Our education system isn't doing so well. Eight thousand students drop out of high school every day and America's students continue to perform poorly on standardized tests in comparison to the students of other countries across the globe. America's education system hasn't completely failed, but it is failing. We're on a slippery slope with our only notable claim being that our country has more college educated kids than any other country. While that's definitely a good thing, the bar is being set lower and lower. We're on a race to the bottom, which is unacceptable for a nation that believes itself to be a world leader.
As our education system has noticeably begun failing our students, many people have put the blame squarely on teachers. On both state and national levels, the Government has begun blaming teachers by holding them accountable to unreasonable testing and grade metrics despite the fact that there are numerous other problems that exist. The pressure of maintaining these ridiculous standards have led many teachers and school districts across the country to illegitimately pass students along from one grade to the next.
We must stop blaming teachers for our failing education system. They aren't the only ones to blame and they shouldn't be the central focus of blame. Here's six reasons why we shouldn't blame teachers for our failing education system.
1) It's the System
The K-12 public education system is a big business, and anyone who's worked for a big business knows that the worker bee's are constantly the ones to blame, even though it's the executives that are responsible for making the decisions that determine success or failure. The worker bee's are merely doing what they're told. In the education system, teachers are the worker bee's, and it is just as absurd to blame them for the failure of our education system as it is to blame employees for the failure of a business. The fault lies at the top where the decisions that truly make the biggest impact are being made. This includes decisions that affect budgets, technological investments, etc.
2) It's the Students
Some kids just aren't cut out for school. It doesn't matter how good of a teacher they have or how much they're inspired or motivated by their parents. Some kids are just ne'er do wells. I hate to say it, but it's the truth and I like to speak the truth.
3) It's the Parents
Parents are the first line of defense and offense. They have a responsibility for building an environment where learning and education is not just enforced but made enjoyable. It's not enough to simply send your kids off to school and hope the teacher inspires them to care about their future. This is your job as well.
4) It's Society
I'm increasingly becoming convinced that our society doesn't value education, intellect or higher thinking. The educational system as a whole can be blamed for this as well. As a society we've decided and accepted a school system that houses children in factory facilities 8 hours a day where they're each stamped out like clones, one after another they are each thrown into the world with the same attributes. Each new student no better or different than the next. What our school system and our society needs to push is individualism. We can not continue building clones anymore!
5) Keep It Up and No One Will Teach
How would you feel if every time you turned on the news during an election season, you were blamed for your profession failing and ruining the lives of millions of people. Would that encourage you to continue to stay in your field? Furthermore, how would that impact the next generation of people in your field? This is what's happening in teaching. We're demonizing teachers so badly that eventually classrooms will be without teachers, because no one will be inspired to teach. Who wants to deal with the headache of students, parents and the government constantly telling them they're not good enough.
6) Maybe Our Expectations are Too High
Everyone thinks their kids are brilliant. Don't believe me? Go to any big box retailer and you'll see Baby Einstein products in every store. Despite the fact that early learning products have zero evidence of increasing intellect in early childhood and adolescence, millions of parents still buy into the hype that their kids are of above normal intelligence. Every kid isn't equipped to be an "A" student. The fact is, most people's grade point average is similar to their station in life, average. Yes folks, your average person is also an average student. That means that sometimes kids will get "B's" and "C's". But what do most parents say when their kids come home with these grades? They insinuate that they're not good enough or somehow didn't try hard enough. This is nonsense and this approach permanently ruins children's self-esteem and sense of self-worth.
The failure of our education system can't be blamed on one group of individuals. The blame must be placed on all of us. If we each do our part to make things better, then and only then will our education system improve.
Michael Price is an entrepreneur and author of What Next? The Millennial's Guide To Surviving and Thriving in the Real World. An advocate of ideas for radical change, he has received critical acclaim for his lessons in education, career, entrepreneurship, and personal finance.