The Norman Transcript

December 13, 2013

Education pendulum is swinging

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Q: As long time educators, I’m sure you have seen many changes in the educational process. I am worried about where education is headed, and it upsets me when I read articles stating that U.S. students are not as prepared for the future as other countries’ students.

Being the mother of a young child, I’m wondering if I should start planning an alternative educational strategy for my baby. Any thoughts?

— Marilyn, of Moore

Dear Marilyn,

We have seen the education pendulum swing throughout our lengthy careers. You have opened a can of worms with us, and we will try to control ourselves. We appreciate that you are already concerned about your child’s education and realize its value.

Let us start by saying that the number of wonderful, dedicated, incredible teachers we have been privileged to work with is mind-boggling. Those who have been called to be educators realize the main benefit is not monetary. They do it because they love helping children.

That being said, our personal feelings are that until those in the business world and politicians remove themselves from dictating what should go on in a school, the problems will continue to exist.

Laws are passed by those who most likely haven’t spent continuous time in a classroom in many years, and since not only education itself has changed drastically, but students and parents as well, the lawmakers don’t realize what’s going on in the trenches.

As an example, since we can drive a vehicle, we wouldn’t pretend to know how to be a mechanic, or because we have teeth, we would never present ourselves as dentists.

For years, we have both been saying every politician should be required to spend a minimum of one week per semester in the classroom, best as an unpaid substitute (since they get paid as a legislator).

A walk through a school building with media coverage or reading to young children (although it’s a nice thing) does not give one any idea of what actually goes on day in and day out in a classroom, which is where the learning happens.

We also think upper-level administrators who are no longer housed in a school building should spend extended time in the same classroom getting back to not only their roots but also what education is all about.

We said all this to say we feel your best offense is to become knowledgeable about anyone seeking office that could impact education at the state or local level.

Involve your friends, neighbors and relatives because the old saying is true — “What we tolerate will be embraced.”

Please send questions to Sally and Jeannie are certified school counselors with over 50 years combined educational experience. Jeannie has two children, Sally three. The responses presented don’t necessarily reflect the views of any certain school district.

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