Who’s To Blame?
Another interesting point about teaching is that there are many people in the country, and I’m sure your own district, who believe the individual teachers are somehow responsible for the plight of today’s schools and the less than stellar ranking the US education system has compared to other developed countries. As if we as individuals have somehow manipulated the system to produce an inferior student and don’t seem to care. Last time I checked Congress hadn’t called asking for my input on Common Core Standards or national and state exams. Most of us have little if any control over the curriculum or content we are teaching.
The vast majority of teachers I have known and worked with are dedicated individuals who want the best education they can provide for students. I know of very few teachers who are not invested in the academic growth of their students.
A key problem seems to be the educational system still employed by the US PK-12 public and private education systems. This industrial education system was developed back in the early 1900’s when the country needed semi-skilled factory workers to support the manufacturing needs of a country entering a world war. Students were given a basic overview of many subject areas so they could function as middle class adults to fulfill the needs of an industrial society. This system worked well for its time.
The issue we now face is that manufacturing jobs have shrunk dramatically due to automation or cheap overseas labor and we should have moved into a technological and/or specialized system of education to meet 21st century needs.
It’s strange that at the national level there is a strong push for norm-based academic testing yet little or no support for assessment of each student’s individual intelligence, aptitude and interests. Do you realize that the average US student will take none of these assessments in their twelve years of public education? We are completing norm-based academic assessments when we as teachers have absolutely no hard data on the intelligence level of the students in our class. Does this make sense?
Maybe if we spent time learning about individual student’s IQ, skills and interests we could design differentiated instruction that would result in more competent adults to meet the needs of a new society.