set high, and we're in trouble as a country. It's easy to blame any future implementation on an unqualified Secretary of Education, but things are already bad.

A former professor of mine posted this:

And for me to speak my peace/piece...For the record: 

  • I do not believe in charter schools. Many are for-profit. If a district opens a charter school, that school funnels money from the public schools and can use it for whatever they want. There is not an accountability system. Charter schools operate within the district, but don't have to follow the rules of the district when it comes to money and testing. Most public school districts already offer school choice: as in, you can pick any school in the district to attend.
  • I am a proponent of private education if you can afford to pay for it. I don't believe it's any better or worse than public schools. 
  • I am a product of public schools, have only ever taught in public schools, and I believe in the system. I do believe that, out of the four states I've taught in, Alaska has it the most together. District-specific, though, the one I worked for in Missouri impressed me the most. 

And, in the end, I'm glad I have the ability and confidence to homeschool any future children we may have. Because I totally would. That's how confident I am in general about the current educational landscape in America. DeVos has very little to do with that.

And if you're here for Stuff and Things....

Stuff, Things, etc.


  1. This is an interesting perspective and not necessarily one shared by teachers in general, from what I've seen. I do solidly agree with you that poverty is a HUGE component that needs to be addressed, factored in, and somehow accounted for in terms of all aspects of education. It has such a big impact!

  2. i'm also a product of the public school system and i honestly believe that it's the STUDENT who makes the difference. you can be in a crappy school with little resources but if you really want to learn and make something of yourself, YOU CAN. it will be harder, but not impossible. my husband taught in a low-income area and they were doing budget cuts all the live long day. many parents and student just went with it but there were some who strived to be better than what they were getting, constantly asked him for more info/resources/subjects etc...he heard that these students are now in medical school (residency) and are going places.

  3. I am so glad you shared some insight on this. I don't have kids yet, but we have nieces and a nephew in public school, and one in private and well there home life is not ideal and that always plays a factor. My personal opinion? I don't like her either, but I feel like with last year's election, the media has just spun so much of their agenda, and so many ignorant people just feel the need to share their own opinions ALL THE TIME without having any hard facts other than a byline they read, and nothing more, and it has spun so far out of control. So your hands-on perspective is just what I needed today to restore my faith in people (no pressure, haha).

  4. An interesting perspective for sure! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on it -- especially when you're in the field. I'm worried with DeVos as the Secretary of Education because she has no background for it. I can't understand how people can be given jobs who don't possess the proper credentials. I feel like that is scary. I wouldn't want to have a Doctor be my Doctor if he/she didn't have their MD, ya know?

    But like you, I am thankful in knowing that homeschooling is always an option. If things get worse, I can always teach my little one at home. That makes me happy!

  5. The sad part of all of it is that I doubt she will focus on those kids who are in poverty and struggling to get a good education. That is a huge issue that I hope is addressed.

  6. We are, for sure, in for an interesting time. I'm just worried about her having no background in it and some of her answers in her interview. But we will just have to wait and see!

  7. It's good to get different perspectives. I'm mostly upset that DeVos got the position without any experience whatsoever, because that's terrifying at that level of government. Other than that, yes, schools have been having trouble and it would be great if something could work to make them all a bit more equal. Poverty is also a really big issue, like you said. It needs to be addressed. Thanks for sharing!


  8. First, a big resounding, "Amen!"

    Honestly, I'm not completely thrilled with DeVos, but it's mostly the fact that I'm just fed up with the people in government (federal and state) making decisions about education when they know NOTHING about actually being an educator. It is also due to the fact that education has been in trouble for a long time so this isn't a new problem.

    You are completely right about the problem of poverty. As you obviously know, that's a huge issue at MV. I agree with the comment on this post from Kathy that the STUDENT can make the difference in poverty. However, I find that those types of students are rare when they come from a community that as a whole does not place value on education.

    One thing that I do think is better about private schools compared to public schools is that they aren't held to the standards of the public schools. Many private schools can ask students with behavior problems to leave or require a certain parental commitment to maintain good status within the school. I think that can lead to an overall better school environment.

    In the end, I'm also glad to know that if it came to it, I could teach my child at home, too....at least until he finishes 6th grade. haha

  9. I enjoyed reading your viewpoint and perspective because you are most definitely on the frontlines. Actually, I'm not sure "enjoyed" is the correct word because much of what you've shared is disheartening. I value education, especially primary school education. I believe it is so important to so much more than just the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. It shapes kids socially and emotionally as well.

  10. i agree with erin, interesting perspective though disheartening for sure. i am a product of public schools (okay, different country but still) and so is KC. poverty really does affect so much.


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