This week NBC is featuring many segments on the future of education in our country. Why am I so interested? Well, there are multiple reasons I am engaged in this debate on many different levels and reasons why I think EVERY American should be paying more attention to the state of our public schools. Here are my reasons for caring:
– As a teacher, regardless of where I teach, I want the very best for every single one of my students. I also want to keep growing and learning professionally. I want to be the best I can be; which means constantly adapting and learning…which of course, costs money.
– As a bonus-parent, I want the very best for my children no matter where they attend school. They deserve the best teachers, materials, and infrastructure they can get!
– As a tax-payer, I contribute a chunk of charge to my school system and I know it is my CIVIC DUTY to hold the public school system accountable for those dollars.
– As a political science student, education is a highly controversial public policy area with an abundance of research in various aspects of the field. I love to study trends in education and brainstorm solutions for the future.
I am sure there are many other reasons I could list, but I will let you come up with a few of your own. The point is, it does not matter who you are, how much money you have, how much access you have to quality schools and teachers, public education is OUR issue. It is not an issue of the past, or the present, it is the key to our future.
Now that you understand why I care, I would like to provide you with a few bits of information that might make you care, or at least make you pay attention to the debate.
A few statistics to make you think – or make you angry when you read my comments.
– Virginia graduated about 76% of students within a 4-year time period in 2008. What happened to the rest of our students? Did they take 5 years? 6 years? Or did they give up? Did they ever even get a GED? I can tell you one thing, I bet none of them are reading this blog post. So I pose the question to you, what are they doing? Are they successful, happy, financially secure?
-Among those graduates, 84% of the white and Asian students graduated in 4 years, and only 68% of black students graduated in 4 years. Why the disparity? Should their be programs aimed at retaining black students and ensuring their success throughout their high school careers? What can we do to encourage ALL Virginia student to get through high school within 4 years?
-The average career span of a teacher is now 5 years. Seriously? When did that become the norm for educators? What are we doing wrong as a country to discourage so many from heading into this wonderful profession? How can we fix it?
-Menchville High School in Newport News graduates 85% of their 4 year cohorts each year. Is that a good statistic in your mind? It is better than the average Virginia high school, but does that make it elite?
-Can our future generations live in this type of economy without key skills and without graduating from high school? A GED or high school diploma increases earning potential by $9,000 per year, and a bachelor’s degree by almost $16,000 on top of that.
I know you have heard it all before; education is essential to our survival! Thanks for reading my rambling – I hope I increased your awareness of this issue..even if only by a small fraction. Our future depends on the steps we take today.
Visit: http://www.educationnation.com// to see more coverage of education nations and find more interesting articles, statistics, and online learning tools.