COLUMBIA — High school graduations are just around the corner. Kids will be pulling on the caps and gowns and getting ready to walk down the aisle.
High schools have been taking a bad rap over the last few years. The latest crop of bad news has been about the teacher cheating scandals that have been going on in several parts of the country. Several dozen teachers were convicted in Atlanta of cheating on test scores and fired from their jobs. These teachers were accused of erasing incorrect answers and correcting them on students' papers.
Apparently teachers have forgotten how to teach. The prevailing thought seems to be that students have lost interest in school, so unless they are provided with the right answers to test scores they are unable to pass. Why have students lost interest in schools? An obvious answer would be that students no longer feel challenged by the materials they are offered or the way they are offered.
For years, individuals have been experimenting with new ways to educate kids, and they have been failing. The ways in which teachers have taught students for years seemed to have worked fine, until they started with newly developed philosophies. The business of "teaching to the test" seemed to encourage a great deal of conflict.
With such a great number of students dropping out of schools each year, a problem apparently exists. It seems to me that the problem is big enough for us to have a national program to examine the issue. We definitely need to find out what is causing our education system to fail. We are falling far behind other countries in fulfilling our educational goals, and we need to find out why.
Having to rely on other countries to furnish us with educated professionals is embarassing. Surely, we have enough educational institutions in the various fields to supply us with the people we need to run our corporations.
Maybe we need to run schools year-round. Although, it seems to me that if we have not needed to do that for all these years then, apparently, we have a new problem.
Every generation presents new challenges. We certainly have the world’s greatest technology. Surely, by combining that technology with our experience we should be able to produce an educational model that would stun the world.
One thing is for certain. We should not be going backward. We shouldn’t be headed into the 21st century carrying an uneducated populace on our backs.
Our time in history is now. Let’s get to work using it wisely.