Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Friday, April 01, 2005

Leftovers for the Kids

The 'Education Machine' has grown huge over the past 50 years. Here in the small county where I live, the old County Office of Education building sits next to our county courthouse. It was not a large building, but was large enough to handle the required aspects of county educational bureaucracy 50 years ago. But IT needed more, in the 1960's as educational bureaucracy grew. So, the county built a new County Office of Education building outside of the city, adjacent to their new juvenile detention facility and county jail. With the new milleneum it was not enough. They now have a shining new two story structure in addition to their previous facility. Meanwhile, the school where I teach (and attended as a student), has added a new building to house five science classrooms and school computer lab. And there is a bathroom structure. Those are the only two buildings built for 'my' campus since before I was a student there in the early 1970's. There are a lot more kids now. Same gym facility with super crowded locker rooms. But now the showers don't work. Our students cannot wash up after taking PE (were many months of the year, the temperatures are over 100 degrees F). They just (maybe) change back into their street clothes and go on to their next class. If they are coming to my class after PE, many of my students regularly head straight to my paper towel dispenser to get some paper towels to wipe the sweat off their faces, that is, when there are paper towels available.

What is the point of all this ? Many pundits are saying that "throwing money at the schools" is not going to do any good, as evidenced by a lack of progress in the past. But, where is that money going ? Too much of it is getting sucked into the edubureaucracy. It goes for my superintendent to redo his office every three years. It goes for people in the edubureaucracy to have the latest computer technology sitting on their desks. It goes to pay for coordinators and consultants at the district office. It goes for the brand new Community School that this county built to try to keep juvenile delinquents in school. It goes for school boards agreeing to pay 100% lifetime family health care for their retiring superintendent. It goes to pay for new administration buildings that cannot be used because they were built over toxic waste sites. It goes for increasing facilities to house the growing blob of edubureaucracy.

It doesn't go towards having a locker room at school where students can rinse their sweaty bodies after taking PE. It doesn't go to hiring teachers to teach remedial classes in junior high or high schools because too many kids are socially promoted or to have those students repeat Grade 3, 6, 8. It doesn't go to paying for a licensed professional librarian in each school or school district. It doesn't go to hold educationally enriching summer school sessions for our top students. The bottom line is, too much of the education money doesn't go for the kids. They just get whatever might be left over. Check our Jamie Vollmer's "THE BURDEN" <http://www.jamievollmer.com/> It is interesting.

Thanks for reading my blog. As always, I welcome your comments !