We know that education is suffering in many ways nationwide. An enormous increase of students with special needs is being identified. According to America’s Promise Alliance, capable students are dropping out of school. In April 2008, ABC World News segment (“Failing Grades,” April 1) featured a report from America’s Promise Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that showed 1.2 million students drop out of high school each year. This fact is a good jumping-off place to start a discussion. This information is communicating something to us. We have to figure out the why’s and how’s and plan an action to improve our present situation.
In my last educational revolution blog, I discussed how students could get behind and not really be noticed. I also stated a plan of action:
learning how to examine students developmentally, emotionally and physically; learning how to customize interventions to fit the students; and making this fabric part of our educational system. It would be revolutionary to utilize these practices.
Not understanding students to their core leads to a lack of vision in education. I’ll say it again, education lacks vision. This does not mean there are not great things happening in education; do not get me wrong. There are wonderful programs, teachers and administrators that serve students well. What I’m talking about is the student who is not served well. This kind of student is growing in numbers by leaps and bounds. The student could look like one who ignores the teacher, sleeps in class, or just does not turn in work. The student could look like one who tries hard to please yet struggles anyway. The student could look like one who has a reading disability and does not qualify for special education services. The student could look like many things. The disservice in education is that all are not getting what they need. It’s no one fault. They need too much for the current system to handle. That’s why we need a revolution.
Look, times are different and we have to change with the times. Our children are over exposed to stimuli. Input is constantly coming into the senses of people today: videos, iPods, text messages, computer screens, cell phones, etc. This overload of sensory heightens the system and the system craves for more. Kids in elementary and middle school are on video games, text messages and even Facebook!
Constantly, I hear kids saying that they are bored. One student said it a few weeks ago as an excuse for why he drew an obscene picture! Students are not bored; they are unregulated or unable to sit for periods of time without input. Am I exaggerating? No. With the changing times, lack of real community, family time and bonding our children are being raised by the television and the media. How many moms or dads need a break and they put little Johnny in front of a movie or his favorite show, which they TiVo’d for him! When the kid starts emulating the characters, speaking in gibberish or lost in fantasy thoughts, we think something is wrong with the kid.
This form of thinking, “something is wrong with the kid,” permeates throughout education for those who struggle. The learning, emotional and sensory profiles of our students have changed over the years. This metamorphosis of this “new age student” requires a change in the educational system that serves the student. Because the current system has not molded to the “new age student,” at some time in the educational journey an educator, administrator and/or parent starts to “victimize the victim.” When the child is not learning and the interventions are not working the student is often to blame. The lack of understanding students to their core leads to a lack of vision in education. That’s why we need a revolution.