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  • Tim Lieber

The Immovable Roadblock to Education Reform in our Modern Culture

Updated: Aug 8, 2023

Public Schools are in a Downward Spiral

It's no secret that our public schools aren't what they used to be. Teachers and educational professionals like to blame this on the Coronavirus shutdowns, but these trends have been predating 2020 for some time. Kids need to learn what they need to be successful and functional adults. Students spend forty hours a week in the school systems and come out with crippling mental health issues and hatred towards learning instead of being knowledgeable, competent, and sure of themselves. The government, teachers, and communities have been shouting at the sky until they are blue in the face for something to change. To fund the schools with more money, to pay teachers better, smaller class sizes, new and improved curriculum, and better technology.

Nothing will stop this because of one reason.

Unfortunately, this problem will become much worse before it gets any better. The truth of the matter, as I see it, is that at the end of the day, no amount of policy reform, teacher pay raises, or cutting-edge smartphone apps will help with any of this. The bottom line is quite sad, but it is our unfortunate reality.

Nobody cares.

We are generations into a school system that has systemically made people hate learning. It's rare to find people trying to better themselves, reading books, watching documentaries, listening to educational podcasts, or improving themselves.

The typical person fills their head with garbage, reality TV, mind-numbing rap music, and trashy movies. Nobody likes to admit that they watch this stuff, and when they do, they give the same tired excuse, "I just watch it to turn my brain off." I understand wanting a break, but turning your brain off isn't much of a break if you never had it on in the first place.

Most people in this category know they aren't bright or could be better, and unfortunately, they are darn proud of it most of the time.

TLC used to be proud to call themselves "The Learning Channel," Now it just shows reruns of Married at First Site, My 600 Pound Life, and 90-Day Fiance. I don't know what people are learning from those shows but count me out.

I work at UPS in the morning to get health insurance for my family. We are allowed unlimited free access to listen to whatever we want on our phones. We can listen to music, audiobooks, podcasts, YouTube, whatever. Two types of people take advantage of this, people who listen to lectures, books, and intellectually engaging conversations or those who listen to crappy music.

The hilarious thing is that you can tell who is who in three-tenths of a second. Those who listen to content that enriches their mind get an extra twenty hours of educational value every week while working to provide for their families—those who don't get twenty hours of trash.

The School system is an enabler.

Even worse, the school system has curated so many people into hating learning so much that whenever they see an open book, they are rushed back to being humiliated or bored to death by the public school. And things have only gotten worse.

One of the multitudes of major issues with the public school system is that they aren't teaching the kids about knowledge or understanding. This is especially true in Social Studies, my specific area of expertise. In public school, you need to memorize the facts until you have finished the quiz, then relearn the facts until you have finished the test. As soon as the test is completed, all the facts you just memorized go right down the drain. I have a perfect example of this.

I was preparing for the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification or the MTTC. This test is renowned for being downright brutal. It encompasses 100 questions over every part of social studies, which means you have 6,000 years of facts about human civilization, economics, geography, politics, and more to cram into your brain. If you fail, you get to pay the state of Michigan $100 to take it all over again. Some people take this thing so many times that they eventually give up.

Anyway, one of the questions on the exam sums up the issue with public schools in one multiple-choice selection. "What year was the transcontinental railroad finished?"

I stared at the exam and thought... "who cares? If I ever need to know this, I can look it up in three seconds."

A better question could have been formed around what the transcontinental railroad did, how it changed America, or its economic impact. Nope. They wanted the year, A, B, C, or D. Facts go in, facts go out. Rinse, repeat.

Don't you start thinking all teachers are interested in changing this, either. Some would cry out in joy and triumph if they could finally teach something useful in their classes. Still, during my time student teaching, I saw that if the more veteran teachers were ever asked to do anything different than the material they created fifteen years ago, they would raise their fists in the sky and complain, complain, complain.

I watched them blame the kids, blame the administrators, and primarily blame the parents for the current state of the academic dribble; not once did they ask themselves, "Maybe I should update this slideshow for the first time since the Bush administration?" "Maybe I should try to incorporate some YouTube videos with millions of views instead of poorly explaining this with black font on a white background using PowerPoint version 2007."

In my opinion, none of that would matter. We could give the schools more money and more resources, and pay teachers like doctors, and none of it would make a bit of difference. If you want our culture to value education and love learning, you need to start with yourself and what you can do in your own house. Washington isn't changing; the schools aren't changing, your teachers aren't changing. But you can.

The Best Way Forward

The great thing about homeschooling is that you can set the tone with your kids and allow them to learn in the best way that works for them. You can find what sparks their interest, motivates them, and challenges them to learn more. The students I have now at the co-op ask the best questions; they are desperate for the facts and have a child-like wonder as to how the world works.

There isn't much in this world that you can control, but you can definitely influence whether or not your kid loves learning, and you can lead by example, which makes it twice as good! If you can instill that value within them, you just made the entire idiot culture one person smarter, and we all thank you for that.

The transcontinental railroad was finished in 1869.


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