Ten Tragedies of Education

I always find headlines outlining the failure of schools to be tragic. Not tragedy about the school, but rather that the term is so freely bandied about, while rarely addressing the myriad factors that impact student learning and school success. Here are a few real tragedies in education:
  1. Standardized testing is absolutely annihilating education. It creates an environment where we measure more than we teach. Most research supports this.
  2. Failing schools (and by extension, teachers)  are too often blamed for larger economic issues in poor communities.
  3. Special Education has become more about labels and classification than about individualization.
  4. Public school nutrition is anything but. Menus often rotate between pizza, nuggets, and hot dogs, and we wonder about childhood obesity.
  5. Public education was recently ranked 55th out of 55 sectors, based on its use of information technology…behind coal mining.
  6. The union v. politics war creates a no-win situation. Everybody loses, especially the students.
  7. One of the top factors in school success is overall class sizes (or student/teacher ratio), yet classes have never been larger.
  8. Outdated, decrepit school buildings are not replaced because voters do not care to increase taxes.
  9. Great teaching is seldom celebrated, poor teaching is disproportionately publicized.
  10. American society does not value education in general enough for kids to think becoming educated is important.

Before we declare another school, administrator, or teacher a failure, I would suggest we take a closer look at a few of the factors that have ACTUAL, not perceived, impact in the classroom.

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