The most recent national study shows an education system that hasn’t improved in spite of high-level government attention and vastly increased funding. The only bright spot is the performance of charter schools. There is a message there. Increased funding and government hands-on programs and the imposition of national goals do not result in improved student performance.
Is it the teachers’ fault? I don’t think so. Teacher ranks are not filled with stupid cast-offs who just can’t do anything but teach. Anyone who has stood in front of a class knows teaching is hard work that takes constant dedication and an ability to identify with student needs each and every day. Would more pay and benefits attract better teachers? Again, I think not. American students are quite capable of excelling in any international ranking system. Let’s rule out the problems of teachers who can’t teach and students who can’t learn.
I have heard people blame the Teacher’s Union. Why is that? I don’t remember the Teacher’s Union claiming they would improve student national scores. Like all unions, their concern was and is with the members of their union. They have improved teacher pay, working conditions, and benefits. Who does the Teacher’s Union negotiate with? No one owns our educational system. Therefore, they do not have to bargain with owners as do the steel or auto worker unions with the owners of their industry. Like all public service unions, they do not negotiate with people who have financial skin in the game. That is a problem. But it is not central to the failure of our public education system in America.
Why do charter schools have a better record of educating our children? Are the teachers better? Do charter schools have more resources, better school building, teaching materials? Better pay and benefits for teachers? Again, the answer is no!
We, the parents of the children, are the problem. We have allowed the centralization virus to run rampant in America’s educational system. The reason, I believe, charter schools have better records is because they do not have so many regulations that govern how teachers teach in our public schools. Charter school teachers have far more flexibility in designing teaching programs that motivate students to learn. Charter schools can promote teachers based on merit, not longevity. They can also fire teachers who are not meeting their local standards.
Whether on a local, county, state, or national level, we have allowed the centralization process in our public schools to grow to the point it is unmanageable. More power must be given to local school systems, especially to the teachers. Let the teachers teach.