by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Education has become one of the lower priorities in schools over the years. As a mom to many, who also has experienced many different schools as a parent and as a child, I have observed an interesting phenomenon. Our schools are now more focused on other things than they are on what the children are learning. There is a large difference in educational programs offered to help children who are ahead or behind, just since I was a child, compared to what our children are now exposed to. Many wonderful educational programs have simply been cut out of the school structure to add other things. Some of those newer things are good and some are not. While some schools are doing the right thing, many are not. In addition to life experience, I have also researched this topic extensively.
New Playgrounds Every Year
While there are children struggling and behind in their schoolwork, instead of focusing on extra programs that could be helping those children, some schools choose to build a new playground every single year. While children do need playtime, they do not need a brand new playground every year. Playground equipment is built to last. If there are loose bolts, they can be safely tightened, rather than tearing down the equipment, which creates another problem: waste. A new playground is nice, but the education of a struggling child is far more important. If there are no struggling children and the old playground is also beyond repair, the school can then build a new playground. If the playground cannot be made safe, only then is it time for a new one. The old equipment can be resold to someone who can fix it or salvage the parts. The profit can go to the school for funding any other needed projects. If a new playground is needed, the school could hold a fundraising event, in which most communities would be happy to contribute money and even help build the playground. School's educational funds do not always have to be used for a playground.
The overwhelming pressure to pass state mandated tests is a huge issue. Many schools are forced to drill the students to no end, in such a way that is required just to pass these tests. Teaching children in these formats is actually hurting their education, due to the fact that valuable time, money, and resources are lost because of that which is spent on preparing the students for these tests. Teachers are being threatened the loss of their jobs, money, or both if the students do not pass these tests. More pressure than ever is being put on teachers as well as students and too much time and money is being spent on teaching the children how to pass these tests, rather than teaching them the core facts, skills, and curriculum they need in order to succeed. This alone may be one of the reasons that many children do not graduate or go on to attend college. The pressure may be too strong or when the students continue to rise grade levels, the work gets harder because there is more focus on testing skills than there is on actual skills.
Free Field Trips
While this is helpful to the parents, speaking from a parent's perspective, I can also say that if there are children who are ahead or behind that need extra help, I'd much rather that money go toward helping the children, even if those children are not my own. There are students that will fit into this category in most every school. Free field trips are fun for the children, but as a parent, I do not mind paying for a field trip, if it means there is more money at the school to educate the children with. I do realize that field trips are an important part of education, but most parents do not mind paying for these, and usually expect to pay for these. This way, more field trips can be scheduled, as the funding will not be coming out of the school's money. If told in advance, many parents would likely not mind chipping in money for the school buses to get there. Even though there will be children whose parents have financial constraints, if other parents contribute, there will usually be enough money to still fund the trips.
Class pizza parties and more
While it is nice to celebrate an event in the classroom together, school funding should not be used for these. Most parents have no problem buying one or two items for a class party. There are many students in one classroom, at least plenty enough that if every student brought one to two items or a few dollars, the party would be more than covered. Most parents would not mind contributing items or a few dollars for a class party, especially if it meant there was more money going toward their child's education.
There are many other areas in which school funding is not necessary to provide the resources needed. There are many different methods of figuring out how to cover the small costs of extra items. I am a firm believer that the school's primary focus, as well as most of the funding, should go towards learning materials and programs to support the education of children. Teachers and other faculty should also get a fair amount of the funding allotted. If it weren't for the teachers and faculty, there would be no learning. Aside from educational materials and teachers and faculty, if there is still funding left over, and special programs have also been made available, then the funds can be used for these extra items, but not until then. The top priority should always be education. There are even countless websites dedicated to education reform.Education-reform.net is a front runner in those stepping up to help change the way education is being looked at. While there are other priorities besides education, anything else should be placed at a lower priority than educating our children and paying the faculty and administration that help to do so, which is the sole purpose of a school.
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*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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