What Happened to Our Education System?

by Rick McAtee on March 3, 2014


What Happened to Out Education System

What Happened to Our Education System?

by Rick McAtee

What happened to our education system?
Why are our schools doing so poorly?
Why are political agendas taking monies away from students?
Why are our students so far behind other developed countries?

I could keep going with the questions but then I would be doing what the majority think is the best to do – ask the questions, appear informed, and continue on like it will fix itself.  That will not happen.

The amazing thing about the questions we are asking over and over is that we know the answers.  However, we do not want to verbalize them because that would mean taking responsibility for changing the direction and we would not be “politically correct.”  “Politically correct” means what needs to be said isn’t, because to do so would mean you do not care about children, poor people, those with special needs, etc.

The whole concept of “politically correct” was conceived by passive-aggressive people who wanted their way and needed to shut down any discussion that might result in a different outcome.  I do care about children, poor people, and those with special needs.  I definitely have a different opinion and belief of what should be happening in our schools.  Understand that I will be offending those who are “politically correct.”  Changes need to occur and a conversation needs to start where everyone can express their beliefs and opinions without concern about what is “acceptable” in the PC environment that is largely responsible for the current mess.

What happened to our education system?  We lost sight of the purpose of public education.  We somehow allowed the education system to be a catch-all for any social issues that occurred in our society.  We simply added classes to the day to make sure our students had the best social education possible even if it meant removing basic classes.  We wanted the students to feel good. The problem with that approach is an educated person makes decisions based on knowledge and understanding.  Instead of teaching students how to think, assess, speak, discuss, write and communicate, we put classes in to tell them how to think about social issues they needed to support.  Yes, tell them how to think!   We did not allow them to learn how to take information, apply their family values and beliefs, search for different ideas and opinions and then reach an educated conclusion.

The reason we did not let students develop critical analytical skills was they might come to a different conclusion than we “needed” them to reach.  How terrible – students expressing different beliefs and opinions.  A major threat to those who for so long have had their way.

Take a look at what is taught in a regular school day.  I love the physical education choices our students can make.  Look them up and see if you feel that is a good use of tax dollars and student time – Frisbee Golf, one of my favorites!  The purpose of PE was to make sure the students have physical stimulation and were active for 30 minutes a day.  Some felt that it was not fair to the students who were not good at sports to have to be put through the PE class and it was cruel to make them feel so inadequate or be chosen last.  Who could argue with that?   If you care about children everyone should agree to change PE.

This is a perfect example of what happened to our education system.  Instead of looking at the statement and what was actually happening, changes were made to PE to take up the cause of the poor children who were suffering.  Now we will look at what really happened.  PE was designed to get students moving – running, push-ups, sit-ups, stretches, pull-ups, etc.  We even had the requirement of doing the Presidential Fitness Test.

Students did what they could, pushed themselves to get better and realized where they were weaker than others.  PE also taught team sports.  Students were introduced to a variety of team sports, yes dodge ball was one of them, and learned what sports they were good at and what sports they had absolutely no interest in playing.

Do we have any students that do not need to build muscles, get their heart rate up, and learn routines for a healthier stronger body?  Take a look at what some students elect to take for PE and explain how this meets the actual goal of providing a fitness experience.  The research clearly states movement and exercise that increase the heart rate and get the blood pumping have a direct impact on students and their ability to learn.  Sitting in classrooms for 6 hours a day without movement or exercise has shown a decrease in one’s ability to learn.  With that knowledge, we allowed the schools to add classes and cut PE to twice a week or in some cases, one semester a year.

Solution:  Remove the electives and bring back PE, the arts, English, Math, Science, Reading and let the students attend electives after school. If students opt to play a sport, take ethnic studies, or join a club, it should be on their own time after school.  Oh, here comes the outcry: poor students cannot take advantage of these because it would cost money.   Well it cost money during the school day too!  Plus, it is costing valuable learning time to be lost.

We have churches, organizations, parks, and playgrounds along with a host of other community organizations that are there to help and provide for “free” these activities.  We need to let them offer the activities and let the parents choose which ones their students will attend based on their family values and beliefs.  Oh but here it comes again:  some parents may not give their child what “society” feels they should give them.

I am amazed at the people who feel the schools should get involved in teaching morals and social issues because they do not like what some families are teaching their children.  How pompous of them to think their beliefs and ways are better than the beliefs and values of others.  Remember, education was meant to teach students how to look at information, evaluate the source, and make an informed decision based on family values, teachings and beliefs.

Education was never meant to be a platform to get children to go against family values and teachings or to have access to medical options without parental consent.

Can you state what went wrong with our education system or are you just going to continue to ask questions and pretend you do not know the answer?

Need some more talking points?

Imagine a multimillion-dollar business being run by elected officials who do not have the skills, background, or experience and are elected by popular vote, usually based on a cause.

Imagine lawmakers making laws, rules and regulations to govern the multimillion-dollar businesses in the country.  Never mind where they are located, who they serve, what are their needs, they all must follow and abide by the same rules.  These lawmakers are also not experts in the field, have little knowledge about the business and are elected by popular vote – usually on the PC platform of saving the children.

Are you ready to talk? You have no idea how many hope you will not, so they can continue to have it their way!

Rick McAtee





Rick McAtee

Rick McAtee

Rick developed Cracking the Code and Writing Steps to Success, intervention programs for older students. He is the author of several children’s books.Rick’s work has been featured on an ABC special, “Reading: Your ABCs to Success”, the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy and numerous newspaper articles. Rick taught for sixteen years and has an M.S. in reading. He works as a reading consultant and staff developer throughout the United States and Canada focusing on implementing programs for at-risk students. He serves on the board of the Marana Foundation for Educational Excellence.

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