Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What To Do With This Broken Educational System?

I recently wrote yet another letter to President Obama, this time giving him a suggestion on fixing the school system.

Basically, the argument goes like this:

1Teachers get laid off due to a lack of funding.
2School year and school week gets shortened.
3A band aid fix could be dumping more water (money) into a broken glass (the school system).

This is a bad solution because it really doesn't fix anything for more than one year and adds debt.

Instead, why not go ahead and allocate that money to a lasting solution. There is already talk of making broadband available to everyone as a new communication standard. Put this into action now! Get computers in homes and wireless broadband for all. Do it well and right the first time.

Pay would decrease with teachers working from home, but they wouldn't need to drive to work (less gas) and also wouldn't be contributing to global warming. Suddenly, electric cars, even these early ones with shorter ranges seem a more viable choice for many people.

You could adapt this to other industries I suppose, but education is due for an overhaul.

Cutting jobs is a bad idea.
Shorter days is another bad idea.

Get families involved in their child's education, help them plan to get all their work done and take pride in their children.

For those of you still reading, here's my letter:

"Dear Mr. and Mrs. Obama,

I am a former tenured teacher for a local BOCES. I lost my job last year and have learned to live with less on the unemployment checks I'm so glad to have coming in.

There was a time when I would scoff at a paycheck like my unemployment, but now I have learned to live happily with less.

As a Christian, I have discovered that Faith is something I at least have enough of to get me through and it grows stronger every day.

I worked as a teacher in jails, and in Alternative schools, as well as acting in the capacity of Crisis Counselor for the alternative middle and high schools and finally gained tenure last year. That was also the year my weeping administrators told me they had to let me go.

This is sad, but the truth of the matter is it's been an opportunity for me to work on building a web based business out of some former false starts and side projects, and changing my life's direction completely. This is a very exciting time for me because I'm a saver and will be able to weather the storm. Sure, I spend less money. A lot less, in fact. Now that I've done what everyone expected of me and gotten a teaching job and a Master's Degree, I have a rare shot to put my best foot forward and try something that I've always wanted to pursue full time. My only regret is that the kids that need the most attention and help don't get it. I'm a big boy and I'll make my way, one way or another. But those kids are losing something valuable.

I know that many more teachers are also about to go through this- hopefully their districts will have the foresight to provide counseling services, as mine did and I found it helpful.

My suggestion is that if we're to add to the budget deficit, it might as well do good for the ones it's most important to. Namely, the students.

Rather than borrowing a lot of money as a temporary measure that will have to be repeated, why not use that money instead to upgrade houses and communities with wireless broadband and computers?

Have the teachers teach from home. Less money in salaries, but you also don't have to leave the house/ contribute to foreign oil dependence.

In addition, families who have adults living at home would have to more involved in their child's education, which could help heal a lot of broken homes and families.

Just my two cents worth, and keep up the good work. I'm someone who has had a renewed sense of pride in my country despite being laid off.

That is largely because of the inspirational way in which you have essentially stopped a speeding locomotive and are helping to not only stop it, but also to push it in the other direction.

God Bless,


Thanks for reading.

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