Hello fellow educators and all those interested in the public education conversation. After enduring several years of a painful family health crisis, I am back and ready to share my personal insights into public education and bring all sides of this institution to task for their often illogical handling of a cherished service that is so important to our country.
I will reintroduce myself so that everyone understands what my background and experience is, and what my general opinion and outlook for education is currently. I am currently teaching my 10th year in secondary mathematics, a subject I really enjoy teaching, and view myself as both a rebel and a leader within my organization. I do not stagnate in my instruction or easily comply with ridiculous policies designed to satisfy politicians without regard to helping students. Students are my top priority, period.
After high school, I enlisted in the military after becoming disillusioned about what I would take in college. Early experience in my original area of study quickly soured me, and I was left to wonder what I would do. The military provided me an escape from my rut in the hopes I would find my interests while seeing the world. Both of these came true as engineering became a new interest while stationed in Europe. My work with communications equipment and the new computers rising in prominence led me to an engineering program and subsequent bachelors degree.
I worked in the technology industry for fifteen years working for some of the larger companies this great country has produced. I learned a great deal about corporate America and what makes companies work and profitable. As an active investor in stocks and options, I still keep myself knowledgeable about American business. While working in the industry, I worked with many individuals from a wide variety of foreign countries. This appealed to me personally, but became an obviously necessary aspect of corporate America to succeed in a competitive world landscape.
At one point in my life I was a registered Republican, but that party alienated me over the years as their priorities differed tremendously from my own. I believe people and community should be our top priority, not the military and American business. While I love American business and the military, they should not be put above the American citizen. I am not a registered Democrat because that party views federal oversight of everything a top priority. I disagree and believe power should reside with the people at the state level. This all makes me an unaffiliated voter who votes his conscience, not a party line. I have voted for both Democrats and Republicans alike.
My view of the American public education system is that it falls short of its intended target because those who have the most stake in it have the least say in it. Like so much in the American political landscape, the individual citizen doesn’t often have much say other than to exercise their vote. After that, they are dependent upon whoever they put in office. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in our democracy wholeheartedly, but it has some quirks and problems that steal away much of the power of the people.
The current conversation around public education today is that it should somehow become a factory to crank out as many math and science students as possible. However, if you canvas the public in this country, math and science would never come up as their top priority. So where does this come from? Again, the people in power are not following the people of this country. I will talk about this in more detail in a subsequent blog. Education should reflect the values of the people it serves with a single purpose: to create high quality American citizens.
After teaching for a decade, I have come to appreciate many aspects of the educational process. However, I see a great deal wrong with it from both inside and outside the hallowed halls. In this blog, I will try to outline many of the illogical things currently in education to educate the people of this country about what is happening inside their schools, not just what the politicians and news media feed them. But more importantly, my engineering background will also come out as I strive to offer solutions to the delicate and complex problems within education.
I don’t have all the answers, but I believe my experience in and out of education give me a unique perspective. Couple that with being a parent, and my opinion hopefully carries some weight within the public conversation. As a side note, I am not, and never have been, in or associated with a union in or out of education. My opinion of unions are they have a noble purpose that often gets twisted by politics to the detriment of the people it purports to serve. They serve a great purpose in our society, but can be inflexible in a world that requires flexibility. Enough said.
One final thing I would like to mention is my anonymity. In an age of retribution against teachers it would be foolhardy for me to be public in this forum as I intend to talk openly about the ridiculous things the federal government, state governments, school districts, schools, teachers, parents and students do. This may upset all those parties and I don’t want that coming back on me. I apologize and hope you’ll understand this need to stay in the shadows.
Please check back monthly for a new blog on whatever topic is currently interesting me. Thanks for your support!