No child left behind?

desk.jpgWorking as an educator for more than twenty years has opened my eyes to the nitty-gritty, where you live life of teachers and students. I entered the field later in my life than most teachers, becoming a grandmother just a month before graduating college and starting menopause about the same time. I had always been involved with young people in various ways, such as teaching them in a church setting and acting as counselor in youth camps. So I do enjoy working with youth.

I truly enjoy teaching the students. I enjoy preparing the lessons and finding resources to add to and improve my lessons. I enjoy working with other teachers and the administration, whom I admire and respect. I am thankful for the freedom students in the U.S. enjoy to attain a free education to prepare them for life. In the school setting, children can acquire knowledge to help them academically, but also gain social skills and other skills to help them be better citizens.

However, there is a huge hole in our education process. When one president passed the No-Child-Left-Behind Act, education changed. Of course, those in education longer than myself will say education changes almost on a yearly basis, and that I find to be true. I realize change can be good, that growth always brings about change, but all change is not good. When education methods are created that halt the growth of some student so other students can be on the same level as them, that is not good. All students do not learn at the same level, same speed, or in the same way. This Act, however, demands that all students be assessed the same even though they cannot learn the same. Teachers have watched in despair while children cried because they could not possibly understand the testing required for them, and it had nothing to do with what or how they were taught and everything to do with their ability to learn. I’m no expert in the field of education, but I do see what happened in the classroom when this Act was enforced. Some have called it the ‘dumbing down of America’.

And all the while, children are being left behind. I’m referring to students who cannot, will not, do not want to attend college. There are many students who will never attend college, yet it seems the American education system is determined to channel them into a college somewhere. Schools are given low grades—yes, there is a report card for schools, at least in my state—when many of these students finally give up and quit school. I’m convinced that most of them would finish if the school were equipped to offer training in vocations where they would excel.

Yes, all children are created equal. That does not mean they are created the same. There is nothing wrong with a person not going to college. Some people choose careers in fields that require no college, and they are happy and successful. Factories have for years provided a means of living with good benefits to those who are not comfortable studying books. A short stint in a vocational school or an apprenticeship provides ample training for those who excel in vocations which do not require writing essays and studying Shakespeare. But there they sit in my classroom, reading literature and writing essays. I work with them, trying to help them learn something not required for them to learn to succeed in their lives. They hate it, because their minds aren’t suited for that kind of activity. I’m not against requiring students to move from their comfort zones and do hard things. But honestly, that student needs to be somewhere gaining knowledge for a trade s/he is created for. Shakespeare and writing essays are for college students, not plumbers and electricians, who, by the way, can make much more money than teachers.

These students to whom I refer are in the throes of discrimination. Yes, the education system discriminates against those who are equipped for something other than college. And it makes me angry. I am the only one of twelve children to graduate college, yet my siblings all have had successful lives without college. I just happen to be geared to study books, to write essays, and to study literature. While I graduated college with honors, I never consider myself better educated or more successful than any of my brothers and sisters.

Something needs to change so that, truly, no child will be left behind in our education system. Anyone have an answer? What do you think?

7 thoughts on “No child left behind?

  1. kindergartenknowledge April 14, 2017 / 10:42 pm

    In the low income and high crime area schools where I taught (for 18 years), the problem is not so much wanting every child (or as many as possible) to go to college. The problem is allowing the teacher to teach the way that her particular group learns the best. Particularly since No Child Left Behind was repealed in 2015 and the Every Student Succeeds Act took over, there seems to be more and more emphasis on administrators (at the district level) dictating more stringent directives…in my area. Even though accountability is not the same as before, preparing for testing and the actual state testing is continuous throughout the year. When PK students take a one on one test three times a year, there is a problem. Since the test takes about two to three weeks to complete for the entire class…the teacher loses a lot of teaching time. Plus, the children really miss out on what should be a fun and lighthearted introduction to school. I enjoyed your post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mjwriter April 15, 2017 / 3:16 pm

      I guess this is true in most if not all areas. Teachers must use the whole year to prepare students for the testing because they are accountable for the students’ scores, good or bad. I actually had to stop teaching a fun unit on poetry because they removed poetic devices from the tests, so it wasn’t feasible to take two+ weeks to teach it.
      Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • kindergartenknowledge April 15, 2017 / 3:32 pm

        That is so very sad about your fun poetry unit! I had my classes watch the live computer feed from the Decorah, Iowa eagles for five years in a row. What a wonderful lesson! Last year…when the push and shove to do things just this exact way occurred…I was determined to keep showing the eagles on my SmartBoard. It was only for about 10 minutes a day! The eagles are a fun and interesting lesson on many levels, but I could barely fit it in! Thank you for your comment too!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. J-Dub March 20, 2017 / 6:42 pm

    I agree with you. I’m deeply encouraged when a child chooses an alternative route of learning a trade vs traditional college.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mjwriter March 20, 2017 / 9:56 pm

      I know more would succeed sooner if schools offered more vocational courses for them. While students who are good in academics have opportunities to earn scholarships, these students are left to make it on their own. They should have the same opportunities as book-smart students.

      Like

      • J-Dub March 20, 2017 / 10:07 pm

        Agree completely!

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s