School is in session
My brother attends the only public school in Eunice; it's fairly small, 900-1000 kids, no real violence problems, maybe 10 pregnant girls a year, drugs and drinking mostly done off campus. I went there for two years and I knew I hated it, but I was blind to most of it. Looking at it now, though, hearing his stories, all I can think about is how institutionalized it is.
For instance, class is interrupted to do uniform checks, and students without the proper belt or whatever have you are pulled from class and sent to the cafeteria to write the dress code over and over. (This seems so terribly wrong to me, especially considering that some of these kids might just value their education and while they were making a great 4.0 without a belt, they're now missing what could be valuable class time.)
Anyway, once a year an academic pep rally is held to celebrate those who did well, and prizes are given. Last year the prize was one of those portable DVD players, you know, one little screen for things like riding in the car. And it seems like the money could be put to much better use, you know? Then again, a reward like a DVD player encourages kids to do well all year, and isn't that something worth investing in?
Then there's the issue of teacher pay. I hear all this talk about how teachers should get paid more, but I look at the way our school was run, and our teachers didn't have enough control in the classroom to teach, and I even had one teacher who literally gave us every answer to our final exam... should we be paying more for teachers who really don't teach, or would more money motivate them to actually perform?
And of course we have to consider affirmative action. While I tend to be pro-AA, I look at my 10th grade homeroom teacher who wasn't even certified but was hired for her sex and race... What do we make of that, seeing as though it will impact the health of our children's brains?
Next issue: how should we measure progress and intelligence... standardized testing? skills testing? life testing? Is one system the way to go for all schools? Or should we encourage "creativity in the classroom" as it has so fondly been called? What is it we want our kids to learn at school? Sex ed and creationism? Or straight up, nondebatable math and grammar? Are there things parents should be more responsbile for? Or should school really be the place for kids to pick up certain knowledge?
What do you guys think about all this? I'm hard-pressed to figure out what's up, what should be done, what could be done.