Monday, March 7, 2011

the fight for education

So i have to thank the so many people that posted on my last blog. It's because of you that I am even writing this.

I had two different people recommend me to watch the documentary that recently came out Waiting for Superman. Usually if one person says it, I consider it. If more than one says i find it worth checking out. After watching its trailer - I knew I wanted to get a hold of it:

So I did...watched the whole thing and took notes, a part from the parts where I was actually crying and couldn't. This I can tell you, after watching it, my heart broke and my blood was boiling hot. I was more than upset. I was undone.

Here's the most impressive thing that came to my attention. Essentially, even if I decide to homeschool, the effects of the public school system still directly affect me - EVEN IF MY CHILDREN DO NOT GO. I was appalled to find out that because there is so much illiteracy in our American children that if we continue the way we are that we will actually have less people to fill bigger jobs to run our country.

Wowzers. oops America. oops Crystal.

here are just a few of the statistics the movie gave:
  1. the annual cost of prison for an inmate is more than double what is spent on an individual public school student. Eight years after Congress passed the No Child Left Behind act, with the goal of 100% proficiency in math and reading, most states hovered between 20 and 30% proficiency, and 70% of eighth graders could not read at grade level. By 2020, only an estimated 50 million Americans will be qualified to fill 123 million highly skilled, highly paid jobs. (There it is!) Among 30 developed countries, the United States ranks 25th in math and 21st in science.
  2. In America right now, a kid drops out of high school every 26 seconds.
  3. 68% of 4th grade public school students scored below a proficient reading level in 2009.
  4. 89% of Latino and 86% of African American middle and high school students read BELOW grade level.
  5. 80% of pre-school and after-school programs serving low-income communities have no-age appropriate books for their children.
  6. In the U.S. there are 32 million adults with low literacy skills.
  7. Nearly 1 in 7 American adults have trouble reading well enough to understand the side effects listed on a medication bottle.
  8. Having a QUALITY TEACHER through-out elementary school can wipe out the academic disadvantage of a low socioeconomic background!
And a lot of people think it's a money issue, but as David Guggenheim said it in his film, "we've doubled what we spend on each child. But double the money is worth it if we're producing better results. Unfortunately, we're not." And though many people will say the type of neighborhood you live in dictates the type of schooling your child will receive, researchers are now starting to believe the schools and education quality dictate our neighborhoods.

And because of tenure and the teacher's union, it's nearly impossible to fire a teacher on the bases of ineffectiveness. For example, 1 in 57 doctors in the U.S. lose their medical license, 1 in 97 lawyers lose their law license while 1 in 2,500 teachers lose their credentials. We fire doctors when their practice is ineffective, but not our teachers. It sounds hard, but if the union didn't exist we may just have more teachers wanting to do their jobs.

I realized that the issue of education is much larger than the question public school or home school? And because of the failing education system, more and more families are choosing the latter. But I had a revelation....this still doesn't solve any of our system's crisis. And if I don't become an advocate for quality education than I am not doing my part as an American citizen. Our country needs to raise up men and women who can intelligently lead this country.....and there are a whole lot of jobs to fill! If you would like to get involved as well check it out on how. And also, if you are choosing public schooling for your children, learn about the resources and schools that are local.

And if you're torn on homeschooling or public schooling I encourage you to check out some statistics and comparisons on the two.

Lastly I would like to conclude that this movie also made me more than aware that many parents do not have the privilege or choice to home-school. In fact, a majority of families cannot, whether its because they are a single parent, both parents working, the parent themselves is unable to read and write, or just lack of resources in their community....there are well-meaning parents who have no choice other than to put their child into the system. For those parents, I honor you by standing by quality education. i believe our children deserve it. Every child matters when we are measuring success!

And I am so thankful I have a choice - that I have the opportunity to choose what I think is best for my children. I think, ultimately, if parents are committing themselves to their child's education (in whatever way they can), they are doing a good thing:-)

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