Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Right to a Fair Education. Rocking the Boat: Throwing outComplacency and Bad Apples

Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy recently got some heat from Teacher Union leaders about his 163 page solution to revamp the educational system in this state. Getting heat for this is a given! Just imagine, Union leaders will reflex immediately. Their job depends on it. They oversee an army of professionals whom rely on the protection of a union. Unions are important, and they take care of Education professionals. Without them, school districts would be able to do as they please pretty much. Job security would be a tenuous affair.

The problem today is that Connecticut public school systems, particularly those in low-income communities are failing to equip the students to go on to college with the necessary skills. Many, not all, kids have minimum paper writing skills, their math skills are dismal, and their own idea of what the future holds for them is skewed. Things look bleak for them. For many African-American children, for example, feelings that the bus has left the station without them are prevalent. I know this to be a fact. I am a private Special Educator, and Executive Functions Skills Coach who works with a wide assortment of children across the Westchester County, the Fairfield County region, and other counties deeper into Ct. I work with kids who attend private, as well as public schools. Some of these kids go to the very best private schools, and others go to low-income public schools. They come from all walks of life.

Ladies and gentleman, there is a tremendous gap between what is expected of kids in many private schools, and what is expected of students in public schools. This 'gap' is so humongous that I do not forsee it being bridged for this current generation of children. The only immediate remedy a family can do is to hire tutors, and different kinds of coaches to make up the lost ground. This is very expensive, and is a long, arduous process, especially the older the children are.

Remedies and solutions flow like milk and honey, but implementation, and assessment of these corrective initiatives are caught up in political tape, and bureaucratic dealings. All this happens while the kids get older and older. Years go by, and before we know it, we look back and wonder how some of these auto-correction programs faired. What I see is that things kinda' stay the same way. The priveledged go on to good schools and 'run' things, while those who got the short end of the stick are left to make the best of themselves. Sure, some of these children make it out, and are able to excel, but most are heavily impacted by the quality of education they received.

So where is the crux of the problem? To go straight to the point, because you want me to, its crappy Teachers, and an established culture of complacency, whereby we teach to the lowest common denominator. Unions are filled with both good and bad Teachers. They protect all though. It serves them well apparently. Complacent school cultures imply complacent administrators, and narrow-minded Educational purse-holders.

So do we do away with unions? No, of course not. Do we battle them? No, we try to work with them to 'weed' out the bad apples. But, if they are hard to work with at every turn, we seek the law to help us, and we push, push, push. In order to this you need a team of genuine overseers who do not have private agendas. People who truly care, smart people who mean business. Parents, other Education professionals, politicians, all coming together.

It is not about securing Teacher paychecks, it is about securing the future of children. It is about securing our own future. Those children are us.

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