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The Purpose of Education; the Responsibility of Government, Unions, Teachers, Parents and Children

Posted on the 02 December 2013 by Barrysblogging

Having spent the past few days trying to do what I do not expect Congressman to do, I have been trying to digest all 844 pages before writing about it. So far, I have only read 136 pages.  Today, the issue of education of our children seeks my commentary.

To orient us properly, it would seem that the purpose of school is to educate and the purpose of education is to broaden the knowledge base of our students, in preparation

for life and jobs. Some of the above players seem to have taken a different view at times. Young students who fail to learn in early years have been promoted to avoid falling behind their age group, advocates feeling that social development exceeds the importance of learning. Some give awards to every student who finishes a project or enters a competition, thinking that reward, irrespective of merit of achievement, is important to social development. However, this approach fails because one of the defined goals of education is preparing children for life and, in reality, people do not get jobs just because they applied, people do not advance in life just because they try. The reality of life is that people are rewarded for merit, for achievement, not for effort alone. Thus, teachers who believe this approach to reward is valuable would seem to be deceiving the student about life.
Today, in my State, there is a great battle between the State government, and teachers and their Union. The government wishes to apply standards for achievement to teachers and their students, based upon the results of standard tests, measuring what has been learned by the students and using this to rate the effectiveness of the teacher. Teachers, Unions, and some parents, and (of course) the students are objecting based
teachers teaching
upon the assumption that teachers are being forced to teach what is being tested: reading, writing, arithmetic, language, science and comprehension. (Not having seen the actual tests, I am assuming that this is what is included in the tests.)
Teachers are objecting. They say there may not be time to teach the other subjects that may have been included in the curriculum. In addition, they complain that in some areas of the state, underprivileged students come to school poorly motivated, and poorly prepared. Parents must not fail their duty to encourage and support learning. A substantial part of the failure of our education system today is in the laps of parents who view the school as a place for their children to be cared for while they are at work, parents who value to role of undergrad sports teams more than the role of math and science. If parents do not support the efforts of teachers to establish minimum standards for performance, the teachers are fighting a losing battle. However, when good schools with motivated teachers have been introduced into inner city areas, this has motivated parents and students to achieve at the highest level.  In some states, exercises in critical thinking are being employed, to teach good thinking and learning skills, however, teachers can never lose sight of the fact that basic factual knowledge must be the basis upon which critical thinking is practiced.  Our State does not rank among the highest in educational achievement, or high school graduation rates, and the new approach, using tests to measure teacher and student achievement would appear to me to support the view of the prime purpose
Male teacher teaching
of education at the lower levels, providing the students with the basic factual knowledge upon which their education can grow. Teachers must find the way to fit in the education required in the time allotted.  Teachers incapable of bringing their classes to a level of knowledge consistent with a minimum requirement should be replaced. Parents must encourage academic performance higher than sports. Students must acquire the basics of fundamental factual knowledge or our country will become less productive than it has been in the past. Teachers Unions should encourage pay for performance, over job protection for incompetent teachers. Business seeks educated workers, and jobs depend upon education and the ability to use that education by critical thinking. Innovation results from this combination. This is the road to our future. Our children’s’ education must not be wasted. We spend too much money on it for it to be wasted.

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