Friday, March 25, 2016

I was so full, so swelled up and excited, that when I got ready to pick up a book, I could learn a lesson in a few minutes, tell all about it, spell every word, and read it back, front, and sideways. I never learned lessons so quick and so easy in all my life; father, Laddie, and every one of them had to say so. One night, father said to Laddie: "This child is furnishing evidence that our school system is wrong, and our methods of teaching far from right."
"Or is it merely proof that she is different," said Laddie, "and you can't run her through the same groove you could the rest of us?"
"A little of both," said father, "but mostly that the system is wrong. We are not going at children in a way to gain and hold their interest, and make them love their work."
Quote from: Laddie; A True Blue Story by Gene Stratton-Porter

   Our public education system is running every child through the same groove, but every child is different. They have different learning styles, weaknesses, and strengths. It's like trying to fit the square, wooden peg through the round hole. It doesn't work. But, government keeps trying to make it fit. They keep hammering away at the peg with their mallet of regulations and our kids suffer the blows until the peg is hopelessly stuck.
   When I was in college taking history classes I didn't have a desire to teach, but I also realized that there is not much else you can do with a history degree. So I applied for the education program at Weber State University and was accepted. During the summer we were instructed that we were to show up on the first day of classes with an outline of our ideal curriculum in whatever subject we wanted to teach. I chose ancient world civilization and spent a good deal of effort on outlining what points and lessons I'd like my students to learn from the material. Not long after classes started, in fact it might have been day one, we all learned that this idealistic curriculum that we all labored to create was just that, idealistic. The reality is, that teachers these days in the public school system are told what to teach and how to teach it. They are the "furry little cogs in the government wheel," as one of my instructors put it. That was back during "No Child Left Behind." Now, I hear it's even worse with common core and standardized testing. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY THE WRONG DIRECTION!!! Teachers need to be trusted. They need to be allowed to inspire children to learn, to explore, and to gain an education themselves. An education can not be forced upon anyone. It can not be legislated into a child. Like Little Sister in the quote above, who was allowed to stay home from school and study outside in nature, which she loved, children will flourish when they want to learn. Children will want to learn when they are inspired. Then they will love learning and be life-long scholars.

   I hear a lot of complaints about common core but if you do nothing more than complain to a sympathetic hear, than nothing will get done. Our government is supposed to represent the will of the people. Maybe it is time that our will reflect a better education system. We need to get the government out of our schools and let teachers do what they love to do...teach and inspire.

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