I'm sitting here listening to Obama talking about education and I am thinking how totally clueless he is when it comes to this topic.
He's talking about the need for higher education and pushing all Americans to get at least one year of either college or vocational training. He wants America to increase the number of Americans with college degrees.
I wish I could give him this message:
Going to college is a great thing. Getting kids to graduate from high school is something we all should strive to do. But, we have to start making these high school diplomas mean something. Right now, kids are sitting in classes they are not capable of passing. Be realistic, not everyone is college material and has the mental facilities to succeed in academic areas. Regardless, these are the subjects the kids today are being forced to take to get a diploma.
As a teacher, I strive to do the best for my students daily. But, I am also realistic. I know that there are certain things my students cannot master and because of this I cannot teach on as high a level as I would like to. I have to water down the topics and hopefully teach enough to get them to pass the state regents exams. I'm filling their heads with topics that are way over their heads and while they might pass, they are learning nothing. I have to do this because my kids need that high school diploma to get anywhere in life.
You also talk majestically of charter schools. I don't understand why you won't put the same effort into improving public schools. In New York City high schools there are 34 students in each class. In my very overcrowded school, there are kids who arrive at 7:15 AM and others that do not leave until after 5:00 PM. We have classes that meet in substandard trailers. We have class rooms with no windows or ventilation. We have two rooms made where there was once one. The walls between them are so thin that the sound of chalk on the black board is disruptive in the adjoining room. Tutoring takes place in the hallways and often kids cannot even get to tutoring because there is no time for it during the day. Public school teachers are hard working, caring people working in some of the worst conditions around. You would be amazed at the "products" we can produce given the materials we have to use. We need your help. Vouchers and charter schools are not going to do it.
I know I am rambling here, but I can't help it. I voted for you. I sent money to your campaign. I believed in the change that you were promising. I still want to believe but your education policy is scaring me. Please, talk to teachers and visit schools. Visit the public schools and see what is really going on. Ask us. We'll tell you what we need.