My sister sent me this email as a follow up to my last blog on education. I thought it was good, so I wanted to put it here:
I just read your blog. I agree. There are too many pointless distractions. In a school that is close to failing, but is sure to have some sort of dress up week every month in some way, I think that priorities are messed up. It’s amazing how our school probably had the least school spirit and no such thing as popularity but probably had the most people go on to college and careers. It would be an interesting study. I bet it would all be related. Maybe I should get a grant to study that. People forgot what school was really about a long time ago. I hate the merit pay. It will ruin education even more. The only people it will encourage are horrible teachers who are only interested in their own gain and glory.
Here is what I emailed her back:
I totally agree with you. The idea of merit pay will only be helpful for jerks who suck up to administrators to get in at good schools with good test scores or who get the good students, regardless of whether or not they are good teachers. Put a great teacher in a bad school where kids aren’t taught the value of education at home, and a great teacher can’t succeed there. Put a bad teacher in a great school with wealthy kids whose parents want them to do well in school, and they will get the merit pay. Pure crap.
If they took all the silliness out of the schools and actually focused on education, then maybe they wouldn’t have such a bad school. If I ever have kids, the first day the kid comes home and tell me that it is “pajama day” at school tomorrow is the day I withdraw my kid from that school and tell them that they are going to a different school tomorrow.
I agree with you about the study. I would start by removing the following from schools – cheerleading, homecoming dance and courts, proms, student government, and “dance teams.” If some parent complained that I was taking away their kid’s chance to get a “cheerleading scholarship” to college, then I would tell them to have their kid study more so they could get a real scholarship, not some fake one. Then, I would defer the savings from all of those programs into a fund for science education.
Then, I would get all European on them and take all kids that weren’t working hard on academics and put them in some technical high school program. At least they can learn a useful skill that way.
Sadly, no one would ever vote for me to institute this plan in any school district in America.