Thursday, November 7, 2013

It's Broken

I hope I don't get caught posting this by anyone I work with in Texas but the system is in dire straits.   Visiting schools this week in the Texas valley has really opened my eyes.  As you know, I teach a one day course to prepare students for the university entrance exam and have been teaching in Texas high schools and now visiting the districts to promote the course.  Sure, it is a business but education became a business a long time ago.

Huge facilities are being built at multi-million dollar prices providing students with stadiums, personal training gyms, indoor swim facilities, huge cafeterias that no longer supply healthy food but allow concessions from all the big name fast food restaurants to open a venue in the "food court" of high schools.  This should be shocking but most people think it is really "que moderno", wow, super fancy, we are really going somewhere.

Yet in all of this, where are the students going in terms of their education?  Average SAT scores in the Texas valley hover around 1195 when the national average is 1500 out of 1400 points which isn't saying much for modern day education.  

More programs offering financial help to families, students and institutions continue to open up.  There are more programs for disadvantages kids than any other programs available.  They provide tutoring, free lunch programs, free transportation, free clothing, the list goes on.  How has it helped the disadvantaged children?  It has only brought them down to a lower rung, increased obesity, and an overall malaise for learning.

There are programs that fall under the category of early college.  Fantastic programs but the number of students is relatively small compared to the overall number of students in any district.  Good thing they are grooming these young people who really do have a desire to learn but what is happening to the rest of the students?  The average ACT score is still below the national average.   Forty million Americans today do not have a high school diploma.  

In addition, the average high school GPA is only 2.9, that means that 50% are under that number.  I guess my point of all this is that you can throw all the money you want at education but that doesn't make a student work harder or gain more knowledge.  In Mexico we recently had a girl, Paloma Noyola, who was named a math whiz and next in line to replace Steve Jobs.  She lives below the poverty line, goes to school in what most would consider a run-down shack with next to nothing in regards to technology and yet has accomplished what most kids never will.   It was her desire to learn, her parents who push her, and the teachers who work hard in her school to bring her the education every child in the world deserves.

Don't get me wrong, I am an American, I love traveling in the U.S. but the reality is, we are living on credit with a credit card that maxed out its limit years ago and money may make a place look pretty but not very functional.  The system is broken, it needs fixing, and if we don't get with it soon we will all be sorry we looked the other way.   

A bond issue was turned down by voters yesterday in Katy, Tx for a high school stadium with an estimated building cost of 70 million dollars.   Are they mad?  We've got our head in the wrong direction if you know what I mean and people need to stand up and say enough is enough and it is time to get back to basics in education.  Demand a pass or fail system where students are pushed to excel, pushed to do the best they can and push may not be the best word I could use.  All kids have the same abilities, it is a matter of taking advantage of what they have in them.   I'm tired of hearing that a 7 out of 10 is a passing grade.  What is the message being sent to a student who is told that the minimum is good enough?

As we say on internet forums, flame suit on!

No comments:

Post a Comment