The state of education in our world today  

  RSS

(@lovendures)
Registered
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 586
11/16/2019 12:02 am  

A new report  out this month by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is pretty telling.  The Confidence Report found that of over 1,300 educators surveyed from across the country,  34% of teachers say they feel optimistic about the state of the profession, down from 50% in 2018. 

Did you catch that?  Look again.  A 16% decrease in one year and the level wasn't so great last year. Big concerns for teachers include the social-emotional needs of their students, teachers' low salaries, and lack of education funding.

I have a daughter who is a first year general  elementary music teacher at a title one school.  She spends most of her time  addressing the social-emotional needs of her students.  She is a fantastic teacher who has received praise from the the district music coordinator and fine arts head.  They have even shown a lesson of her teaching beginning violin for all the district music educators to watch.  She  is not even a string player, she is a brass player.  She is however, a fantastic music educator. 

But, she spends much of her time addressing behavior and emotional issues.  It is wearing on her.  She is getting burnt out and is not even through her first half year of teaching yet.  Her students have so many issues going on at home.  At school they can barely function some days.  She spends much or her time re-directing, reminding, disciplining and comforting her students.  There are anger issues, bullying and apathy issues to deal with as well as classes filled with ADHA kids who can't control their impulses.  The veteran art and p.e. teachers have both been in tears this year with the difficulty of issues they face with certain grade levels.  My daughter has been very frustrated just trying to teach. 

While all of the regular teachers have smart boards and white boards in their classroom which is fantastic, her room is very OLD tech and  only has 2 actual green chalkboards and a small white board.  That is it.  She commented to me the other day that this is the first time she has ever used an actual chalkboard in a school.   When she was growing up,  her classrooms had white boards and later smart boards.    She didn't even know how to clean a chalkboard. (haha)   She is supposed to teach using interactive curriculum provided form the district that is technology based. Instead she is using that curriculum in a non- interactive way displayed through a basic projector that she had to BEG to obtain.

The projector  broke this week.  If she is to use any technology in the classroom in the future, she has been told she will need to pay for a projector herself as there is no budget for a new one or to repair the one that broke.  She will now buy one on her own  as there is no other way to use the district curriculum  which she likes and is familiar with.  She already had to purchase a speaker for her room as the old one was broken and a CD player to play music as the old one there didn't work.  

Our state is consistently the least funded state for education in the nation and has bounced around from 49th to 50th for more than 10 years.  Some districts are better funded than others, but none are funded well.  I am not aware of any district that has EVERY teaching position filled for there schools.  Not one.  Many have multiple positions open.  We are approaching crisis mode.  

She told me this week that teaching music at her school is sucking her passion for music out of her.   This, my daughter who went to England to get a master's degree studying the Psychology of Music because she loved the subject and there were no real good programs like that in the US. She lives, breathes, sleeps and eats music.  

Well, she used to.  

I posted this here not as a rant.  It is a warning.  We are failing our children.  These children are the adults of tomorrow.  Those that want to learn have difficulty  because of the environments they have to deal with at home and in the classroom.   Those that don't want to learn make it difficult for everyone else.  Our teachers want to teach and make learning creative and inspiring.  Instead they must deal with everything else first, including demands of great test scores, school shooter drills, low pay and no respect.  

Who will be left to teach our children when those who used to love their profession finally decide to quit?  Will there be a new generation to take over once  the recent college graduates have heard  the horror stories about our educational system and decide to focus on fixing the environment or political system instead because it is to overwhelming  to try to figure out how to actually fix the educational system?      

https://www.hmhco.com/educator-confidence-report


Marley, thebeast, TriciaCT and 1 people liked
ReplyQuote
(@michele-b-here-in-the-forum)
Registered
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 1039
11/16/2019 9:08 am  

@lovendures

This was an absolutely wonderful post about the state of both education and the physical,  mental, and emotional health of our teachers.

I was and have always been a teacher but left organized education and an income to be a lifelong volunteer in my children's preschool through high school classrooms, the school boardrooms, special community programs and behind the scenes in cleaning,  counseling, sewing or being a back stage mom to thousands of kids as the volunteer parent who tried to provide the support for children, teachers, programs and communities that others could not or would not help.

Tell your daughter to never, ever lose or love or her passion for music just as I never lost my love for fostering education or creativity.

The pain of the lost and broken children, families,  and abandonment of support especially financially by others can fill one with exhaustion and despair if not totally breaking you. But there are ways to keep going,  keep doing,  keep helping.

There were or are many educators in my family and we all did our best at whatever we did, however we did it. But it is relentlessly challenging and as far as I have seen norhing has changed in that regard in my 50 years of being a helper.

We all bought or used our own supplies, even as volunteers giving freely of our time and energy.  Our own single income families lived on less but grew in heart and spirit by learning to give without expecting to always receive. And how lovely but how very realisticly sad if not tragic that others saw what was happening and did nothing.

I haven't read your link yet but its story and your daughter's story has been my lifelong experience.  I majored in English and yet I've taught PE, art, music, welding,  geography,  history, and social sciences as well as psychology. I had kids come in stoned, describe building bombs, recount graphic abuse at home, and all I could ultimately do was care about them and make sure they knew I did. Nothing else ultimately came from all my hard work of seeking change or getting help for most of them.

I did my best but was hardly qualified to do so especially as a parent volunteer! I taught PE at lunchtime as a volunteer because my kids tiny schools had no PE teacher for months as a time. We also had no counselor, no special ed teachers and often no janitors and this was a public school. A few willing teachers and parents stepped into and pulled up the slack and the district looked the other way and saw it as good enough to make do. How very, very sad that nothing is dobe, nothing really changes.

It has been a tragedy in the making and it is far worse now, I know. I know yet even I know it is worse than I want to imagine.

You are living and breathing it now through your daughter's experiences, her fears, pains and anxieties. Ultimately she has to take care of herself first to make a difference in her life, their lives or her own future. But if course its our bigger future that ultimately matters most or the cycle never ends.

We need one huge wake up call and if all the school shootings aren't enough to open people's eyes that everyone and every thing that happens to us are connected I'm not sure what it will take.

The multi-faceted, multi-layered depths of our nation's problems are and possibly always have showed up in the very essence of educating our children abd buildibg the very future of our civilization.

.And that is often the state of our schools and our children's education as symbolized in the state of our families  how they are being physically,  mentally, and emotionally destroyed in front of our eyes.

My heart goes out to you, your daughter, and your family as examples of so many others who really love, care, and want to do and be more.

 

Love, light, and healing prayers,
💜 MIchele


TriciaCT, Lilinoe, Marley and 1 people liked
ReplyQuote
(@laura-f)
Registered
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 735
11/16/2019 11:35 am  

It's been 50 years of attacks on the education system nation-wide.  It started with my generation in the 1960s - "new math", no art classes, few music classes if any (chorus yes, but not instrumental), zero dance or movement classes, P.E. cuts so severe none of the schools I went to til college really had organized teams.

I went into teaching in the 1980s. I lasted less than 2 years in NYC. Private and public schools. I still get nightmares about it.  In 1990, we had no kind of tech of any kind for any grade. I had to buy my own chalk and all school supplies for the kids. There were many emotionally disturbed kids but no counselors or school psychologists to help. I went home and cried every single night. I got very physically ill too. The private school was partly a dumping ground for rich kids whose parents didn't want to engage in an IEP process in the public schools. So kids with severe ADHD etc. got NO attention and I had no resources to offer beyond trying to reward good behaviors ad hoc.

I still remember the day I quit for good. I woke up on a wintry February morning and realized no one was standing there holding a gun to my head. I called out sick. The next morning I got to the school super early, went to my classroom, gathered my stuff, left the key on the desk and walked out. I never even returned calls from the administrators. I called the Board of Ed to resign. I never taught in a classroom again.

 


BlueBelle and deetoo liked
ReplyQuote
(@lovendures)
Registered
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 586
11/16/2019 4:49 pm  

Thanks for your responses, they were both quite interesting.

 My daughter is a 3rd generation teacher.  3 of her grandparents were teachers, only one retired as an educator, the others opened their own successful businesses midway through their teaching careers.  I was a teacher for 4 years, one of those I taught overseas.  I stopped teaching once I had children and did a lot of what Michele spoke about. I volunteered in their schools and chaired many  parent and  school related programs until they graduated.  

@michele-b-here-in-the-forum , I can't imagine doing all that you have done in such a small school.

@laura-f,  interesting how we think of private schools as the "best" education.  Not always.  

 


TriciaCT, BlueBelle, Laura F. and 1 people liked
ReplyQuote
(@deetoo)
Registered
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 517
11/16/2019 5:34 pm  

Interesting article about the licensing of outdoor preschools in the state of Washington:

https://www.seattletimes.com/education-lab/learning-in-nature-washington-becomes-first-in-the-country-to-license-outdoor-preschools/


CC21, Lovendures, TriciaCT and 1 people liked
ReplyQuote
(@laura-f)
Registered
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 735
11/16/2019 6:22 pm  

My mother and grandmother were also both teachers, with long careers in NYC. In fact, the principal of my high school had been taught by my grandmother! (So yes, I was "Principal's Pet")

I regret letting them kind of talk me into going into teaching. I hated every minute and have never missed it.


ReplyQuote
(@lenor)
Registered
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 135
11/16/2019 6:24 pm  

I taught fo 31 years and just retired 2 years ago. I have 4 teaching certifications, and a Masters in Education. I loved working in education and taught middle school, high school, alternative ed, GED, adult education and functionally illiterate adults to read. I also worked 5 years in a juvenile prison. The reason I retired was I no longer wanted to deal with all the problems that now exist in the public school. Teachers are expected to teach students who have various mental health issues. Students in the classroom cannot be “leveled” so you have a student who can barely read with students who are advanced in reading. Behavior was definitely a catalyst since discipline in the class room in almost non-existent. The day a student punched a teacher in the face and broke her nose and then proceeded to bum rush another teacher, knock her down and beat her head on the ground was the day I decided enough and put in my paperwork to retire. The student was taken to juvenile court by our resource officer and the judge ordered the school to take him back and provide him with the services he needed. Both teachers left teaching that year.I love teaching and was heartbroken when neither of my daughter wanted nothing to do with working in eduction but now I am glad they are in careers where they love their work and are very successful. I don’t know what it will take to change things but something has to give. There is a huge teacher shortage now and it is only going to get worse.


Lovendures, TriciaCT, Laura F. and 2 people liked
ReplyQuote
(@lovendures)
Registered
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 586
11/17/2019 2:28 am  

@deetoo

I would have loved to send my child to a place like this.  How cool.


deetoo liked
ReplyQuote
(@herondreams)
Registered
Joined: 6 months ago
Posts: 37
11/17/2019 9:33 am  

What an important discussion, and I appreciate hearing your experiences.

I'm also an educator. Right now I teach part-time at a university, but I have worked in Title-one elementary schools and for a Job Corps program for at-risk youth. I volunteer in my son's K-8 public charter school. The struggle is so real, and talented teachers are leaving the public school system in droves. The teacher and administrative turnover in our local public city schools is terrible right now--there is no stability, and the teacher pay is too low compared to the cost of living here. The reasons for this crisis are myriad and complex. The problem starts, I believe, with policy that was ostensibly intended to improve equity in education but which really meant to undermine education, by promoting school "choice" and emphasizing testing, testing, testing. The culture shifted to put full accountability for learning on teachers and schools, and to run schools on a business model. Education is not a product and cannot be qualified or measured in ways that are not problematic. Teaching used to be a secure, middle class profession--that isn't the case in most places anymore, and schools are grossly underfunded. We see even more disparity rooted in systemic racial and economic injustice. It is a mess.

But we also see a notable rise in trauma, mental health issues, and neurodiversity. Our education system hasn't changed enough from the model that was developed in the Victorian age to serve the needs of students today. There are so many things you might point to for reasons behind the behavior issues we see--I even see them among college students, many of whom struggle so much to do the basics: come to class, read texts, and submit work. But our country and our whole world is a a major crisis, and I don't know how issues with education can be unrelated to that. The systemic traumas of climate change, mass-extinction, our food system, economic inequality, racism, sexism, homo & trans-phobia, etc. are endemic in our collective psyche. Until these basic needs for security and emotional connection are met in deep, cultural ways, then we will continue to see children struggle to learn--a matter of the hierarchy of needs. 


CC21, Laura F., Lilinoe and 3 people liked
ReplyQuote
(@coyote)
Registered
Joined: 11 months ago
Posts: 216
11/23/2019 6:23 pm  

@lovendures

I'm glad you started this thread, Lovendures, since I've been wanting to introduce a similar topic for some time. The way I see it, we don't need to fix our educational systems so much as we need to sweep away institutionalized education as we've known it.

I started becoming disenchanted with institutionalized education when I was in college and dealing with my health issues. Even though I liked my professors and what I was studying, it felt insane that the very architecture of schooling was forcing me to choose between nurturing my spirit and "getting a good grade." And after you go almost completely deaf at the age of 18, as I did, it becomes hard to take seriously the premise that learning how to correctly format Powerpoint slides or staying up all night writing a critical analysis of the Iliad is somehow important just because your professor said so. But younger students have it a lot worse, since they don't have the agency or choice that college students do.

Fortunately for me, I discovered the writings of Ivan Illich and Charles Eisenstein, who have written widely on this subject, and they focused my angst towards more productive means. They both point out that institutional education as it's practiced in most of the modern world is a product of extractive capitalism and the need for standardized, compliant workers who are okay with performing boring, rote work. But we as humans are not meant for that. Our spirits demand joy and spontaneity. The behavioral problems and lack of structural support your daughter is seeing seem to be logical endpoints of this anti-human model of learning. And those problems are manifesting in different ways beyond the US. I was a foreign exchange student in China, and I've seen how the exam-obsessed culture of East Asia inculcates constant anxiety, fatalism, and poor physical health in students. Then there's the well-documented pattern of how institutional education in post-colonial nations is actually furthering colonialism's goals of homogenizing human culture and snuffing out any alternative ways of apprehending the world.    

Fortunately, there are alternatives. I'm a big proponent of the Sudbury model of education and the Unschooling Movement, both of which jettison coercion and rigid curriculums and rely instead on each child's inherent curiosity and desire to learn about the world. I will probably post a part 2 of this comment, since I have a lot to say on this topic. But for now I'll leave off on this: you worry about whether there will be "a new generation to take over once the recent college graduates have heard the horror stories about our educational system and decide to focus on fixing the environment or political system instead because it is too overwhelming  to try to figure out how to actually fix the educational system?" As @herondreams points out, problems with the education system are tied up in global systemic problems. I believe that, pretty soon, more and more people will start connecting the dots and will start revolutionizing the ways we teach not just our children, but also ourselves, so that our environmental and political crises are addressed at the same time.   


Michele, Lovendures, herondreams and 3 people liked
ReplyQuote
 CC21
(@cc21)
Registered
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 65
11/23/2019 8:36 pm  

@coyote

Thank you for bringing up Sudbury and unschooling! I have posted on the forum about our difficulties with school and our daughters (ages 10 and 12 now) over the last few years. Though they are still in traditional school, I did tons and tons of research over the last few years on alternatives. I am fascinated by unschooling and democratic schools and see such benefits in those approaches. We were not prepared to make a drastic change to unschooling (for various reasons.) So, for now, our girls are still in more traditional settings (our younger is in a very traditional Catholic school where she is doing well and enjoying herself, but we switched the older one this year to a local school with a different approach where she is doing much better. Small class sizes, mixed age classes, emphasis on social/emotional well-being of students, no letter grades, no extensive testing, less homework, etc.)  

More and more people are moving towards relaxed homeschooling, unschooling, etc. and I do think the future of education is going in that direction. Especially with the rise of/recognition of neurodiversity and other issues. Your comments about your experience at age 18 and college really resonated with me (re: your health issues and priorities, etc.) You are right - kids in elementary through highschool have no choice in what they are learning. Both of our daughters have anxiety that manifests differently in each, but our older daughter really struggles with traditional homework and executive function issues. It was so frustrating to see her interested in things that she was learning, but having that not reflected in grades and tests because she just wasn't meeting the paperwork in the proper way. I also really dislike feeling as though she always had something "wrong" with her because she didn't fit into the system as well as others (even with an accommodations plan.) I completely understand that teachers/schools need some way to evaluate students, but there are better ways. We are fortunate to have non-traditional alternatives in our area (though no Sudbury model schools.) Have you seen Pam Laricchia's work ( https://livingjoyfully.ca/ )? I find her information about unschooling very approachable and understandable. It is a tough concept for many people to get their heads around, especially since most all of us have had a traditional schooling and see that as "normal."

Anyway, like you said, you could post pages on the topic. I have always wanted to bring it up, but didn't know how to summarize or articulate it as you did. Thank you! And I truly do not want to offend the many teachers/former teachers who are on this forum -- you all do amazing work and I know you all care about your students. But I do feel the system itself is outdated and so many people (students and teachers alike) struggle with it. 


Lovendures, Lilinoe, BlueBelle and 2 people liked
ReplyQuote
(@lovendures)
Registered
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 586
11/24/2019 2:15 pm  

@coyote

@cc21

I so very much appreciate your thoughtful views  on education.  I will have to read up on some of the models you have mentioned.  


Coyote and CC21 liked
ReplyQuote
(@michele-b-here-in-the-forum)
Registered
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 1039
11/25/2019 8:29 am  

@coyote

Oh, Coyote!

I loved this to the ends of traditional education and back.

It's how we'll finally foster joy and creativity and the natural love of learning that a lot of us learned after we realized the system was failing us or loved ones or far too many we cared about in this world.  

 

Love, light, and healing prayers,
💜 MIchele


Lilinoe, Coyote and CC21 liked
ReplyQuote
 CC21
(@cc21)
Registered
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 65
11/25/2019 9:09 am  

@michele-b-here-in-the-forum

@coyote

A few links to things I follow for anyone interested in learning more:

Brighter Schooling -- Facebook page. They often link to interesting and informative articles/blog posts, etc. on unschooling and Sudbury: @brighterschooling

Here is a link to a blog post about Sudbury that they linked to recently:

https://www.tallgrasssudbury.org/blog/2019/11/11/are-sudbury-schools-for-kids-who-failed?fbclid=IwAR14p4OZpGbjUYcwy4kASDmM8tHVRnE0zR0jIpX1hnYjOEHFm15wX8zVdro

And another blog post about the perspective of students in school and the inability to say no in the current structure:

http://dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2019/04/the-ability-to-say-no.html?fbclid=IwAR3Dp5JEuoD0upXjR3-3mLdcTXEPJ8XlAQpY_oiGHkY7PFxyYdtcDXG3oHU


ReplyQuote
(@michele-b-here-in-the-forum)
Registered
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 1039
11/25/2019 10:53 am  

@cc21

Thanks so much!

Looking forward to reading them after dentist and grandkid learn while playing time at our house 😊😂

Balancing self-care with fun and joy time by loving and spending time with our little ones! My idea of balance 💜

Love, light, and healing prayers,
💜 MIchele


Lilinoe and CC21 liked
ReplyQuote
(@triciact)
Registered
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 261
11/25/2019 12:08 pm  

I just can't even believe what Brigham Young university just did to their students who received medicaid!  This is another republican push to remove folks who need healthcare. On top of this, I wonder if anyone saw 60 minutes this past Sunday? I'll post that link in another place.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/24/us/medicaid-students-brigham-young.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_191125?campaign_id=2&instance_id=14077&segment_id=19073&user_id=05a05d28b9044d7cf954b32e3f559ba1&regi_id=334306351125


Michele and Lilinoe liked
ReplyQuote
(@coyote)
Registered
Joined: 11 months ago
Posts: 216
11/25/2019 5:38 pm  

@cc21

I'm a long way off from becoming a parent (if ever), nor do I work in education. But I still feel very invested in non-traditional learning methodologies. So my soul sings whenever I meet someone who is knowledgable about and supportive of the Sudbury model/unschooling. I'd never heard of Pam Laricchia, so thanks for linking her work. I did read the blog post you linked about Sudbury schools and very much enjoyed it. I can also relate to that blog about just saying no. I started doing that in the latter half of my university years, even with professors who I really respected and enjoyed. My GPA suffered somewhat, but I felt better about myself. 

I also strongly believe that the rise in neurodiversity and even straight-up misbehavior is the younger generation's way of saying "enough is enough!" They're pushing us to shake off old, outdated systems. You should feel proud that your daughters are part of that vanguard.


ReplyQuote
(@michele-b-here-in-the-forum)
Registered
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 1039
11/25/2019 5:59 pm  

@triciact

Wow and how incredibly sad and so damaging to so many in the long run.

Medicaid is there for not just those who need it but physically require it as well as qualify.

I guess it goes along with also hoping to reduce so many of our senior citizens Medicare funding in his budget plans  that Trump is proposing. He is supposedly asking for a decrease of $800 million in his 2020 budget. Ha!

By nature of being self-employed for decades, we had to pay for our health insurance out of pocket and it took up 1/3 of our already minimal take home small business income.

That they would expect a young mother to be with Medicaid trying to better her and her child's future through a college education to pay for private health insurance and refusing her already secured Medicaid funding boggles the mind.

Love, light, and healing prayers,
💜 MIchele


TriciaCT and Lilinoe liked
ReplyQuote
(@michele-b-here-in-the-forum)
Registered
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 1039
11/25/2019 7:37 pm  

Oops Trump wants to cut Medicare by $800 Billion not million.

@michele-b-here-in-the-forum 

Medicaid is there for not just those who need it but physically require it as well as qualify.

I guess it goes along with also hoping to reduce so many of our senior citizens Medicare funding in his budget plans  that Trump is proposing. He is supposedly asking for a decrease of $800 million in his 2020 budget. Ha!

Just a small clerical error (ha) but needing correcting none the less.

And according to many it doesn't stand a chance of passing but then nothing he/Repubs have done should have ever passed/happened and did.

But  it certainly shows mission and intent on cutting off the hands of the poor seen as getting handouts and filling the hands of others beyond what their coffers already hold now. Sigh.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-03-20/trump-medicare-cuts-set-stage-for-2020-election

 

Love, light, and healing prayers,
💜 MIchele


Lilinoe liked
ReplyQuote
(@lovendures)
Registered
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 586
11/25/2019 7:49 pm  

@triciact

No Words!  Even the local hospital disagrees with the decision and is befuddled.  .


TriciaCT and Lilinoe liked
ReplyQuote
Share: