This is my response to the Momversation question: “Are we raising a nation of dumbasses?”
Oh. Where to start.
Let’s start with the video.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
(RSS readers – there’s a video. Please click over to watch it).
Readers that have been keeping track of my blog for some time will likely know my response to this – I feel like a broken record sometimes, but it bears repeating because no matter how many times you say it, people just don’t seem to get it:
Money doesn’t fix problems, it only makes it more complicated.
I agree with Daphne’s outrage about the money we’re spending in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya – I think our mission in Iraq and Afghanistan was over a long time ago and apparently not even the White House can tell us what we’re doing in Libya (first declaring that “that Moammar Gadhafi has to go” and setting up the no fly-zone and then saying “”we were going to withdraw” even though Gadhafi was (is) still in power). It’s frustrating enough when America is called upon to serve as a Global police, it’s doubly frustrating when our own government can’t even define what our objective is in the mission.
So yes. I agree money is being squandered on these military operations. I think we need to bring our troops home and let these countries work out their own issues. (Especially since they’re not even thankful for our help to begin with and thwart us at every turn).
BUT. Throwing more money into our education system, right now, is like getting your junk piece of a car detailed when it refuses to start – making it look pretty won’t make it work any better. The problem with our educational system lies within the structure itself.
The entire system needs a complete and thorough over haul before we throw more money at it and hope that somehow fixes it – it won’t. First and foremost, we need to do something about the teachers’ unions. They have a tight stranglehold on our educational system right now so that we can’t really DO anything without running into grievances and lawsuits. As it’s set up now, teachers are in a position to choose to teach or not to teach. They can show up to work every day, refuse to teach our kids and not have to worry about getting reprimanded. They get paid whether they teach or not.
Granted, MOST teachers are not like this. A LOT of teachers are decent, hard-working, people with good intentions, but you and I both know that there are also some pretty terrible teachers out there that take advantage of the system and thumb their noses up at repercussions. It’s nearly impossible to fire a teacher, thanks to the teachers’ unions. Granted, having an organization that watches your back is a good thing, the teachers’ unions have gone too far – they have too much power. They know it, and they abuse it. There is no incentive for these bad teachers to perform to the best of their ability. Why? They’re going to get paid whether they do their jobs or not.
As with any industry, it’s all about competition. If we want good teachers in our schools, then we have to fire the bad ones and replace them with good ones. If teachers have to work to KEEP their jobs, then they will naturally do a BETTER job teaching our kids.
Motivated teachers = well-educated students.
We also need to allow the schools the ability to make their own rules and to spend the money they are granted for the areas they need it most. The government needs to get out of the way and allow the school boards to make those decisions. They know what areas in their district need the most work – give them the freedom to work on those areas.
Cut out wasteful spending. Reallocate funds and restructure existing programs, programs that aren’t working as evidenced by everyone’s complaints that our educational system sucks, and give that money back to teachers. Again, the more incentives teachers have to make more money, the better job they will do teaching our children. Give them an opportunity to make bonuses and it will be evident, pretty quickly, which teachers are motivated to do well and which are not.
Schools need to stop concentrating so much on state tests and concentrate on molding their lessons to help the students. Kids don’t all learn at the same pace, but since the states only grant money to schools who make a certain test score on performance tests, then naturally, that’s what the school’s focus on – making the grade so they can get the money.
Once again, GOVERNMENT IS IN THE WAY OF PROGRESS.
As parents, we need to unite and take an active interest in our children’s education. Too many parents view school as a free babysitter and don’t stay involved in their child’s studies. They don’t teach their children how important school is and how important it is to take it seriously and to respect the institution. And bad teachers? At least for now? Until someone has the balls to actually REFORM our current educational system? Are part of the deal. It’s up to us, the parents, to stay on top of these teachers, to make them accountable and to teach our children how to deal with difficult personalities because assholes? Are everywhere and the sooner our kids learn how to deal with them, the better off they will be.
I’m so sick and tired of people complaining about how this needs more money, or that needs more money. Though money certainly helps motivate and inspire people to do better, it also corrupts and produces greed. No. Our educational system doesn’t need MORE of our money tossed at it (for now), IT NEEDS TO BE REFORMED. It needs to be scrutinized, dismantled, and put back together more efficiently. It needs a strict budget and priorities. After it’s been revamped, THEN let’s see how much money is left over that we can redistribute to areas that really need it.
I bet we’d ALL be surprised just how much money we’ve squandered away over the years as the unions have gotten stronger and at the number of regulations and hoops the government has implemented over the years.
Whenever we have a problem, we all need to STOP yelling for more money. Money doesn’t fix problems, it just complicates problems. A lot of our social structures are out of control because instead of fixing the problems over the years, we’ve just stuck a monetary band-aid on it and called it fixed.
You wouldn’t pay your plumber to stick duct tape on your leaky faucet, you’d expect your plumber to get in there and fix the leak. Same premise.
Wake up, people. Stop throwing money at our problems – WE CAN’T AFFORD ANY MORE FINANCIAL BAND-AIDS.