Why is it there is nothing that is happening to help our public education system? Why is it that we are falling behind all other nations when the U.S. was looked at as the leader in so many industries and the place where dreams come true? Our country is changing...and changing for the worse, at least when it comes to education. Let me share an example of poor grammar and poor communication I personally faced during 'Open House' as my 13 year old returned to middle school this year.
If you wonder where communication goes wrong, when things change and alter the boys and girls who will be in the workforce as supposedly well-educated men and women, just visit a middle school in North Carolina. Maybe you can relate to what I faced today. And maybe there are other middle schools just as inept, unorganized and pathetic when it comes to helping parents and students begin the new school year during what is called, ‘Open House.’
My 13 year-old had to miss Open House. But we'll get to that in a minute. Today, Monday my son’s ‘Open House’ was held from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. My son is in 7th grade. He is playing football for the first time. So, let’s talk about tonight’s chaos. It begins with the fact that football practice was scheduled from 6pm to 8pm. You may be saying, wait a minute. I thought you said that your son’s school ‘Open House’ was from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. And I would say, ‘you are correct!’ So, at the same time my son is supposed to visit seven different rooms and meet seven new teachers, he is also supposed to be ready to practice football in full gear by 6pm. I will call this Cluster #1.
Let’s move on. Shall we? Since there really wasn’t any time for my son to meet even his homeroom teacher, I sent him off to get his gear on and at least be on time for practice as try outs take place through this Wednesday. Next, I kept my son’s class schedule and plunged into the nightmare of halls filled will hundreds of parents and other kids trying to meet with their child’s homeroom teacher and the other six teachers, while locating the different rooms. The air conditioning was not on. The school’s air conditioning system is on a timer. Since it was past school hours, the air conditioning automatically cut off. I could feel my back getting wet from sweat. This was Cluster #2.
I should mention that my 9 year-old son was with me as well. So, as I tried to continuously say, ‘Excuse me. Pardon me’ to weave my way through the throngs of people clogging up every artery or hallway of the middle school, I was also praying that I would still be able to keep my other son from getting swallowed up by the crowd.
The entire school was pulsating and buzzing with confusion and distress as mothers and fathers tried to review their child’s school schedule, while at the same time look around them at the numbers on the class doors to see if they had finally made it to even one of the seven classes their son or daughter would spend about 40 minutes of every school day. To be fair, there was a registration table made available to help parents navigate through the Open House maze to the various classes. But the line for this was longer than even the longest lines waiting outside classroom doors to meet with the teacher who parents hoped would be inside. Registration table? Cluster #3
The homeroom teacher my son was given was listed in room 14. Apparently, she was assigned a different room and the “computer process hadn’t caught up.” The room was actually in a trailer out back. More walking. More sweat. Another line to wait in. Wasted time. Cluster #4
Homeroom teachers are given updated print outs of each student’s class schedule. My son’s homeroom teacher didn’t seem to have these sheets. Where the word ‘unknown’ was listed, because the school did not know who the teacher would be, the homeroom teacher instructed me to scratch out ‘unknown’ and put in what information she had. Cluster #5
There were two lines for P.E. (physical education) that covered the full length of the gymnasium and went out both doors headed in different directions. I skipped trying to meet with the P.E. instructor. Cluster #6
I could go on but really I’m sure you get the picture – the hot, sweaty, sticky, unorganized cluster of what is supposed to be a time of introduction between students, parents and teachers. If this is how we show our children what the process is to jam hundreds of men, women and children into a sweaty oven for two hours and call it ‘Open House,’ there is much to be concerned with when it comes to every day of ‘education’ our boys and girls receive. The lack of organization, sufficient information and overall bedlam is inexcusable. Yet our boys and girls know nothing else. So, how is it that we are getting our children ready for the business world? How can these young men and women grow up to be ready at all to run a business, to manage other men and women and to handle mayhem if, to them disarray is merely accepted as ‘a suitable process?’
America, our children are indeed receiving some form of education. To what degree it will help them in the world of business is hard to tell. With limited school funds, lack of management skills and unruliness taking over even before the first bell rings, it seems we, the parents are being ‘schooled’ in ways we never could have imagined.
Moms and Dads, Grandmothers and Grandfathers, Foster Parents, welcome to the time again when all our children head back to school. It’s time to review everything presented to our sons and daughters and re-educate where necessary before the mismanagement and disorganization becomes the ‘norm’ in every area of business including the nursing homes and health care facilities we may one day call home.
So, where has my son's education gone from here? If you wonder where the perception of football players not being as knowledgeable as other students, there is a story I will share with you tomorrow. For now, take the time to review this important trailer to the documentary, "Waiting for Superman." This is a 'must see' if you want to know the truth about America's educational system and just what our children are receiving that simply can not prepare them to become successful leaders for our future. Be warned. The movie and its content will shock you. Also note that there are many teachers who give all and more than all they can. It is time to praise and reward those who do their very best and are making a difference for our children's education. Additionally, it is time to eliminate the teachers and principals who have made no significant positive difference in the school system where they work to make room for the educators who so want to help be a part of the solution.