I have no illusions, I am not the most educated on the issues surrounding our state but I do strive to have a general knowledge of it.
One thing I do know is that we have all seen the budget cut articles, felt the squeeze in our local classroom, seen the cuts first hand at the loss of our child’s extra-curricular activity; whether that be a specialized art or a sports team. I personally have had more than one conversation between current and past teachers and each conversation leaves me feeling just a bit more hopeless.
How are we supposed to be the seemingly smartest, most talented nation in the world, raising kids with exponential possibilities before them if we can’t even properly educate our youth to become that talent?
I look into the money trail and incredulously wonder how millions of tax payer dollars can just “disappear” with no answer as to where it went and then further question why we ever brought the lottery into the state when the greatest promise made from that was money for education.
With seemingly every state in the red I am starting to question how long our public school system (or any public “system” for that matter) is going to survive.
States don’t want to pay our teachers properly (at least not in Oklahoma) and with horrendous class sizes and expectations put on teachers for very little return it is no wonder we have a shortage of qualified and to go one step further, EXCITED teachers. I know several that teach because they love to teach and they pay dearly for it; sacrificing more time and energy than is fair, yes by choice but not only do they choose it- they have a higher calling and feel that in their life. They know if they don’t NO ONE WILL and that keeps them getting out of bed in the morning after they didn’t fall into their beds until late into the night from preparing or grading or planning for their classrooms; hundreds of hours they are never paid for other than through smiles and invisible light bulbs going off over the heads of struggling youth.
I know I am not alone when I say that I am so very concerned about the state of our schools and the future there. Protests have been held, letters have been written and meetings had but there seems to be no traction; at least not for the little guys (and I mean that literally and figuratively). State and Federal Government continue to cut dollars for budget shortfalls (though I seem to be paying more and more in taxes each year myself) and this goes well beyond just educational cuts, hitting the poorest of the poor, the elderly and downtrodden. You’ll remember my previous post about the Medicaid cuts that are going to be treacherous on our dear state.
What are our legislators thinking?! What needs to happen for the tide to turn? Who needs to open their eyes? Is it us; is it them? I don’t want to contribute to these problems-and as a citizen I feel that starts with how I vote in elections-but even that doesn’t go my way (two words: Mary Fallin). Are my hands tied, are yours?
More questions than answers.
I look into the very near future and see our public high schools disappearing completely. I see private organizations taking over lower grade education and virtual home schooling for higher grades. The option to do public home school is already in full swing and growing in popularity every year and while it might seem like a great option for a struggling student I wonder of the social consequences. Students must know how to interact in person to person settings. I have already noticed that an alarming number of kids under the age of 20 or so have a hard time engaging in a full conversation with me while also exhibiting proper behavior for a conversation: eye contact, attention, engagement. Too wrapped up in their stupid cell phones, distracted by the fictitious world of Facebook, IG and Snapchat.
Then to bring my mind a little further past my current borders I wonder if privatizing education would be all that bad? Teachers would work with private companies, possibly being paid a decent salary and have manageable class sizes and doable workloads. Doesn’t seem so terrible, until we count the costs. How many can truly afford private education?
As a parent I find this tumultuous time quite scary. I want the best for my son, as I am sure you want the best for your child. I wish I had more answers than questions and better feelings for his future and the future of education as a whole. For now, though, I am focusing on saving money for his education and I suspect that the costs will start WAY before college ever does.
… Maybe I need to invent an education fund like the 529 plan but call it the 712 plan, covering costs from 7th grade to 12th grade graduation.
As Confused as You Are,