As a nation, our return on investment with education is failing. We spend much more than other countries, yet we are far behind in overall performance. The problem isn’t money, it’s a multifaceted issue like all problems are. We have problems with performance on educators, parents and students greatly effecting the result. There are also severe problems with compensation, unfunded retirement commitments and lack of entry into the market. If we don’t address all the problems, nothing will get solved and things will only get worse.
Teachers need to be paid more, period. I’m the son of a 30-year veteran educator in the Los Angeles Unified School District, so I know. These people are responsible for our future, so we need to pay them as such. At the same time, we need to get rid of the Tenure system and go to a performance-based pay scale. We reward students for greater performance, why should the people teaching them be any different. Plus, when you’re under Tenure, what is your incentive to be better? The answer is that there isn’t any, so we need to install that incentive. Removing Tenure and raising pay will attract more, qualified teachers that will lead us into the future.
The money machine that is college must also be addressed. The notion of free college education is a red hearing and can’t happen. One, not everyone wants to go to college, so stop trying to force the impossible. Two, and what is a theme in education, the accountability is taken away and it will actually lower what is already a poor quality of education. What we need to do is attack student loan interest rates, install higher G.P.A standards that must be met for loans, regulate colleges from being construction building machines into learning machines, regulate how Federal and State dollars are spent on campus. Every student under a loan agreement should also be assisted with job placement and internship to help secure success in their business life, which will increase the successful payback rate of loans.
For the hardest thing for any of us to address is personal responsibility. I look back at my days in school and something always stuck with me about what my classmates would say: “I can’t believe he/she failed me”. No, you failed the class, the teacher didn’t fail you. This is where students and their parents need to take self-responsibility. As the parents and students, you need to invest time and energy into learning, and I have seen a serious decline in this. Put the PlayStation down and pick up the schoolbook. Turn the TV off and take a practice test. Keep Social Media time limited and have equal study time. I’ll bet anyone that if parents and students took this approach, our graduates would be better off.