Education is one of the major building blocks to a successful life. I have been thinking a lot recently about the role that education plays in our lives and how it interacts with other competing interests such as sports and other social programs. I find myself frequently wondering why sports programs are so often put ahead of educational programs. I am angered by what I have seen firsthand in my own daughter’s school. When things got tight with the budget many programs such as art and music were the first to be cut with almost no thought as to what the consequences would be. Young teachers that the kids liked and that had new perspectives on teaching were laid off and the entrenched tenured teachers that had been in the school system for many years were kept on with no regard to teacher performance; at the same time the school sports program surged ahead with my town voting to build a brand new state-of-the-art track.
This is really troubling and I don’t think that it is something that is confined to my town only. If the American people and politicians truly want American kids to grow up to be world leaders in areas such as science and math we need to put education first. That is not to say that sports don’t play a very important role; I do believe that programs that challenge kids physically are very important, but it is a matter of finding a fine balance between too much and not enough with more emphasis on cutting edge education .
Bureaucrats at the top of our school system need to start being more creative and look for ways to do away with the tenure system. There are many young teachers out there that are unemployed or unable to get the jobs they want because of the way the system is set up. Many of these individuals are vibrant and enthusiastic about learning and teaching. They would bring a love of learning and a new perspective on learning down to our kid’s level where it is needed the most. Of course there is one major obstacle in the way...teachers unions.
I am also perturbed by the way that a select handful of students that are ahead of the majority of the class are made to wait for the rest to catch up instead of treating each kid as an individual and challenging them on their own level. Imagine the things that could be done if each child was infused with a love to learn without limits and challenged to always try to do better, making learning fun but not boring! This kind of philosophy starts at the very top. It is high time that Americans got a fresh start and bounced back. For our economy to flourish again we need to be leaders not followers. We are clearly not leading the world in manufacturing anymore. If jobs are to be created we need to take action now and ensure that our kids have a brighter future and keep the American Dream alive and well.