And now for something completely different….
While driving my daughter to summer school today (sort of ironic really) I heard a radio commercial that spoke about how America’s schools are falling farther and farther behind when ranked among other developed nations. Currently we sit at 21st!
I blame this on two things really, our nation’s decision to care more about what happens outside our borders than what happens inside (for example the US government provided almost $40 billion dollars in aid to the rest of the world in 2006 alone), and second the low regard for the teaching profession (represented in how crappy their pay is). We pay them very little compared to what they do and how they affect our nation. How’s about we use one to fix the other?
The foreign aid bit is just stunning to me, one report I read said that our foreign aid equaled about every single US citizen handing over $51 dollars to people outside our borders. WHY? Why are we not spending ALL that money to our own people and our schools??? I believe in charity and have been giving money to charity since around 1994, but frankly I am tired of giving our money away to people when we could use a little of it right here in our own backyard.
This web page just makes me laugh: globalissues.org website Notice anything? Every country on there that is supposedly ‘not living up to their agreement to hand over aid’ is either in Europe, the US, or one of our allies. WTF? Apparently we are all supposed to hand over our money to these other countries, most of whom constantly hate us and wish doom and gloom upon us.
If we took that money and gave it in straight salary increase for every teacher hired right now, they would each get about $5k more annually. But that only covers the government charity, not the individual personal donations Americans make to outside nations. “Americans privately give at least $34 billion overseas” annually. In fact one report stated “The total of US private giving…had increased to a massive $71 billion in 2004.” Wow! How about we dump just half of that into our own education, I wonder how many schools could be rebuilt and modernized with say 30 or 40 billion dollars.
Anyway, having have my children in schools in Kentucky, Texas, and Colorado now, I can say without a doubt that the Texas schools (one cheer for Bush!) were the best. Colorado schools are terrible. While we have had a few good teachers here in Colorado, it really is a case of a teacher rising above the crappy situation and going above and beyond, not a reflection of anything great here.
For more information on America’s schools problems, see http://www.edin08.com/ There is a nice email petition that you can spam your senators and representatives (HA! I love that, representatives of who??) and information on what they are doing to keep education in the discussion during our next presidential election, like that will happen, they will just talk about oil and Iraq…