How much proof do we need before we acknowledge what we do in our schools isn’t working and commit to trying something new? A grading period or semester; a year, a decade, or generations? These are our kids we’re talking about, our children and grandchildren.
Not every problem has an easy solution but what is so difficult about giving students a little more time to learn things they will need to know to make a decent life for themselves; things they will need to know to provide for themselves rather than be dependent on the rest of us? Time is an essential variable in the education equation.
Albert Einstein once said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s that I stay with problems longer.”
Is America better off with a system that impedes the ability of teachers to teach and students to learn?
Is America better off with millions of people who do not understand the science of climate change, infectious diseases, and other natural sciences?
Do we benefit from a population of millions of people who do not understand the way a democracy is supposed to work or what the U.S. Constitution means?
How is it working out to have elected officials at every level of government, who are more focused assigning blame than putting their heads together to solve the problems of a troubled society? Leaders who spend more time claiming people who disagree with us cannot be trusted, are conspiring against us, and are trying to get something for nothing.
Are such leaders and other public figures correct when they tell us the only way to keep and protect what we have is to keep other people from getting what they need? The solutions to the problems we face as a people will be found by looking out into the future, not by looking to return to a past that was never as idyllic as we like to think it was. Look at the world around us.
We have an education system in which more than half of our students do not learn things well enough they can use what they know in the real world.
We have a healthcare system that makes a lot of money for a few people but does not allow all of us to get the medical care needed to treat the illnesses and injuries of our families.
We have a justice system that seems incapable of providing justice for every citizen.
We have a society that does not provide equal opportunities for everyone.
The problems we face as a society will not be solved by us. The future will be determined by the efforts and talents of our children. Maybe we should focus our attention on doing a better job of teaching future generations what they will need to know to create a better future for their children and grandchildren.
The only way to accomplish this is to change how we teach all our nation’s children, not a fortunate few. We have great teachers. We need to give them an environment where they can practice their craft and teach their students what they will need to know. The solution to education is right here in front of us. All we need to do is act.
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