In order to get the system we want we have to break down the system that is in the way, it is actively trying to maintain the current system with the idea that small reforms and ‘tweaks’ will fix the problems.
It isn’t that I don’t think we need public education or that I think the government shouldn’t have some measure of control, but the irresponsibility and poor management that has been in place for so long shows we need drastic and real change, not little tweaks.
We have to stop being afraid of the established order and start trying radically different things despite the push back from those who represent the failing system.These people want to see success only within the framework that they reside in, to suggest to them that there is a comletely different way of doing things is to threaten them by calling into question their value and role in educating the youth of our nation. So we have to start standing up to our school board members, our administrators and our state government officials. Perhaps the greatest hinderance and threat to public education today comes in the form of national,state and local legislators. It is the laws and institutions that these people pass and fund that often end up tying education up in knots of bureacratic red tape. It is a wonder that teachers don’t drown in the paper thrown at them by the various governing bodies they are controlled by.
These people from local to national levels have too much power. We have to take their power away.
Each of the ideas presented below will have a later blogpost specifically focused on that idea, exploring it in more detail.
Political action is one way to accomplish real change. We can build up support for ballot measures that cut the power and bureacratic madness of educational legislation and governance.This takes time, money and effort, it is a public battle that can be lost in the voter booth, which is not particularly appetizing, but should still be attempted. Until we can change the rules of the game, we will never change public education.
We need legislation that demands a more wholistic approach to education, that values more than language arts and math. We need a reintegrstion of hands-on and life skills into our schools.
Furthermore we need to reform things like the common core. While guidelines to what a student should know are good ideas, we need guidelines grounded in common sense and basic skills, not overly complex and poorly written standards. We also need to recognize the skill gap between students born into poverty and students with more affluent backgrounds.
We also need to integrate the varied and diverse cultures that students come from into their education. Being part of a culture and community is one important step rebuilding communities in collapse due to poverty, drugs and the other ills of modern civilization.
Another alternative is to work outside the public education system altogether, using private and charter institutions as well as homeschooling and microschooling to bypass many of the government’s problematic regulations and poorly managed bodies. The more we can move children into these environments (as long as they are stable and well-run) the less interference in their education from government. Of course Charter Schools and Private Schools have their own issues that need to be ironed out, but it seems it may be easier to start new charter schools that are nonprofit institutions iinstead of fighting regulation within the current framework. If we have a mass migration out of the public education system, we send a message to those running the public system, the message being ‘reform or perish’.
The problem with this second approach is that students who come from poverty are more likely to be trapped within the public education system due to a lack of resources. I’m not just talking about money, I am talking about parents who don’t know how to move their child out of the system or do not have transportation or means to judge a good learning environment from a poor one. These parents may work two or three jobs or be dealing with substance abuse, issues that drain their time, effort and energy. They may also see education as worthless or worse, another example of the malicious state trying to keep them down. If we are going to bypass public education, we can’t leave the poor behind, which brings us back in a circle to legislation. We need legislation that will free up funds to help send poor kids to alternative schools, to institutions that aren’t controlled by the state.
If we empty our schools, we make them redundant and force change to happen.
There’s a revolution for you.
Thanks for reading.