I have found exactly what is wrong with the public school system. It’s right there, a simple word: System. The fact that it is a system at all is the core problem behind it working effectively to teach and shape our children.
When I think of the word system I envision a well oiled machine. An assembly line punching out parts in record time for manufacturing everything equally and exactly the same.
I don’t know about you, but no two human beings are identical. We are not parts of a machine cranked out by a system. We each have our own unique personality traits, strengths, and talents. We each have our own unique challenges and struggles.
But in public schools, it would seem that parents and students alike are expected to be a part of this machine. We are expected to buy into this system in order for it to work correctly – or I should say, in order to squash all individuality and make the teachers and administrators jobs easier and show good testing scores and results to the District and the State.
As I recently found, from a local elementary school administrator, children as young as the third grade are expected to “buy into the system” and not “push back”. How to do I know this? Those exact words were used to describe my 9 year old daughter. Yes, I was told by the school administration that she just isn’t “buying into the system and is pushing back.”
Here’s how I would describer her: Intelligent (as shown in her academic test scores), fiercely independent, a natural leader, and full of energy. If I were describing an adult, I’m sure most of you would agree that each of those characteristics define some of the most successful. Unfortunately, in the public school ‘system’ those words describe a child that is a problem.
This “system” that we entrust our children to day after day, often does not have their best interests at hand, for the simple fact that our teachers and staff are focused on numbers and scores and results to hand over to the district and the state at the end of the year. The ‘system’ expects children to sit still, and conform to a predetermined mold of what they think a good student is, in order for that oiled machine to work correctly.
Here’s the issue – you cannot conform a child to who YOU think they should be. They are who they are and it is the education departments job to recognize that. To recognize that each child is an individual, and to stop looking at them as part of a system, a machine, cranking out manufactured products.
Teachers are given tools to address different personality types and teach to a multitude of learning styles, so why then, with all of the current research available, are our children still being expected to “buy into the system”.
Our children have no concept of this so-called system. They trust their schools and their teachers. They trust that they are being sent to those walls 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, to learn in their own style on their own time – not that they will be expected to change their personalities to better suit the needs of the system.
I for one am glad that I have a strong, independent little girl that isn’t afraid to “push back” when something just doesn’t feel right. Respect is important, yes, but I will never teach my child to change who she is or to back down in order to fit into this system. Why would I want my child to conform to something she isn’t?
As parents we need to recognize our child’s unique abilities and differences an advocate for them. Our children deserve to be in a learning environment that is built for them, not built for the system. An environment that will encourage children to be themselves, to build their confidence, and ultimately give them the necessary tools for success.
The system is broken. The system needs to change. The system, I fear, is doing more harm that good to those children who just don’t “buy into it”. So why is it there? Studies show that our education in the united states is clearly lacking, yet the “system” remains in place. The same broken system continues to break down the children who just don’t ‘buy into it’ and instead of changing, we just keep plugging along in that well oiled machine, trying to crank out as many parts a we can, all while giving nothing to our children that will help them reach their full potential.
Our children CAN be successful, but only if we as parents, teachers, and administrators change. We have to see each child’s uniqueness and instead of encouraging them to buy into a broken system, work together to create a system that actually works. A place that all kids can feel safe and confident to achieve their highest potential.