Just like I want to believe that clay – and all things tactile – will stay inherently engaging as we move closer and closer to a pushbutton society, I also want to believe many other idealisms about education. I was brought up that way.
I was raised to believe that one can achieve “if you put your mind to it,” that, “hard work will pay off,” that one should, “always try your best.” And so, I did, through all of the expected steps – college, grad school, entry-level jobs, one step at a time, working my way towards that pay-off (without really defining what it meant).
Today I got sacked. My student loan payments – on a principal that has gone up since I started paying it off over a decade ago – will shoot up beginning in August. If I held any hope that the hundreds I pay each month was going to worthwhile causes – or, even to anything that related to education – I’d feel a little better about the whole deal. But those payments are going into the pockets of a bank. My servicer is financing campaigns and my lender is up to no good on many levels. I feel almost as though I’m on ethically shaky ground even making the payments, and yet I don’t really have much of a choice.
Few of my choices have ever been about money, but it looks like I’m going to have to take on another job (or two) to continue life as we know it – or make some really significant cuts. Idealism, be damned… I’m in a different world from those whom I teach. And yet, their world is changing fast, and the same failure of ideals may be facing today’s students, maybe already is. I’m haunted by that little boy who was so ready to give up, so soon. Maybe resilience needs to be a little more key, a little more intentional in the craft of teaching?
It’s too hot to sleep; I’m glad I’m not going to be missing out on anything.
Part of this trend is the excision of any part of the school experience for kids that is, in any way, unpleasant, taxing, scary or boring. I believe that these kids are being put at serious risk by this trend to smooth away any of life’s rough spots, once kids are within private school doors; and that US competitiveness and innovation even are being put at risk by it…
…This trend has accelerated as US public education has been cut to the bone – losing $258m in federal grant money in 2011-12 – and as the middle class has shrunk in the US, leaving a two-tier system. As public schools struggle to offer textbooks and supplies, the plenty and fabulousness of the private-school experience only intensifies, and these two groups of students increasingly inhabit totally different worlds.