Friday, November 10, 2006

The Past

I think I just figured out the problem with education today. Years and years ago, when I was a new teacher, the government realized that many kids were severely lacking in math and reading skills. Because of this, a Title I program was created. I don't really know what was done for the reading part, but I do know about the math. I would have been out of a job, except for this program. My classes consisted of 12 students. I worked with a paraprofessional. Each child had a folder in the classroom and the work they did in that class was geared toward that individual child's needs. Along with the Title I class, the students took a regular math class, usually a fundamentals class. We not only worked on the basic skills, but we worked on anything else the kids needed help with. Years ago, I had my own room. I had many different kinds of activities for them to work on. Imagine, I actually got to help my students and saw many of them succeed. I remember one girl, a high school senior, who had somehow fallen through the cracks in the system and could not count past 100. The thought of this kid in Math A today is frightening.

I am not naive enough to think that the Title I remedial program was the answer to all the problems that plague education today, but it was a start. At least kids were not cutting or acting out becauae the work was too hard. Some of the kids I teach today are no brighter than the kids I taught then. We are still graduating kids that do not have basic academic skills. It doesn't matter how many regents their record shows they have passed. I wish these kids could get the same kind of help that was given out 30 years ago.

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