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Why government schools fail

I told you last week about my plunge into the public school system of America. I started school on the 13th of August, and as I began, I had many concerns about the experience on which I was about to embark.

Sure, it’s only been three weeks, but in this short time I have observed some very sharp contrasts between public schooling and homeschooling. Moreover, I believe that these contrasts are some of the core reasons why many public schools are failing.

Comparing one method of education to another, the homeschooling method repeatedly scores high on standardized tests and shows amazing results in academic events, despite being such a small minority. The public-schooling method has many success stories, but is terribly weighted down with a majority of low test scores – and many are puzzled by that.

The real answer to why one works and the other presents abysmal results is in the system.

The real answer as to why government schools don’t adopt good principles is the bureaucracy, while a real solution to our education woes would be to actually reform the core system of public schools and adopt other ideas from high-scoring private, charter and home schools.

I’ve observed some core principles with the daily system of schools that hinder students from success.

The first principle of education where I’ve seen sharp contrast is in motivation. I’ve noticed a subtle but very important contrast between my experience at home and my experience thus far in public schools regarding the motivation of a student. At home, I did most of my work on my own, so the only person I needed to please was myself, and if I didn’t get a good education, it was my own fault. That’s exactly what drove me to work hard.

In contrast, public-school students are driven by teachers. This system would work if it weren’t for two things: 1) many teachers are tired, worn down and have come to a point where they can’t instill a drive in students to learn, and 2) most students couldn’t care less about their teachers and have a great lack of respect for them. As a result of this lack of motivation, I can see that a lot of students float through their high-school careers with no academic goals, no drive for a future. Indeed, the only passion for a lot of students is sports – and that tends to take over.

A big blow in the flawed system of public education is the priorities of students and of teachers. I’ve said it before and I’m seeing it now: The students don’t care, the teachers are worn out, and the administrators throw money at the problem.

The students really don’t care because they’re not taught to care. It seems that almost from the beginning they are simply nagged on to do work by their parents and teachers. Students’ only motivation for good grades is to graduate and get out of school.

Additionally, the system requires teachers to do a tough job but prohibits them from administering real work and discipline to their students. Likewise, many parents today force teachers to raise their children from first grade all the way up through their senior year in high school. However, when teachers push and challenge their students to do work, the parents attack the teachers! The same people who put them in that place are not allowing them to do their job efficiently. Their hands are tied, and therefore teachers are completely frustrated and after so long, tend to lose interest.

We see it on daily basis – bureaucratic administrators want to throw money at all problems, but we also know that it doesn’t help – it really shows a lack of concern for real solutions. These three things combined turn into a big problem for schools.

The last problem with the public school system is the fact that it is completely boring. A student has seven hours of classes, plus lunch and athletics. All of these classes are done in the same systematic routine, which becomes extremely monotonous. No wonder every teen in high school has been diagnosed with ADD.

With these systemic problems, coupled with the culture wars that go on in government schools, I’m not surprised students, my peers, are not living up to their full potential.

These are the deep-rooted problems with the daily government school grind. However, there are some deep-rooted solutions.

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