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a question by Nov 10, 2010
What would you like to see done to improve the education systems in this country? It's a complex issue that has no single solution, but I'm curious as to what your opinions are, so feel free to share.
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answered:    November 11, 2010
I personally feel like changing things in the schools themselves will not solve much. The problem is degradation of society. Kids in school can't concentrate on learning if their parents are going through a divorce, the child only has one parent that spends most time providing and no time with the child, and/or there is hostility in the marital relationship. Also, how can kids be expected to be interested in learning when their parents never encouraged it in the first place? I feel really bad for the teachers because they are faced with students who have no respect, no decency, no dignity, or honor. If these are the kinds of kids our media and parents are raising, there is little teachers can do - especially when they are faced with 20-30 of these children and adolescents at once. 

Moreover, there are so many distractions in the form of television, computers, cell phones - all of these are counterproductive to learning to think. Only students who learn to think are able to learn, the rest are just cramming their heads with facts they will never use in real life. 

If there is anything that can be done on the part of schools, I think the focus needs to shift from loading children with facts to actually teaching them to think, reason, and giving them tools to learn what they are inherently interested in. Pupils were never expected to know as much as they are today. Despite the fact that more and more is taught and more subjects are added to the curriculum, children are not getting smarter, they are actually more and more dumb. I believe that's because the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic have been abandoned. A child who needs a calculator to do basic math will never learn to think on his or her own. 

I could go on, but for lack of time you could also read my review of The Underground History of American Education for more information. 
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February 01, 2011
Well said, EcoMama.
February 01, 2011
Thank you Linda.
November 11, 2010
So in other words, you feel that improving the children's home lives and the environment that they're growing up in needs to be done before real focus can be put on changes in education? That's fair enough. I think in inner cities and real rural areas that is a huge problem.
November 11, 2010
Yes, you summarized that well :) The troubling thing is that more and more people are moving to the cities in search of jobs, so the inner city school problems are only going to get worse. I live in the suburbs in a median income town, as much as I would like to tell myself our neighborhood isn't that bad - the reality is changing day by day. I was taking a walk today with my daughter and we saw a woman in handcuffs getting picked up by a cop car from one of the adjacent apartment buildings. Then in the building next to that a mother was trying to get a handle on her 4, maybe 5, year old daughter who was screaming at the top of her lungs for the entire neighborhood to hear. Where do you think she learned that? Maybe TV, maybe her own parents (who I know smoke excessively even in the presence of their child). Then there is the case of our new neighbors, a young unmarried African American couple with a newborn. I was excited when they moved in thinking that we as mothers can at least get acquainted - until we started hearing them fighting and screaming at each other nearly every day (they wake my daughter up from her sleep). She kicked her boyfriend out of the house a couple of times already.

So you see, this is surrounding me every day. :) Though more upscale towns may be better in terms of marital relationships and parenting, there are still problems there - people are just more quiet about it and before you know it the couple that you though would live together forever is getting a divorce. 

Excuse me for blabbering non-stop :P
November 11, 2010
A good blabber can be therapeutic and helps to put things in perspective, so don't worry. It was good to hear an honest answer. : )
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