Unfortunately the reality of the situation is a decline in the public demand for quality education. This is a cultural issue that begins with the respect of education in general. If there was a universal respect for education, then parent would be working to ensure that there kids were doing their homework, and behaving in school. If there was a universal respect for education teachers would be making salaries in line with management wages and people would be bending over backward trying to donate time and services to all education oriented organizations in the community.
There are many reasons why education has lost respect. First there are people who don’t believe that education is more than acquiring workplace skills in order to make a bit more money. Education is more than that. It is a collection of knowledge that needs to be passed on to future generations so that it won’t be lost. It is also the skill of rational thought that allows people to discover how the politicians and advertisers distort the facts to get you to do what they want you to do. It is also a pool of common knowledge that allows people to discuss the world around them on a higher level of understanding. It is also the key to protecting the community from dangers, like diseases, poisons and other less obvious things.
Second there are cultural biases against education that have seeped into our country. Some subcultures regard education as dangerous, especially for women or minorities. Some subcultures place less emphasis on education, claiming it isn’t cool, or it doesn’t give us the “whole” truth. There subcultures set a dangerous precedent encouraging children to skip school, or disrupt classrooms.
Third, parents find keeping tabs on their children too tedious and taxing. Many families have both parents working out of economic necessity. Parents come home from work to tired to deal with the children and end up sitting them in front of a TV or video game. When young children have questions about homework or topics covered in school many parents are too tired to answer the questions, or they have adopted the attitude that the school is responsible for there child’s education and they tell their children to wait until the next day for them to ask the teacher. A child with a helpful parent will learn much quicker than one with a parent who doesn’t give a damn.
Schools are an important part of the equation, but they are not the only part. An overall respect for the education system as a whole would go a lot further in repairing the damage than any suggestion that I have heard. This is because an overall respect for the system would take away some of these projects with ulterior motives like school vouchers. Everyone should realize by now that school vouchers are a way proposed by the religious right to enable the siphoning of education dollars out of the public education system to support schools that already exist free of government money. Catholic schools have survived without this extra money, that would come from every student already enrolled. By virtue of supply and demand the same students would remain enrolled and the tuition would increase respectively until each student would be paying the same amount that they already pay. The net benefit would be the private schools with the surplus cash. The net losers would be the public schools that would lose this money. Obviously taxpayers would not be willing to raise taxes to pay for the newly supported private schools. If people had a healthy respect for education they would respect how private schools actually benefit the public schools by allowing their tax dollars to go further.
Unfortunately the only way to change a “disrespect” for education into a “respect” for education is a re-education of Americans that is so deep it effects the entire culture. This is an enormous task, and it isn’t clear that it can even be done. At this point everyone is way too cynical to respond to any type of education campaign. How would one even begin?
Well, I am just planting the seed here with a little thought - please respect education, it is the only thing we have to show for all the effort made by the generations of humans that have occupied this planet.
Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."
Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit