Online Education

How has education failed
our kids?

From my experience, our education system has failed students in two ways.

First, students are no longer the main focus of teachers.
 

  • Proving you can teach and reach multiple modes of learning is a requirement in your job. You don’t do this by actually performing the job. You do this by writing about performing the job.

    • Don't kid yourself.  The more onerous evaluation procedures for teachers are, such as setting collective goals, measuring data, setting teacher goals, and documenting how you are reaching those goals, the less time students get from their teacher.  If the only thing that matters is what a teacher can prove in writing that she did, the more she's going to write about what she did, even if she didn't do it the way she reports it.

  • Teachers must collaborate with their colleagues on almost everything:

    • curriculum, such as what and when; this takes up multiple planning periods in a week; if it is that important to have a consistent curriculum, why doesn’t the district provide one that is easy to follow, with weekly learning goals for all teachers? Why are teachers spending time putting this document into a usable format?

    • assessments, such as re-creating what their textbook or curriculum document has to offer, which takes a lot of time, often using up multiple planning periods, when you could have been doing things in your classroom for students, returning phone calls or emails from parents, or grading the quiz you just gave them so you can review it when they come back to class;

    • classroom management, so that each classroom will have an identical feel to it. To be fair, this is a good idea, but it should only need to be done once, not re-hashed weekly or monthly.
       

Second, students suffer from the ramifications of a student-centered environment that requires nothing of them:
 

  • Engagement in learning is not the student’s responsibility; it is the teacher’s. She must implement best practices that ensure students will be engaged, and therefore, will learn.
     

    • Principals and other education elites are the only ones who do not see the fallacy in this way of thinking. There is no guarantee that any recipient of a presentation will be engaged by it. The more it matters to the student, the more he is likely to want the material, which brings us to the next point:

    • Discipline measures have taken a back seat to CYA practices in education. Principals are consumed with not looking bad on district reports of student behaviors. If a student causes trouble in class, it becomes a matter of he said/she said and a lot of investigation must take place. Then restorative justice (a huge euphemism) will likely take place, which means the student is not held accountable for his choice in a way that ensures he will make better choices in the future. You know what would help with the he said/she said dilemma? Cameras in the classroom. Then principals can see exactly what a student did and how the teacher responded. If he then wants to go through restorative justice, so be it. But there better be a real consequence if the in-class actions continue.
       

  • Testing outcomes are not the student’s responsibility; they are the teacher’s. She must compel the student to want to do well on testing day through her engagement process of teaching and proctoring the test.
     

    • Again, the education elites appear to be the only ones not to see the disconnect here. Why would students earnestly try on a very hard test that means nothing to them? They know it means nothing. To put it into perspective for you, try to imagine being asked to take a test like this without the assurance that it would mean advancement in your job or more money in your paycheck. Why would you do that? No one would take an onerous test just so the higher ups could tell whether their training is making a difference. In fact, some employees might purposely fail the test just for kicks. Others would go through the motions, but not really try because they have a headache or they’re thinking about the fight with their spouse this morning, or they’re making a shopping list on their scratch paper.
       

  • When you implement a learning or testing system that requires nothing from the participants you are wasting your time. There need to be ramifications for students that are made clear to them. For instance:
     

    • The outcome of your standardized testing will help determine what classes you are put into next year. If you are having a bad day or don’t feel at your best, let us know so we can schedule the test later.

    • The outcome of your learning this year, e.g. your report card, will also help determine your class placement next year. So it would behoove you to take learning seriously.

    • The outcome of your behavior choices will also affect your placement next year. If you feel that you need counseling or a different teacher, please let us know. This is important to your education.
       

The onus for education needs to be equally placed on students, teachers, and guardians. Right now, no one wins because that is not the case.
 

This is how the education system fails students.