I was raised to appreciate a good education. My mother and paternal grandmother were teachers. My sister is (heaven help her) a high school guidance counselor, and brother-in-law directs a nationally-recognized high school culinary arts program. My father was an instructor in both avionics and criminal justice.
Many of my friends are also educators, from pre-k to high school, they give of themselves in hopes that they can make an impact on kids, in a positive way.
Right up there with first responders and the armed forces, teachers are the most overworked, underpaid, and under-respected folks in the workforce.
When folks talk about the economy issues, the jobs gap, the attitude of kids today, rarely do they look to themselves. They point the finger at teachers.
We scream about making budget cuts, hold them accountable for not teaching to standardized testing, and asking them to be glorified babysitters.
Meanwhile the next generations are woefully unprepared for life. They don’t have basic skills outside of rote memorization, and can’t compete on an international scale.
Not all kids are cut out for college. We make higher education increasingly unattainable, or saddle those who pursue it with six-figure debt.
So politicians and pundits bellyache about how we keep losing jobs, while education funding keeps dropping. Asking teachers to do more with less, every year, has become SOP.
Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I think this way because I just had good teachers, before standardized tests, who taught me to think out of the box for the solutions. But maybe, just maybe, we can start funding education more effectively?
A example in our own nation’s history is the return of WWII vets utilizing the GI bill. The US had a great period of innovation and growth. Hell, we put a man on the moon. Now we may get lucky to get a man a job at McDonalds.
Smarter, better educated children will in turn net a smarter, better educated work force. A better work force will theoretically net a better economy.
Now, we just need to make it happen.