But, as I watched the school buses roll away, I began to think a lot about the year ahead for them and at a higher level the entire state of education in America.
If you haven't noticed, it is completely broken. Sure, our kids are passing tests, going to college and doing ok for themselves. Not all of them and not nearly as many as I'd like to see, but you know what I mean.
I look at my kids and see how different they are and yet I know they are being taught the exact same way. Dylan is logical and direct. He excels at math and science and is on the fast track to some sort of engineering job if I were to guess. Emily on the flipside is overly creative. She excels at all subjects, but is a very free thinker and goes way outside of the box whenever she can. I don't know what she will end up being, but it is going to be fun to watch.
But, our schools are teaching the same way they have for the past several decades. Same subjects, same approaches and all of it leading up towards passing standardized tests.
A couple of years ago we got called in to talk about Dylan being disruptive in class. When we talked to the teacher she told us that he was always getting his math work done before the rest of the class and then would try helping other kids finish theirs. That is disruptive? Come on now! We asked if he could bring a book in to read while he waited and she said sure. Why couldn't she have thought of this? It isn't exactly rocket science.
We need to challenge our kids. They are growing up in a world that moves at a super fast pace. Technology must play an active role in the classroom and teachers at all grade levels must understand and embrace it.
I don't have all the answers, but I know that the way it is being done right now isn't the right way. I've seen glimmers of hope out there and success stories happening and I pray those continue. We need to value and pay our teachers more. We need to insure that our kids are learning to think on their own and not just memorizing words and facts from ancient textbooks.
I know I'm not the only one worried about this. I also know that I'm going to see what I can do to help change it.