Education: Is it working?
This is a question that is coming up more and more along with how much more money should be spent on it. Most politicians love to talk about spending more on it as it is like motherhood and apple pie; no one will criticize it. Few can or will argue money isn’t helping improve it and in the spirit of fixing it (and getting re-elected I fear!) most campaign with promises to spend more on it. To me they are admitting that it isn’t working well now and money will fix the problem.
I admit to be one of the folks who wonder how much more we need to spend as it increases every year. How much is enough? Why do we think we need to spend more; will that help?
Whenever I talk with teacher friends I usually hear about the stress, long hours and extra work they have to do. I admit I am not sympathetic as I have been in the business world where those things exist and there are no lengthy vacation periods several times a year. But I would bet that every teacher I know is passionate about teaching and wants their students to succeed.
With these things in mind, I have been thinking about education a bit today. It occurred to me that the teachers may be right, they may be overworked! But the reason may be that they are overregulated! Both parties seem to put new plans in place that require reporting and extra hassle for the teacher. It seems to me that they are plagued with the same issue businesses complain about, too much regulation! Business say regulations hurts their productivity, how about teachers who spend time reporting rather than teaching? Is that the reason class sizes need to be low, to give teachers the time to do reports? Could they handle larger classes if they didn’t? Could they be more effective if left to “run their own business” like my business friends want? Do unions and their regulations make teaching harder also? Is it a hassle to meet all the government and union requirements for hiring?
Years ago we used to have one room schools that many people did very well in and rose to prominent positions in he country. Kids from kindergarten through 6th or 8th grade were taught by one teacher, often dealing with 25 kids at different grade levels. They learned discipline, how to read and learn, and how to help others. There was no political correctness then, only learning respect for each other. Not a bad concept to bring back!
Maybe we have made it too complicated to be successful. And too expensive to sustain.