, , , , , , , ,


I was lucky enough to be raised in what was then the Greensboro City School System.  Our neighbor around the corner was Retired U.S. Army Col. Ken Newbold and he was the Superintendent.  Guess who cornered the market on the 5th grade assignment of guest speaker and report??  YUP.  This is before the insane idea where they decided to merge the school systems and someone in Raleigh at the General Assembly came up with the rule of law that said a county didn’t need multiple systems inside of itself.  Yes, we used to have different systems.  Guilford County was one, then we had Greensboro City.

Beyond that, my system cared about kids and education and teachers.  Not testing, not meeting performance goals, not all that crap.  I had teachers, leaders and instructors.  I learned things.  I was taught how to act, to be respectful, treat my elders, help my classmates-whether that meant in school or with homework or if they were less fortunate…it didn’t matter.  You HELPED.  This was in addition to reading, writing, arithmetic, social studies/civics, art, computers, shop class and other things.

Today’s perverse world of education is about testing.  It is about making sure kids pass some P.O.S. standardized test that someone, somewhere, came up with and developed with what I am sure they believed were the best of intentions.  Best laid plans & intentions pave a mighty nice road to hell.  I watch my soon-to-be teenager struggle with school.  Not because of lack of intelligence.  It is because she is overwhelmed with all of the crap that is sent home and she is forced to regurgitate and put back into a test somewhere near the end of the year.  To show she’s “learnt” something.  I joked last year because we had two months of school left, equating to almost 1/4 or the last 9 weeks of school when the “end of year” tests were given.  Really?

Folks, education wasn’t meant to be like this.  It was intended to, in my opinion, do some of the following:

~Allow our children to learn at their speed and pace.

~Allow our children to make lifelong relationships and friendships.

~Encourage growth, encourage creativity and imagination.  Providing an avenue to express yourself whether that be through arts, written work, sports, etc.

~Teach and reinforce important manners and conduct that comes from the home; how to be polite, respectful of all, a helper to everyone.

~Introduce children to all kinds of other people.  From different races.  From different socioeconomic categories.  From all reaches of life.

What we’ve done is abhorrent when it comes to school and the educational system.  God isn’t present.  I’m not talking about school led prayer or faculty recitation of the Pledge with God in it.  I’m talking about children chided for praying over their PB&J.  We are so worried about being politically and socially correct that we’ve forgotten that we are dealing with children.  They don’t and aren’t meant to deal with nor grasp the crap that we as adults are.  Nor should they.  Some of the stuff I see and deal with in society I wonder if I am meant to see and be a part of.

Learning isn’t present.  Teaching is no longer present.  Creativity in education from the educators used to be what made school cool.  Teachers could dress up in outfits.  I remember a teacher we used to have that would dress up occasionally in period/era garb for U.S. and World History classes.  Today they’d put him in the nut house.  When I started high school or shortly thereafter the same brains in Raleigh, NC decided pep rallies weren’t acceptable any longer.  Our principal got around it.  It was a historical forum with enthusiasm.  He would spend 10 minutes or thereabouts reciting some relevant historical information about our city, our high school or something else that counted as learning.  Then the rest of the time was about school spirit.  About PEP!  About coming together as a unit of one.

We need yesterday back in so many ways.  What we are doing instead is sending a bunch of individuals into a big, huge scary world without common sense and without what my grandfather would call “a salt lick of sense.”  That is more sad than scary.  Bring our education back.  For the sake of our kids.