Saturday, September 01, 2012

Students as Political Props

It's election-time and once again our children and students are being used as political props in campaign rhetoric aimed at earning votes.

Ranking schools by test results, "cracking down" on bad teachers, holding parents accountable for providing appropriate schema and a healthy lifestyle for their children prior to the start of kindergarten, and of course, the "opportunity" to ~choose~ a better school if the one down the road "fails" all earn roars of approval and ovations from the crowd at every rally.

If America really cared about children and education, no parent or family would have to "choose" one school over another: EVERY school would would be well-equipped, safe, maintained, and staffed by highly qualified and honestly compensated teachers, specialists and administrators. 

As a seventeen-year teaching veteran, it's annoying when political parties, candidates and pundits argue that parents "should be able to choose" the best school for their children. They insist it's a perk when families have to move in order to transfer their children out of their neighborhood school and take them elsewhere, eventually effectively overcrowding that school, so that in time, it too "fails" to reach "academic excellence." The best schools aren't given extra teachers when overcrowding starts to happen. New hallways, wings or auditoriums aren't added on either. And how about those families whose children are "stuck" in the not-so-hot neighborhood school? 

This idea of "choice" and ranking schools MAINTAINS inequality for children: those who CAN move to a better school DO, and those who CAN'T, and who frankly need it most, are trapped with a possible school closure in their future necessitating a move that many families can't afford. Add to the mix varying funding options for school districts, and we've proven we really don't want education equality at all. Nice solution. 

Overhaul education by giving every school the same resources from free/reduced lunch, speech therapy, OT/PT, a guaranteed quality arts program, a healthy living/physical education department, current technology, healthy meals and outdoor learning spaces.  Fill those schools with highly qualified teachers and staff, provide quality professional development opportunities, and pay education professionals commensurate to the job they do. That's as close as we're going to get to education equality, roughly providing every child with necessary resources from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day: what they do with their futures is up to them and their hormones once they reach high school. 

Campaign rhetoric is just talk, and party constituents don't want politicians to walk the walk. Our society isn't ~really~ based on equal opportunity: it's based on how we compare and rank ourselves to other Americans, our children to other children, ourselves to neighbors, to other states, to other cultures. We want the advantages for our children and our family, NOT for others, and believe we are entitled and absolved from accountability to continue this hypocrisy as long as we wear an American flag pin on our lapel.

Shame on us.  What do you think our children will do to their and our tomorrow when they realize how we cheated them today

Political speeches, verbal pandering and emotional manipulations give me heartburn at this stage in my life, which is nothing compared to what it does to my Super Stars.


  1. I so agree with you. You put into words the frustrations I feel with politicians and their goals and promises for children!

  2. Yes, yes, and yes!! I do not understand the me and mine mentality. The concern, in my opinion, should be we and ours. We can not afford to continue the stratified state of educational funding. All schools should be adequately funded to afford students equal opportunities. There is NO place for inequality in education!


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