Essay 5: Education Issues and Trends Ken LaVigne - La Serna High School
There is a wolf at the door of public education today, and we educators have to make sure that our house is built out of bricks and not straw or sticks. It is all too common and acceptable to malign the effectiveness of our schools and teachers, using standardized test scores and international rankings as fuel for an ever-growing fire of discontent. Educators in public schools are seen as "them", an entity viewed by many as the source of the problem and not as the solution. Public perception has led to reluctance to support what we know to be the most basic and vital component to a democratic society, the education of our youth. The biggest issue in American public education today is the adversarial relationship between our society and its schools.
The bricks of our house must be created with our community members, employing the resources and insights that provide relevance and shared investment in the education of our students. Our job is incredibly difficult. The wolf at the door cannot remain an enemy. It must be tamed and befriended. Its eyes must see the honest dedication of our work with a willingness to share in a partnership of growth and success. This is our problem, and we will solve it together. How? That is the challenging and exciting part of our mission.
Today's schools need to involve valuable resources within the community to improve education while fostering a spirit of unity. How powerful would it be to have members of veteran organizations speak to our students in history classes, telling them what it was really like fighting wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Vietnam? How meaningful would it be to have senior citizen group members make regular visits to our campuses to discuss the depression or the social revolution of the '60's? Business leaders can provide valuable perspective to students who will soon enter the job market after their graduation. Civil engineers and...