I never was much to believe in the notion that the education system was broken. The education system in our country has worked for some, even many; however, there is still a population the education system has failed. I have seen this firsthand as an educator. Some students who could not catch a break when it came to their education. Their education, like many other factors in their life, failed them. I have also seen, as an educator, students who thrive and do well in school. I would argue that I was one of those students.
The system worked for me.
I attended decent schools, earned good grades, and participated in extracurricular activities. I eventually graduated from high school with the skills to succeed in college. I graduated from college with a degree that allowed me to obtain a career and have since obtained two master’s degrees, and I am a year away from a doctorate. My education journey should be the journey of every child that attends school. My story is not one of a broken system. My story is one of the systems that work. The system does not work because I and those like me are the exceptions. Many students did not get these opportunities because their zip code was wrong. They were born during a different era or had parents who could not fill in the gaps the education system lacked. We have put too much emphasis on the education system instead of investing in the people.
The one thing from my story that I did not mention was that along my journey, I had educators who stood in the gap and helped me along the way. That is another thing not all students have during their educational career.
We need to shift our focus from the educators because they are the ones who try not to fail our students. The fate of the children who attend school is not in the hands of the educators who stand in front of them day in and day out. It is in the hands of politicians, think tanks, and special interest groups who haven’t spent much time in the classroom since they were students. Yes, many of those individuals were former teachers and administrators; however, that number is small. The jobs of those groups are to give the educators all the necessary tools for their jobs, the authority and freedom to make decisions that are best for students, hold them accountable for those decisions, and get out of the way. The issues arise when those individuals make decisions that directly impact the school, teachers, and students.
Our education system is a “one size fits all” model where you have students who are the haves (the ones who succeed) and the have-nots (the ones who fail).
People do not want to get into the education field because they see how educators are treated. They see how educators do not have control over their profession. Who wants to join a profession where those who do the most work get criticized more than being praised? The only time teachers are praised universally by the masses is a week in May. Educators get a bad rap from politicians, think tanks, and special interest groups for the students’ failures. It is incredible how those individuals determine the bar of excellence and hold no responsibility for the outcomes. When their bills or legislations fail to receive the outcomes, the blame falls on the educators. Many of the best education systems have something in common that we lack right now. They put educators in charge of the school and the education of children.
We all believe that the failure of students is not an option. We know that if, as a country, we will succeed in the future, our schools must be agents of success. Employers worldwide are looking for those with the skills that will translate into the future. We must allow our educators to have control. The system has been in the driver’s seat for years; let’s see what happens if we give our educators the keys.