Monday, June 1, 2009


Education has been in the news lately. What's new? But some of the articles sparked my interest and made me wonder if some overhauling changes may be coming that could not only refrom the U.S. Education system, but possibly restore it to the former glory days in the 50's when, as Mikey says, "A U.S. education was the envy of the world."

A few weeks ago we heard California Senator Howard "Buck" McKeon came and spoke to us. He's a ranking member in the Committee on Education and Labor and one intern asked him what his take was on the talk to dissolve the Department of Education. (I'm bankning on some Pell Grants so this seemed like a terrible idea to me, but money aside, I think it's unwise).

Talk was spurred after the lecture and Mikey and I quickly joined in on the debate about the Department of Education, public schools, vouchers etc. I had a lot to say, but felt underqualified compared to these interns who were spouting off intiatives and bills currently up for debate. All I could really say was from experience and growing up with a mother devoted to the public school system.

One of the intern's wife is working for a family who pays a whopping 30 grand per student per year to send their 3 kids to some fancy schmancy private school where the 6th-grader is currently learning Mandarin Chinese. Impressive no? But my first reaction was that schools like this will be great for the priviledged few, but what sort of stratification is going to be perpetuated by schools like this? My fear is that a voucher system would create more schools like this, drawing the more capable students to those schools and leaving public schools with students who are unmotivated, of low socioeconomic homes, and all-in-all disinterested in school. Another intern said private schools are the only way to go. I wanted to punch him.

No matter what we think the solution is, it is evident that something needs to be done to save our national school system.

While listening to NPR this afternoon they were interviewing kids and parents who participated in a program called "Capitol Gains" which basically pays students for grades and attendance. Some students vouched for the program, saying it really did motivate them and their friends and they saw changes in the classroom. Some said they put aside the money they got for grades for college. Others said that students should be motivated by the pursuit of knowledge (suck up).

Here's what I think. I think that students just assume they'll pass and it has created a laxidasical attitude. If we bumped up

John Hopkins said that 40% of drop outs can be predicted by 6th grade.

Bottom line is , education should not be recieved, it should be achieved.

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