Earlier today I wrote a post about the school breakfast program and it got me to thinking about how messed up our current education system is. A while back I wrote about how in the US the prison budget is determined by the test scores of grammar school children. The worse the kids do, the more money they put into prisons. That’s just one of the screwed up things in today’s education system.
If you haven’t heard about it before, that thing about the prisons may blow your mind, but it’s true. In most of the US, the state looks to the test scores of grammar school kids and uses that to determine how much to spend on the penal system. If kids are doing badly, they put more funding into prisons. How screwed up is that? You’d think that they’d look at it and put more money into the schools, but you’d be wrong.
Another issue with schools is the fact that the arts are being removed at a staggering rate. Fewer and fewer schools have art, music or other creative classes or after school programs anymore. They still have sports, because they can easily profit from that, but they don’t put focus on creativity anymore. Most schools don’t have home economics anymore either, which was the only way that a lot of kids learned the basic life skills like sewing and cooking. I suppose they don’t think it’s important for kids to eat or mend their clothes, and they certainly have no need for any kind of creative thoughts.
Then you go to what’s left of the education, which is horrid. Many of the books are old and some are horribly inaccurate. Many schools can’t even afford to give each child their own book to study from. While they do still have the basic math and English classes, very little of what’s taught to our kids will actually help them get jobs or exist in the real world after graduation. There are still classes being taught that few kids will ever need, like calculus, but classes they need like business math (which teaches checkbook balancing and basic finances) are no longer available.
It doesn’t help the issue that teachers aren’t paid enough to care about their jobs. There are some truly amazing teacher out there, and bless them for what they do, but there are a lot that have just given up. With overcrowding, bad kids, old materials and low pay, there’s just not much reason for them to put any effort into what they do.
All of this adds up to kids who don’t learn the needed skills in school, have no creative outlets to inspire them or help them deal with their issues, no support system, no respect for authority, and no life skills. They go out into the world barely speaking English, having difficulty with high-level reading, and they have no direction. It’s no wonder that so many end up on welfare, pregnant, become criminals, or some combination of those things.
We really have to sit up and start paying attention to what we’re doing to our kids. Forget putting money into the prison system or other crap we don’t need. Put the money into better education. Make the schools safer and better with new materials and fair pay for teachers. Bring back the arts and other programs. Add real-life classes and courses that teach needed life skills. Education should be one of the highest priorities in all of society. What we teach (or don’t teach) our children shapes who they become. The better their education, the better people they will become. It’s pretty obvious how things are going with the current system, it shouldn’t take a Ph.D. to see that we need to make sweeping changes, and fast.