Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Schools: Greensboro or Beirut?

A prominent local business man, who I will call K, recently decided to move back to Beirut, Lebanon for better schooling for his children. He has told me that the public schools here in Greensboro are no match for the schools in Beirut. In Beirut they teach my children three different languages from the beginning, Arabic, French and English. They speak to them in all three languages at any given time. They teach my children science and show them to be creative. Here they do not teach them any of this.

I have known K since I moved here in the early '90's. He is a great man and a greater father to his children. What does this say that K would rather have his kids go to school in a warzone, Beirut, then in a safe environment here? To me it says a lot.

We fail our children when it comes to education. We fail them on so many levels. When I was going to school, there was always a list of supplies that I needed for me; now they send home a list of supplies that you have to supply for the whole class, 3 boxes of Kleenex, 2 reams of printer paper, etc... Obviously, this is because of budget shortfalls. We would rather buy bombs then books. That is a sad fact in this America, one I never thought would be.

We teach our children slowly and with kid gloves for fear that we might make them sad or depressed. We don't even teach our kids Geography like we use to. Maybe because they will never be able to afford to travel anyway. Science is a joke in school. What happened to encouraging our children to create and discover new things? Science is now a mere argument by selfish parents about the big bang theory or ID(intelligent Design). What happened to the periodic table of elements? Kids don't answer the, what do you want to be when you grow up question, with Astronaut anymore, they barely know about space.

We fail our children by letting local school boards be complacent. We don't fight hard enough for our children's futures. We wonder as our children grow, why they can not find jobs. They were never trained properly in the first place, that's why.

We base our children's schooling on test scores like the SAT. We don't teach them foreign languages, other then electives in high school, or if you are lucky enough to have your kid in a magnet school. After school activities are just as bleak. How many kids have to buy their own jerseys for sports? I didn't have to do that when I was in school. Where does the school budget go? It's not the teachers. It is certainly not the children. So where does it go? How much goes to Dr. Greir's pockets? We have to refocus our efforts on our children, they are our future. We have been passed by, by many other nations in schooling children. We take our teachers for granted and pay them accordingly. I think every teacher should make more then Dr. Grier does, and we shouldn't rush our teachers through their training either. We should have more high quality teachers, teachers who know their subjects.

Quite frankly if parents gave as much of a shit about their kids education as they did about what they eat in the cafeteria, we might be on the right path back. Parents are selfish when it comes to their kids, they want their own ideologies taught, with as little pressure as possible on their child's psyche.

Do I think that my friend K is insane for bringing his kids into a warzone for better education? No. What I do think is insane is that we don't treat our children's futures a little better then we do.
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