Monday, May 08, 2006

Education, What is it?

After following the extensive debate about who is at fault when students fail (here), I have come to the conclusion that I don't have a clue about what education really is. The problem is that I don't have a frame of reference to compare the world of education to. The best I can come up with is that, to some, the world of education is much like the United States of America during times of massive immigration.
The inscription at Ellis Island reads:
"Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

It seems that my task is not so much to educate, meaning to impart knowledge or skill, but it is to work wonders. We say, give us your tired, sleepy student, that you did not not give a bedtime to; give us your poor, shabbily dressed, that you could not afford new clothing for, your timid masses yearning to escape the screaming, the wretched brat of your over-indulgant home. Send these, the hurting, life-tossed to us. And not only will I lift my lamp beside the metal detector and the cramped huddled classroom, but I will teach them, 100% of them, by 2014, to read at grade level, write at grade level, calculate at grade level, and hypothesize at grade level; I will do so despite my salary not even reaching half of what the Senators and Congress People who dictate my job to me make; I will do so despite my salary being less than the district employee who looks at testing data charts. I will forge on in the high calling, the ministry (oops, I just got religious, sorry!), even though babyTate has not stopped crying all night!
For all those who believe that successful education rests solely in the hands of the teacher and the system, I ask you to inform me of any other profession that carries such a burden as that while constantly subjected to scrutinization, disrespect (students, parents, media, and goverment), and I will gladly reevaluate my position.
This is not intended to assign blame elsewhere. The reality is that we are all to blame when students fail. The student, the parent, the media, the government, and the teacher.

4 Comments:

At 6:02 AM , Blogger Al said...

I just finished reading Borderlan's latest entry, now I read this, and I see a growing frustration at having mandates interfere in the mission.

You're right, as far as I'm concerned, that the failure to educate a child is a societal failure, not only a teacher failure.

Not that you haven't heard this so many times that you want to smack me down for saying it, but the crying baby situation does indeed get better. But about the time my son-in-law was telling people that his baby was now 85 days old (or whatever it might have been that particular day), our daughter was reminding him that it meant it had been that long since she had had real sleep.

They're at six months now, and sleep is up to six, sometimes seven hours for both mom and baby.

 
At 7:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen, brother. One of the problems with education is that it's not nearly as fun as it used to be. People who teach, those who support them, and the kids themselves are so stressed these days with NCLB. I think we have a generation who will refuse to teach, given the rewards offered. Just my opinion, and I've been in the field of education since 1976.

 
At 8:16 PM , Blogger KDeRosa said...

For all those who believe that successful education rests solely in the hands of the teacher and the system, I ask you to inform me of any other profession that carries such a burden as that while constantly subjected to scrutinization, disrespect (students, parents, media, and goverment), and I will gladly reevaluate my position.

How about every other profession.

If a doctor fails to cure a patient who is curable even when the patient hasn't taken good care of himself, it's malpractice.

If a lawyer fails to make an argument he should have even though the client hasn't acted properly and the client loses the litigation, it's malpractice.

If an engineer builds a bridge and it falls down for almost any reason, it's malpractice.

If a teacher fails to teach a child who is educable but perhaps not the sharpest tool in the shed, the teacher gets to write a blog blaming the student for the failure to teach without repercussion.

And you can rest assured if other professions had the same level of failure, you'd see the same level of scrutiny and criticism as educators are getting.

 
At 3:37 PM , Anonymous Laura said...

By the same token, if the patient doesn't take the prescription, is it still malpractice?

If the engineer is supplied with only faulty equipment and/or supplies, is still malpractice?

Malpractice is a product of litigious society, and what good has it done? Everything's a blame game now.

 

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