Currently, there is much debate regarding the condition of the public education school system in the United States. The current administration in Washington is engaged in ongoing discussion, debate, argument etc. with Congress, education policymakers, teachers unions and teachers regarding the best approach to improve the educational achievement of children and improve their ability to compete on the global stage. Plenty of people, educators and non educators, have strong opinions on the best way to educate children in this country.
As a school social worker for the past 13 years, I have an opinion as well. It's true that the public education system in this country is broken, particularly in urban areas, where my experiences lie. It's true that the public education system in this country is grossly underfunded, as compared to school systems in other countries. It's true that education decisions by school boards that directly impact children are oftentimes made by individuals who RARELY enter a school to observe and talk to those who do the work everyday. It's true that too many children, particularly minority children, are "passed along" or "socially promoted" and not given the tools necessary to succeed in the classroom. It's true that most goals set forth in the NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND Act will not be met.
Now comes the good part. It's true that all kids WANT to learn. It's true that kids can learn. It's true that the majority of kids come to school everyday because they value the learning process. It's true that students in urban school districts are achieving great strides in the classroom, surpassing expectations on state assessments. It's true that students respond positively to teachers and instruction if given the respect and dedication of the teacher. It's true that kids have high expectations of teachers, just as teachers have high expectations of kids. It's true that the American public educational system can be fair for all students, IF politics are set aside, school boards are elected and not appointed and make decisions that are truly based on the best educational interests of the child, appropriate funding is allocated toward school improvements from facilities to staffing and all parents are engaged in the learning process of their children.
There is much to be said regarding this sometimes heated debate. It sometimes seems never ending. I welcome dialogue on this extremely important subject matter. However, no matter the ultimate outcome, kids will still show up to school, wanting to learn and adults will still show up to school, wanting to educate. That is always good news.