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.