As I have done every morning of my Spring Break, I woke up this morning and sat down to read my e-mails. Yet this morning I receive a link to the following article titled “Education Secretary says kids need more school” (http://www.9news.com/news/article.aspx?storyid=113300&provider=top&catid=188)
Now, as a teacher and a parent, I have a few problems with some of what is presented in this article. First of all, our students in Florida cannot seem to make it to school for 7.5 hours a day for 180 days a year, but we’re going to talk about longer days for more of the year? I understand the global competition that our students and children are facing, but those other countries have one major thing that our country has lost . . . the image that education is important! Our students are being brought up in a society where the highest paid individuals are athletes and entertainers and the importance of education is on the back burner. Sure there are medical professionals and scientists who earn decent money, but it is pale compared to star baseball players . . .and who wants to work in a lab your whole life when you can play a game your whole life and make more money doing so!
Our society has put so much emphasis on material possessions and income that we have lost the love for learning. Look at how much cheating goes on in school because students need a good GPA to receive the sports scholarships that (they think) will lead them to stardom! Yet, as much emphasis as society puts on money, in Florida our education system has none! The article states how “Colorado, along with other states, is prepping to apply for some $5 billion worth of federal education grants coming through the economic stimulus package” and how “The principal at the high school Duncan visited announced to the students and teachers that the school has already received its portion, about $200,000. “It’s here!” principal Kristin Waters cried, to cheers from the staff.” Well, that’s great for them, but here in my home state we are losing teachers and support staff, being told we can’t have substitutes, and praying that our dry erase markers and copier ink cartridges don’t run out before we get some relief! We’re not seeing the start of stimulus money . . . as a matter of fact, we are not even seeing the full budget that was presented for the current school year!
More hours, more days in school? We can’t even afford the hours and days we have now! Mr. Duncan, I think you need to come visit state number 50 on the per pupil spending list . . . start your reform here! Our teachers are the best because we are still able to meet standards with less (and less, and even less) every year! We are losing art, music and PE . . . we can’t go on field trips . . . some counties are even talking about cutting back their graduation ceremonies! So how can we even consider more time in school, who will pay for the electricity, the extra supplies and teachers’ salaries (since Florida teachers are already some of the lowest paid in the country, there’s no way teachers will agree to work more without more pay!) Let’s look at the whole picture and not let competition with other countries start to drive our education system like it does everything else . . . selfish pride has no place in the educational system of America!