Mar 6, 2011

The Problem with Schools Today

Image Credit: Flickr/alyssalaurel

The main problems for students in schools today don't involve teacher tenure systems or collective bargaining rights. The biggest issues don't have anything to do with standardized test scores, uneasy feelings about the adoption of a core curriculum or standards-based assessments. Those problems do exist, but they are not student problems. They are teacher problems and those teacher problems are all we hear about in the news anymore. Whatever happened to the importance of the kids?

Deep in the trenches of a high school classroom, I can tell you that these are the problems students  have:
  • poverty, and a growing number of unemployed or under-employed parents who can't provide them with basic needs or pay for driver's education classes
  • addiction (to alcohol, drugs, and/or video games)
  • personal conflicts with other students based on statements made in cyberspace (via text, Facebook or cellular conversations)
  • lack of opportunities for part-time jobs
  • lack of resources that allow them to even consider post-secondary education/training as a possibility
  • the desire to escape from pressure (familial, school, societal) by participating in illegal and/or unhealthy activities (parties, unprotected sex)
HEY...MEDIA...CAN WE GET SOME ATTENTION TO THESE PROBLEMS IN EDUCATION??? I truly wish that a group as large the group of public employees in Wisconsin would take a stand for our students. Let's picket for an end to poverty and addiction! I will happily give up the annual increase I receive from collective bargaining if someone can tell me how to help my students recover from addiction or find a way to help them feed themselves on a daily basis.


  1. Wow, that is some serious ranting for a Sunday. I do agree with you that if we are able to help students overcome their problems outside of school, that it will help us in the classroom with their school problems.

  2. RObrett93, Sunday is the only day I have to rant :)
    The rest of the week is spent on teaching, learning, and parenting.

    I don't know that we can fix these outside of school problems unless more people start acknowledging that they exist. Thanks for reading, commenting and acknowledging!

  3. I think that a lot of people acknowledge that there are problems, but they are either unsure of what to do or how to do it. Some want the government to solve the problem, so they do nothing others try but the efforts of a few cannot solve the problems of so many. My political views are different from many other teachers as I think the mistakes of the government (past and present) are a major reason for these societal problems. We need to make families a priority at all income levels. These kids need the support of at least 2 parents. Then we need to spend money in a way that really makes a difference. Many of the ideas of Robert Barr and William Parrett would be great if implemented on a large scale.

  4. Have you seen this chart yet? It shows that we used to spend money in a different way. But I honestly don't remember a time when our government spent money in a way that truly helps kids and families.


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