It’s a continuing narrative in America that we are short-changing our students in the American Education system.
The Atlantic reported on Aug 30th, that while there are mass inequities in the education system, the plot line that there is a critical teacher shortage in America is untrue.
In Philadelphia, students were sent home this week, because schools lacked air conditioning when daytime temps reached into the 90s.
And to cap it off, The Washington Post reported on September 1, that test scores plunged in the wake of the pandemic.
We get it, kids in the US are getting the shaft. But it seems to me, that for the last 40 to 50 years, kids have always gotten the shaft.
When I was beginning elementary school, my town began closing schools, saying that there weren’t enough kids to fill them. They wanted to send me to a school four blocks farther away, which sent my parents into a rage of the ages.
I can remember my Dad standing on the steps of Garden School in Stratford, CT, shaking a newspaper and yelling about how population estimates in the coming years were exploding. Sure enough, by the time I got to third grade, the complaint in the town was that there were 30 kids per teacher in overloaded classrooms.
When I was a boy, we weren’t allowed to wear short sleeves or pants and attended school in 90-degree heat without air conditioning, in moldy classrooms, filled with asbestos. And they’re complaining about a little hot air in Philly?
Wasn’t this the place where a bunch of old white men with gout packed into a hall in June and July to argue about the Declaration of Independence in 1776 while wearing wool coats and long underwear? They didn’t even use deodorant. I’m not saying kids have to suffer for an education but are we forgetting that these children sleep a few feet away from the birthplace of Freedom?
The truth is, there is a myriad of issues when it comes to education that goes far above the fact that schools don’t have air conditioning and test scores have dropped.
I bet the kids down in Uvalde, Texas would love to complain about a little sweat if it meant they didn’t have to bury their classmates. Would the parents of the 68 school shootings since 2000 complain that test scores had dropped in their school, or would they focus on the fact that they were lucky enough to still be able to kiss their kids good night despite the fact that their kid’s school is now on the Wikipedia page for school shootings?
We have major issues with our schools here in the US. Inner city schools and rural schools are training grounds for the industrial prison system in this Nation. A kid is likelier to die before his parents for the first time in human history. And climate uncertainty means that in all likelihood, the kids of today will be living in a world that is vastly different from the one we grew up in.
The kids will be fine, even if they have to sweat a little or Mrs. Crabtree decides to pack off and mix paint at the Home Depot rather than teach little Johnny to count. We don’t have a teacher shortage in this Nation, and test scores are a complete joke when it comes to predicting how a kid will make his way in this world when he’s a grown-up.
Kids need safety, love, and protection, and that is the one thing our education system seems to be failing at.
Thumbnail Credits: Christopher German