Education is like a math problem TEACHER + STUDENT + PARENT = SUCCESSFUL EDUCATION. To get the correct answer you must have all of the data correctly imputed into the equation. If you are missing any one of the three, your answer will be incorrect. In education today we seem to be focusing on one aspect of the equation – the teacher. While this attention is good and the ideas being generated are beneficial, it is still only part of the equation. Often times we over look the role of the student and parents in this equation.
Over the past week, I have had three different conversations with students that have made me ponder this topic. My conversation went like this. “Billy – what’s going on buddy? I’m not getting much in the way of work from you.” Billy responds with, ” Yeah I know.” “Well Billy if I don’t get some work ,how are you going to pass this class?” Billy then responds with, “I guess I won’t.” “Don’t you want to be able to get a good job and provide for a family in the future?” Billy responds with, “Yeah but my parent never graduated, and they do just fine.” The equation in this instance is broken.
Often times educational reform does not consider the needs of the students and the culture in which the student lives. These are two critical components of the educational equation. Without addressing these needs, we can fire every teacher, create new laws, and new curriculum; but we will still get the wrong answer, because we have only addressed one aspect of the equation. All of the government plans and programs address the teacher and set goals for schools, but none of this can be achieved if we do not address the needs of the students and our country’s view of education.
Everyone agrees that education is a priority in our culture. But is it truly? If it is a priority, then we as a society need to do whatever we can to support and improve education. Currently, all we see are cuts in education, so obviously this is not a priority. If it was, we would look at other areas in budget to make cuts. This is not to say that we should not make any cuts in education, but rather if it was a true priority cuts would be minimal. To reform education we must address all of the parts of the equation.
If we as a society truly support education, then we need to show that we do. When we look at educational reform we must look at student needs, society’s view of education, and teaching standards and address all aspects of the equation to truly alter our educational system. We have to remember the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. True reform must contain all of the elements of the equation to truly be successful.
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