Education Reform Calls When Schools Fail to Educate The Whole Child
The recent school shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, 2018 happened in my back yard, less than a hundred miles away. But it doesn’t surprise me; it’s not a rude awakening. I pretty much expected something like that to happen any time anywhere. Copy-catters are probably on the go right now buying assault weapons and grenades, after all, the law says they can; it’s the American way. ‘Shoot then ask’ and ‘better safe than sorry’ are just two of the axioms of the American culture’s building blocks acquired during Homesteaders days. Back then, there weren’t any long range rifles, grenades or semi-automatics, no video games to blame. It was survival tactics. But today, 21st Century mass shootings in schools don’t avail us much credit on social order but are telling us another story. A story of neglect and the commercialization of public education.
Today, when education has been mandatory since the 70s decade and you can’t even get your driver’s license in many States if you’re under 18 and not enrolled in school, we have no choice but to look at the role schools play in the adaptation of individuals to society. Why are American schools failing to produce socially well-rounded individuals? This is not an isolated case. It’s the product of the education system. News outlets are raging right now about the measures that should be and need to be taken to avoid such incidents. The media will be disaster happy for days on end now interviewing survivors to get their story and school superintendency officials will be on call 24/7. But NO ONE will have the courage, the compassion, or the vision to address the REAL problems schools face today.
First of all, high schools with over 3 thousand students are an aberration of lofty and equitable education goals. In order to cut costs, the education system houses (doesn’t educate but holds) larger and larger numbers of students in one huge anonymous place called a high school, middle schools are next in line. Elementary schools for the most part remain small and have a tighter grasp on students’ identity which is lost to anonymity at grade 6. Ask any of the surviving students at Marjorie’s high school who she was and what her contributions to society were; you will find that less than 1 percent can tell you. In these large houses students are forced to act, think, speak, dress, and perform according to a set pattern dictated by mass media in order to be popular, cool and accepted by the vast majority of hypnotized teens consuming the latest gadget. On the other hand, the school’s walls engulf the neophytes every morning submitting them first to a free plastic breakfasts they don’t eat, and expects them to follow strict rules of conduct and produce high standards of performance on tests neither they nor their teachers have any power over for the remainder of the anonymous day.
During their day, students don’t connect with subject matter, they can’t, the bell rings every 50 minutes or so and they’re up and off their feet running through the nearest door delivering their half written teen coded text to another anonymous already in the hallway slam-dunking one another or yelling at the top of their lungs for no one to hear. School monitors stand by and cameras roll. Inside bathrooms, you don’t wan to go. Pretty soon, between one text and another, one talking-talking–non-stop-talking anonymous teacher and another, lunch time arrives and they sit to chit chat the latest gossip while all the while clicking on whatever grunge comes up from the cosmos of digital cool marketing, sexual content and crime laughing on the Web. Then, it’s jut another hour or so where they’ll doze off their pre-packaged pizza or rumbling stomach and peer through the haze at the surreal situation they’re in, disconnected, anonymous, unaware, another day will pass and another until finally they either make it or not. Then what?
If superintendents and the departments of education in every state really wanted to educate each student, the first thing they NEED to do is talk to teachers. TEACHERS know what the ailments are and have ideas of their own on how to solve the problems. Listen to their needs, meet their needs, educate them for free, pay them competitive professional salaries, reduce the number of students that a school should responsibly hold, and stop putting standardized assessments with little real-life applications at the forefront of education. Making those who can’t achieve the standard feel inferior and stressed over the outcome of a test is a murderous attempt against individuality. Talented students come in all kinds of intelligences. Don’t you know that the first type of intelligence you must access before learning is that of emotional well-being? GOOGLE GOLDMAN IF YOU DON’T.
Double the number of teachers employed, give the meaning of small group teaching and learning validity. Stop abusing children and teachers in the public education system. Just this year I took an early retirement because I WILL NOT submit myself to the abuse and INCOMPETENCE of school districts. I can tell you horror stories that will have you bashing school principals and district offices to the polls for reform. REFORM the education system to be a more compassionate, whole-child, less commercialized one, spend the money in your future, the child, instead of 30 million dollar software programs.
There have been 18 school shootings since January 1, 2018. What are we waiting for? More monitors are not going to fill the gap between the schools agenda and the social depravation of society in an anonymous society.
To Be Continued…