Our Failing Education System Who is at Fault
The Education in this country is in bad shape. America ranks close to the bottom when compared to other countries. These other countries score better on tests and seem to have a higher value for education. Why is this?
I have dealt with school systems in two different states, Tennessee and Georgia, in different cities within each state. There is a contrast between the two education systems in place. Why, should a student be punished with a bad curriculum just based on where they live?
I started my investigation by looking into the numbers of the local school systems where I reside, Davidson County Tennessee. The numbers were appalling, these figures brought up more questions. The glaring one, why do inner city schools have a higher dropout rate, failure rate, and just do not seem to be teaching the kids enough math to give change at the local McDonald’s?
I want to know so I did my own little survey on a local level. I talked to a couple of managers in the East Nashville area. What they told me was shocking. ‘Most applicants can’t even read the application and need help from the manager to fill it out. If they can read it, their penmanship is so bad it can’t be read once they turn it in.’ What has happened to teaching the R’s, Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic?
I put together a team for a hands on survey. Not so much enlisted them, because we all live in the same house, and they were game because we got to eat out, a lot. The team members were Kathy Douglas, Tyler Clay, Joan Clay, and myself the famous (in his mind only) Joe Clay. The survey was conducted over six months. Three summer months and three while school was in. One visit a week for a total of 25 visits.
Scenario 1: High School Students at the Wendy’s on Gallatin Road in East Nashville VS the High School Students at the Wendy’s on Main Street in Hendersonville, TN. The orders, double with no cheese, six cheese sticks, a single with cheese, and a chicken club. The drink orders, two Cokes, one tea, one water. East Nashville got the order wrong 90% of the time, the food was also cold, and the drink order was wrong 65% of the time. The employees were not friendly; they were not rude, but did act like they were doing us a favor. Hendersonville got the order right 98% of the time, and served it with a smile and a thank you. The food was always hot and the drink order was correct 100% of the time. I know what you are thinking; it has nothing to do with education just poor work ethic. I beg to differ, and here is why; for some reason a hamburger has cheese on it, if you order one without cheese they print out a grill ticket, the cooks in East Nashville could not read the ticket. The six cheese sticks were wrong 75% of the time, the count was off by one we either got seven or five. This is math folks, simple counting. That my friend has to do with education, these kids in East Nashville are not getting the basics.
Scenario 2: Cashiers at the HG Hills in East Nashville VS The Cashiers at HG Hills Hendersonville. The purchase Bunny Bread, six-pack of HG Hill brand coke, one pound of ground beef, and one pound of coffee, the total with tax, $15.82. The cashier was given a twenty, and once she hit the amount tendered key we handed her two pennies.
The results: East Nashville cashier got the change wrong 65% of the time, Hendersonville got the change right 100% of the time. The Nashville cashiers could not calculate in their heads what difference the two pennies made. This may be why a National Test put Tennessee schools near the bottom when it comes to Math proficiency.
I have more cases, like the one while living in Newnan, Georgia. A mother bought her son in to apply for a job. He had on short pants, sandals, and a base-ball hat. I ask if he had transportation and his mother said yes, I just brought him today to help him fill out the application, he can’t read too well.
The Numbers for Tennessee
- 28,000 Dropped out of High School in 2008.
- Approximately 1.2 Million adults over 18 have no High School Diploma.
- 67% of Hope Scholarship recipients fail to keep it for four years.
- 4th Graders ranked 44th in Math.
- 8th Graders ranked 37th in Math.
- 8th Graders have a Non-Proficient rate of 77% in Math and 75% in Reading.
- In spending the average in Tennessee, $8,022 Per Pupil, The National per Pupil Rate is $9,963, with the Southeast Region at $8,969.
- Teacher Salary average 33rd, with Starting pay ranked at 22nd.
- Students per teacher average is 15.5
Now the break down between the 2 counties Davidson vs. Sumner
- Sumner County Per Pupil Rate $7,444, with a 1% High School dropout rate in 2009
- Davidson County Per Pupil Rate $9,586, with a 6% High School dropout rate in 2009
- National average Dropout Rate 4.4% in 2007
What do the numbers tell us? More money for education, is that the answer? Education is about the only thing I would agree on for higher taxes. However that does not seem to be an issue in Sumner County as they are spending less than Davidson County with a lower dropout rate. Maybe it is the teachers that need more money. TN. is ranked 33rd in teacher salary. I agree the teachers need more money, but so does everyone else. I have several Facebook friends who are teachers; I have a daughter who is a teacher and one in school to be a teacher. My brother is married to a teacher and my ex mother-n-law is a retired teacher. Teachers are like Firemen and Police Officers It takes a special breed of person to be in one of these professions. Teachers have more passion for what they do than most people have about their job. Sure some are not that good but in every group you have some bad apples. The above group in general conversation complained about one thing, from that complaint I formed a conclusion. People it is not the teachers. Well if it is not the teachers, it must be the kids. The kids in inner city schools just can’t learn as well as those in other schools. There is no scientific study that will back that up. Some kids have a learning disability, but guess what we have special teachers for them, I know one and she has the biggest heart and loves to help. Who is at blame here, we got to blame someone? The PARENTS are to blame, that is right you and I. Simple, in order for a teacher to teach she must have the undivided attention of the class. The school system is full of kids who have no respect for authority. The biggest distraction to a student is other students. Where did the children learn such disrespect? A child imitates their parent/parents; no ifs ands or buts. Single parents get off the kick that coming from a broken home is an excuse, it is not. My parents were divorced, and now I’m a single parent. Sure it is hard but there is no reason you can’t teach your child manners, self-respect, self-control, and discipline. You should want more for your child than you had.
Here are some thoughts on how to get parents more involved in the lives and education of their children.
- If your child skips school with so many unexcused absences, the parent is penalized twenty-five dollars per day after the limit of days has been met.
- If your child (Under the age of 18) is picked up for skipping school, the parent will be penalized twenty-five dollars every day, if they can’t pay the fine then jail time.
- Your child breaks the law; the parent does the time with the child.
- Your child is disruptive in class the parent is penalized twenty-five dollars/or jail time
With all this new money being generated by these fines; the school system could pay teachers a better salary, buy updated supplies, and improve the education system.
The Religious Side
I also am a firm believer that we should have never taken God out of schools. You do not like to pray do not pray, if you want to pray to a false god go ahead. Let those who believe in the true God pray at the beginning of the day. What is wrong with saying the Pledge of Allegiance, if you take God out you have one nation under. I have heard some people say that this is anti-god, because you are pledging your allegiance to someone other than God. That is bull crap. What does the bible say about the bringing up of children? Let us pull from the Book of Proverbs these teachings about the subject.
New King James Version
- He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
- Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
- Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him.
- Do not withhold correction from a child, For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.
- You shall beat him with a rod, And deliver his soul from hell.
- The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
Let us take responsibility for our children; after all they are the future of this world, and deserve better than we had. Check your area school ratings; look into private education or even home schooling. Together we change how our children are taught.
I never got around to solving the national education systems issues, but it is easy to see why the USA ranks so low just from a brief glimpse into my local education system. Does our government care about education, yes the lack of. A country that is uneducated is easier to rule, a country that hands out entitlements controls those who receive them.
All I really want is to go 2 miles up the road and order a double with no cheese and it is correct!
Bible Verses from http://www.biblegateway.com/
Teachers Salaries and rankings from http://teacherportal.com/
Sumner and Davidson Stats:
All other Stats: