Does our school system work? Is it doing what we need it to do? Or is there something better out there? This is what has been on my mind this morning. Having been involved in Foster Care for the past year and a half (I know I'm a newby), I don't know that I think about school in the same way as I use to. When I was growing up, school was what you did, it was expected of you to go to school and graduate from high school. My expectation has changed. I believe that there are some youth who don't fit into the model of school that we have today. Don't get me wrong, I believe education is vital to our world, I'm not sure school as we know it is.
Lately I've noticed that when I walk into the school with a new student who is in my home, they know me. I can almost immediately see this look of desperation, concern, and callousness come over people in the school office. I know it's because I work with and provide a home for boys who have been in trouble. Boys who more than anything need acceptance and caring, not lectures and lowered expectations. But I know, believe me I know how hard it can be to work with youth in these situations. That's why I'm saying maybe school as we know it isn't the best place for all youth. I know how hard it is for teachers in the classroom and all the attitudes and disrespect they have to deal with each day. I know how hard it is for administrators to have students lined up outside their office for ISS (In School Suspension), Detention, OSS (Out of School Suspension) day in and day out. Is this really what education is about? Is this the experience we want for our children? There has to be a better way.
I wish I could tell you I had the answer but I don't. I just think we've got to come up with something that allows young people to become who they were created to be and not forced into a mold that isn't working. I believe that creativity is as important in education as literacy. I love the story about a little girl who never paid attention in class until one day the teacher had the class do a drawing. The students were told to draw a picture of anything they wanted. The little girl really got into drawing and the teacher walks over and asks the little girl what she is drawing and the little girl says "it's a picture of God." The teacher says "but no one know what God looks like." The little girl says "well they will in a minute." The purpose of this story is that when we are young, kids will take a chance, they will try it even if they "don't know what God looks like." It's us adults that suddenly put on the brakes.
I hope you will ponder with me, how do we change our schools? How do we improve education? We may talk about no child left behind, but I've seen the bus driving away, and there are a lot of kids who aren't on it, and frankly don't want to be on it. I don't think the answer is to keep backing the bus up, I think we need a new form of transportation. Blessings, percolating and pondering.