20090328

I think back to my high school days and all the wasted courses I was required to take as requisites for graduation. Among them include Algebra I & II and the dreaded Geometry. This is not to bash these courses or the people who enjoy and actually benefit from them. But in a recent conversation with my 20-something daughters who have recently graduated college they were totally convinced that Calculus and Trig were wasted precious hours as they are subjects they will never utilize in life. Having a few years on them, I knew they were telling the truth; and I knew too, that something needs to be done to revamp the education system to make it more "fruitful" for learners' real-life needs. The drop-out rate would decline dramatically if students were granted a diploma just for showing up and doing the work. I am grateful that I did not grow up in a time when passing some over-the-top state-mandated exam was a requisite for graduating high school. I've often studied the mannerisms of some politicians and quietly wondered if they could have passed the tests they were so supportive of students taking. But this is not really about the past. This is about the now. The education system needs to be overhauled; and, the billions of dollars spent on programs that strategize how a learner can pass a state test or how to keep students from dropping out, could be better expended on allotting the children of America's tax-payers with knowledge that will benefit them for life. I can't help but observe the number of Latinos who do excellent work when it comes to construction, and other labor-intensive jobs. On a little background research of their education system I learned that the majority of their education is targeted around teaching students skills they can use for life and actually make a living at. If you ever find yourself driving through a new community under construction, you will most likely see that a vast majority of the builders are Hispanic. And I ask myself, 'How long will it take for America to wake up and demand that their children learn something functional?' Schools need to be formulated according to the needs of its learners. From grades 9-12 students should begin taking courses geared strategically towards their career path of interest. Somewhere along the way, someone decided that allowing learners to follow a "track" or path of interest suitable for their life was not a good thing. Someone decided that all the children in America should be dumped in one big pot, like crabs. Someone decided that it wasn't okay to allow students to test out in an area they were specialized in. If I were to build a home from scratch, I would eventually need people ranging from architects to bankers for the financing, to someone to put the last coat of paint over the plastered walls. Children should be allowed to learn based on their interests. Just like millions of recent college grads who are forced to keep working at Walmart because their degree in film production is worth little more than a trip to the movies, it is time for parents to start hounding people in Congress to make CHANGE that MATTERS. I have two children. despite the many I call mine. Neither were math fanatics; but, because of the crab pot, they took dizzying amount of math that I KNOW they will most likely never use. Instead of all the math and science our children need to be exiting public school buildings knowing how to play (not play at) a musical instrument. Our children should be able to do something more with their hands than what some are sadly doing. People stick with things that matter and can be seen as making a difference in their life. To end, a child who starts in K and attends school through 12 DESERVES a diploma. It's no secret that a four-year degree isn't even worth a whole lot these days. Secondly, every child who attends school should be required to know enough nutrition to pass a test on how many grams of fat is in each product they put in their mouths AND the difference between good fats and bad fats. Students should be tested on their target of study in 12th grade. A person interested in the medical field should have an exit exam that proves they are prepared for college entry; just as the person interested in being a mason; should be able to lay brick. If our new Secretary of Education is serious about change it might be good to start by changing what's required. If kids were put in settings where they were learning what they were wired to learn, I'm certain that we would have far fewer drop outs and much more time to spend teaching them what's important: Reading, Respect, and enough 'rithmetic to be able to balance a checkbook and know the downs of credit cards and student loans. Education is my second passion. It saddens me to see how many mis-educated students are walking the streets. It's not the teachers. It's not the students. It's "America's" insistence that they look like another continent of people. We are not them. We are Americans. And as I recall, we were a lot better when we weren't using other countries as our measuring stick. It's time for American parents to reclaim the education system. What makes Calculus so important if all I want to do is bake cakes for a living? Just like you can take any lame-brained course in big-business colleges, our children should be given, at no extra-cost, an opportunity for a well-rounded education. So, let's see if I can nutshell this: Take the time to teach them what they NEED to know; bless them to learn the mastery of a musical instrument or other craft; allow them to learn a speciality in what they have an interest; and by all means put 60 seconds of morning and afternoon prayers over the P.A. speakers of every school in America; or even "This Little Light of Mine". Christians are in the majority and it's time we allow God back in the classroom. We took Him out decades ago and His Word that nothing good can happen where He is not is proving true. I know that America is a melting pot; but, somewhere along the way, she became timid about shining forth the Torch that has sustained her these 200+ years.