Education Book Kindle Cover

Shaking Up Public Education: One Teacher’s Quest to Make a Difference in Our Schools

Our public schools are failing the youth of this country. How can this be? How can a country so rich and powerful have a public school system that ranks below countries like Estonia and Hungary? Ronald Reagan once called America the “shining light on the hill,” but that light is fading fast.

Our country has debated educational reform for decades. Why are these problems getting worse? The answers are found in the erosion of the core fundamental principles that are needed to create successful schools. The foundations of our public schools are cracked and ready to fall. We cannot move forward and implement new ideas until we secure our foundations. Once we are on firm ground we can begin to rebuild.

This book will explain the complexity of the problems we face, but more importantly, it will focus on the practical solutions. Many of the solutions will infuriate the political pundits, but will resonate with parents and teachers everywhere. Individual teachers and parents feel helpless as politicians and administrators wave their magic wands and pass harmful policies and legislation. These are OUR children that comprise the public school population. The political and social elite continue to neglect our public schools while sending THEIR children to private institutions.

We must join this fight together before it’s too late. If we continue down this road I fear for our future generations and the impact a poor education will have on them. We can cover our eyes and pretend the problems don’t exist. We can look the other way and hope others will solve the problems, or every parent and every teacher can make their voices heard and demand change. Teachers and parents may not realize it, but they hold the power to force an educational revolution. Together we can save our children and the future of this great country.

Fixing our schools

The Foundations of Our Public Schools Need Repair

I’ve read and listened to many innovative ideas on what needs to be done to improve our schools. Integrating technology and bringing our children into the modern age of education. How education is advancing and the models of old need to be replaced. There is certainly a lot of validity in many of these ideas.

However, I like to compare it to picking out new wallpaper for a house that has such a severely damaged foundation that it is ready to crumble. Before we discuss the pretty wallpaper we would like to use, let’s secure the foundation first.

The old saying that the inmates are running the prison can be applied to many of our schools. A school CANNOT function without the proper learning environment. I am not advocating the return to corporal punishment and silence unless spoken to. What I am recommending is a rebirth of discipline and respect. I discuss these issues in detail in my latest book, Shaking Up Public Education.

Americans are known for their independence and out spoken points of view. We want a nation of leaders. We do not want our children to walk in lock-step with everyone else. We want them to be self-confident enough to question leadership and challenge authority. You can’t tell me what to do, I’m an American.

These are certainly admirable qualities but the pendulum has swung too far. Parents have gone from demanding that their children be held accountable to their first-line of defense. Our respect for authority has diminished to the point of, “How dare you accuse my child of doing something wrong.” instead of parents telling their children, “How dare you do something wrong.”

The word disciplinarian has become another word for child abuser. Discipline now has an evil connotation. If you discipline children you must hate children. If you hold children accountable you are unfairly punishing them.

You discipline a child because you love and care about them. You hold them accountable because you are teaching them that their actions have consequences. I would argue that people who don’t discipline are the abusers. They are encouraging destructive behavior that is harmful. Properly disciplining children is tough work. It’s much easier to overlook the behavior without inflicting any consequences.

This all relates back to our schools where lack of respect, violence, and bullying have all risen to epidemic proportions. It is time the leadership within our schools demands accountability from the student body. Authoritative teachers need to be praised for their commitment to creating an environment where learning can occur without disrespectful behavior. Praised for creating an environment where no child fears for their safety.

Lack of discipline and accountability are the rote causes for our school failures. Make no mistake about it, until these problems are addressed, success can never be achieved.

Schools in North Carolina are in Crisis

The public education crisis in North Carolina has reached epidemic proportions and continues to get worse. Legislation has passed that will further deplete an already chaotic situation. State government has decided to continue a pay freeze on teacher’s salaries (6 years running), eliminate thousands of teacher assistants, eliminate master’s pay, remove the cap on class size, and get rid of tenure.

For those of you unfamiliar with the situation in North Carolina, these cuts come from a state where teacher’s salaries were already ranked 46th out of 50 states and student test scores are comparable to Latvia’s. Gov. Pat McCrory has made the statement that “elections have consequences.” I guess he is insinuating that the reason he and his Republican friends, who know control the state legislature, were elected because the constituents wanted them to further erode an already failing public school system. As a fellow Republican I can assure you that is not why they were elected.

I don’t understand why Mr. McCrory believes being a Republican means you are anti-public schools. If he wants to talk about school choice, vouchers, or merit-pay, those are debatable issues, but acting as if teachers are overpaid and making their lives more miserable by cutting any small benefits they have in a state that is already a bottom feeder in terms of teacher treatment is deplorable. That IS NOT what Republicans stand for!

Do you think highly trained, well qualified, elite performing teachers are going to teach in this state? Hundreds have already left the state or profession even before these cuts. This will only drive out those left hanging on. Who do think is going to replace them? North Carolina has experienced teacher shortages for years. Their answer to the problem has been to let anyone with a degree enter the classroom, and THEN send them back to school to train them. As long as there is a warm-body in the class, it’s OK. Meanwhile, children across the state are the guinea pigs as their test scores plummet to third-world levels.

Mr. McCrory talks about the job growth he is going to create in this state. Who does he think are going to fill these jobs? Students who are graduating High School with an eighth-grade reading level. Students who need to be sent to remedial classes before they can enter college, if they can get in at all. Then we will hear about how the schools are failing our children. Teachers are not doing their jobs. Of course not because all the good teachers are no longer in the profession. They’ve taken their talents to professions where their talents are financially rewarded and they are treated with respect.

Mr. McCrory it is not your fault North Carolina public schools are an embarrassment to this country because they’ve been that way long before you took office, but all you’ve done is make a bad situation worse. This beautiful state filled with many wonderful people deserves a system of education they can be proud of.