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June 4, 2011

For the Children……Is it enough already?

Character Helen Lovejoy from The Simpsons

There is what I consider, a disturbing phrase that seems to be entering into conversations, and once I started to pay attention,  it  seems to me this phrase is pandemic.   More often than not, right in the middle of a topic, someone will blurt out, “Our generation is hopeless, we need to educate the children. The children are our only hope to make a difference for tomorrow!”  “We need to teach the children to care.”  And most of the time, the discussion simmers down, followed by a collective sigh.

So that’s it? Just decide nothing can be done and rely on  the next generation to  save our collective behinds? No need to put forth an effort, we are hopeless after all, incapable of  making any  meaningful changes to better the world in which we live so let’s just  hedge our bet that the children of today will care enough to take the proper steps to correct our mistakes and make the world a better place in which to  live tomorrow?  We will just pour our money and efforts into educating the children in a “do as I say, not as I do world” and pray that does the trick?

Does anyone else remember when shirking responsibility was considered loathsome?

And with the block of time that we have available now that we  are relying solely on the children to save us from ourselves, maybe we should try to figure out why  no matter how much we invest in the education system, implement new “improved” programs, try not to leave any child behind that what is actually falling behind is the United States education ranking in the world, from top of the class to average.  Out of 30 comparable countries, the United States ranks near the bottom. In math, Finland is #1, followed by South Korea, and the United States is #25!  In science, the United States ranks only slightly higher at #21. Where we don’t rank low, is on our spend per student.  The United States spends just over $129,000 from K-12 while other countries average $95,000.  So why aren’t we getting more bang for our buck, to use a phrase that I despise?

Because in every meeting about education I bet there is a group of  adults claiming that we are hopeless, there is nothing we can do but try to change things for the next generation. Or they are blaming the previous generation, or they are spewing out their politically correct homogenized and pasteurized responses and nobody speaks out and says, we need to make changes now, set an example, make tough decisions,  basically buck up!   We need to stop whining like a bunch of  cry babies and actually figure out a solution and not put it off until the next meeting, or the next generation.

If we want the children of today to be the caring adults of tomorrow, don’t we need to  teach them how to care by setting the example of being caring adults today and not a bunch of responsibility shirkers?

When asked by the Associated Press about the United States declining world rankings in education, Arne Duncan, U.S. Education Secretary said

“This is an absolute wake-up call for America. The results are extraordinarily challenging to us and we have to deal with the brutal truth. We have to get much more serious about investing in education.”

So, have we not been taking education all that serious?  And does his statement imply this investment will take place in the future and not start right now?

Shouldn’t we get our adult acts together for ourselves and for the children?    Is it enough already?


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