In the Fall, this year and every year, in this nation talk turns to Education. The President of the United States delivers a speech to students. Articles appear in the news. Television broadcasts beckon us to think about our Education Nation. In 2010, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, did what many thought novel. He donated $100 million dollars to Newark City Schools. Some were skeptical of his motives. More rejoiced. Certainly with abundant cash in the coffers, change would come to the nations schools, or at least to the chosen educational institutions. However, it might not.
Michele Rhee, Chancellor of Education, Washington District of Columbia and numerous others have doubts when talk of real transformation in education abound, Geoffrey Canada also has voiced concerns. The two are amongst the masses who have observed, that money does not necessarily move minds nay, academic agendas.
For years, Educators and learners articulated disbelief and discontent with educational doctrines. Reform, while a popular reframe, rarely bears fruit. The prideful profess solutions. Philanthropic folks throw money at educational endeavors. Yet, just as was reported in regards to the endowment awarded to the Newark, New Jersey schools, "We can't speculate too much at this point." Specifics are often too-welled defined or not defined at all.
A person briefed on the Newark plans said. "(O)n issues like expansion of charter schools, rigorous testing and rewarding teachers and administrators whose students succeed their [Mayor Booker, Governor Christie and Mister Zuckerberg] vision is very much in step." In other words, what has been the unsuccessful conventional-wisdom-way will be the strategy going forward.
Once again, persons with authority and funds forget. What we learn in our homes and in our schools becomes who we are. Adults [and peers] are mentors. Persons who we perceive as authorities and authority figures have power, the power to influence our thoughts, words, and deeds. Disagree or agree, what our friends discover and experience informs us as well. At any and every age, we absorb and acquire knowledge. This greatness is known as awareness. However, the quality of the insights gained might be questioned. Our comprehension shades our future. The past is our foundation. The present can be a gift or it can be proof that "all that glitters is not gold." Today, in America, indeed, worldwide we must consider what we have created beginning in childhood for our experiences and the emotional effect of these will follow us forever.
Please ponder. None of us has a singular interpretation or emotional response to what we encounter. There is no standard soul. This notion is one that the boyish-billionaire, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg could understand. After all his life experience personifies this truth. Moreover, one might think that policymakers, such as Mayor Booker, Governor Christie. would realize this.
Chancellor Michelle Rhee, Geoffrey Canada, students, Teachers see the veracity. These persons feel it. Those immersed in a flawed system do not need to assess the statistics people in power peruse. It is their life.
Those imprisoned in a system void of inspiration, creativity, curiosity, do more than sense the damage done when rankings are more prized than people, pupils. Student react to the wrong that is standards; it negates their existence. That is why so many pupils and Professors ultimately leave our nation's schools. Yet, those outside the classrooms notice nothing.
"Mature" Americans move on, pour money on a problem that cash cannot correct. As evidence, $100 million dollars donated to city schools is set to stress, again, that Educators teach to tests. Gift the Instructors and institution that can produce "results."
No money is spent on a subject worthy of research. "Adults" might evaluate the topic that speaks to individual identities. Perchance, were powerbrokers and prominent people to study their own personal past, then possibly they would acknowledge and act on the concept, each of us are, as schools must be, our own unique entity.
References for Reform and Realities of Education in this Nation . . .
- Rhee Tackles Classroom Challenge, By Amanda Ripley. Time. November 26, 2008
- Education Nation. MSNBC.
- Facebook Founder to Donate $100 Million to Help Remake Newark's Schools, By Richard Perez Peña. The New York Times. September 22, 2010
- How Friends Influence Adolescents' Adjustment to School. By Thomas J. Berndt and Keunho Keefe. Educational Resource Information Center.
- Graduation rate for US high-schoolers falls for second straight year, By Stacy Teicher Khadaroo. Christian Science Monitor. June 10, 2010