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There is a political group in this country who wants to see the end of public education.
You know who they are.
They cut billions of dollars out of state education budgets.
They lay off tens of thousands of teachers.
They cut educators' salaries.
They dip into the state teachers' retirement funds.
They pay millions to their cronies to develop standardized tests.
They want to privatize schools so that their corporate backers can profit.
They don't recognize educators as professionals.
They don't believe in equal opportunities for all children.
They send their own children to private schools.
They don't care.
Education reform in this country is lame, misguided and dangerous.
Do you know who has the best education system in the world?
Several years ago, Finland decided they needed education reform.
Why has their education reform been so successful?
What does their reform look like?
The goal of their educational reform was based on EQUITY not just excellence.
Finland believes that every child should have the exact same opportunities for education.
All students in Finland schools receive free meals.
Finland schools are non-competitive.
They share ideas and help each other become successful.
Teachers and administrators are paid well and are held in high esteem.
All educators must have earned a Master's degree to teach.
Finland has no private schools.
Finland has no standardized testing.
Finland's education is based on less homework, less rote learning
and more creative play.
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
Do you recognize public education in this country before greedy politicians got involved?
What does our country's education system look like now?
Our public education system started out based on EQUITY,
but is now primarily based on the ever aloof standard of excellence.
Free lunches for all? What a novel idea!
Educators know that hunger and inability to concentrate in school are directly linked;
however, we have politicians in this country who don't even want poor, impoverished
students to receive a free lunch.
Politicians in this country insist upon competition among schools.
They pass laws to post the scores of schools on the news,
on the internet and on every imaginable chart and graph.
They create "good lists" and "bad lists" and point fingers and lay blame.
In this country, teachers' pay is an abomination.
While teachers used to be held in high esteem, that is no longer the case.
Sure there are some bad apples in the profession.
Good administrators and good school boards get rid of bad apples,
but too often, politics gets involved.
Believe me, good educators want those bad educators gone!
It is time that this country once again gives teachers the pay,
thanks and respect that they deserve.
In this country, most school districts require
only their administrators to earn a Master's degree.
While I think education would benefit from all educators being required
to have Master's degrees, that would be difficult since teachers are paid so poorly.
What? A country without private schools?
In this country, the government gives vouchers
to encourage the growth of private schools!
Just another brick in the road to the destruction of public schools.
Standardized testing is a big, profitable corporate business in this country.
We all know what that means.
More standardized testing means more profits for corporations.
After all, that is what counts. Right, politicians?
Who is worried about the future of the children of this country?
They can go to work for the big corporations and work for minimum wage and
not have the right to bargain for benefits, work conditions or pay.
They will be fine!
Creative play was a major part of our earlier education system.
If you think back, you probably remember the teachers who had creative classrooms.
You don't remember the teachers who taught you to take a test
or scared you into performing well so that your school wouldn't be closed.
Creative play gives rise to free thinking, dreaming and individuality.
Creativity awakens the senses, makes learning enjoyable and creates life-long learners.
Sounds like the creative process might be a little dangerous for today's political climate.
Besides, who needs to think for themselves when the corporations
know what is best for you?
I think Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best.
"The school is the last expenditure upon which America
should be willing to compromise."
America, we are in trouble.
To read more about Finland's education reform: