I have spent some time as a teacher. My last job was on a truancy reduction project.
Originally Posted by Mr Booty
Lots of things have taken us to this point. LBJ's Great Society was largely a failed experiment but it did have two successes--the Head Start Program for pre-school children is a resounding success. The other thing it accomplished was the elimination of poverty in our elderly population.
Bussing is largely a result of various court orders back in the 60's and 70's in attempt to level out geographical segregation--both in the North and the South. It has not resulted in the the total integration of society as the policy framers envisioned, although recent evidence indicates there is more tolerance amid the current school population than in the past.
The problems of the American school have different sources.
They are too large for one. Their populations are often larger than many small towns. Architecturally, they are too difficult to supervise. Make them smaller and mitigate the anonymity that a large population brings.
Secondly, there was a big surge of college grads from the baby boom era as the Viet Nam war was on the scene. Teaching was one way to get exempt from the draft. I don't think it contributed to a dedicated teacher corps. While doctors, lawyers and other professionals would keep up to speed by reading their respective trade journals, teachers as a group were loath to open a journal.
We need to be more selective in training teachers. We need to defer entry into the School of Education until the third year of college and only then select the best talent based on the previous two years.
We need to beef up our science education. The science curriculum has become driven by ideology to the point of confusion. Our development of newer technologies and jobs of the future demands we have to get serious and push the science and math.
Parental involvement is critical. The reason private schools fare so well is that a parent has put good money down for results. They will be on the backs of both the teachers and the kids to make it happen.
When I was doing truancy work, the parents were main cause of the truancy. You wouldn't believe the excuses the at we would get even from middle class, affluent parents. ( We wanted Johnny out of school on Friday so the family could go skiing over the weekend.) As soon as the lad spent the weekend in a group home, all expenses paid by the parents, motivation emerged. I don't know how to get through to all the dead beat or the "helicopter" parents, but some folks are too dang busy to in personal pursuits and their kids are drowning.
I am not liked by the tourist boards as I firmly believe we need to extend the school year. Too much is lost over the summer break. Our society is much more complex today and there is much more to learn.
Drugs are a big problem. Again involvement by parents is crucial here.
As for Hip Hop culture, well I can remember back in the 50's when I was in high school Elvis, Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins et. al., were the rages in our school. I went to a religious high school and our esteemed faculty was sure we were all headed into the Eternal Darkness under the influence of the devil's music.