The USA Education System – Joelle O’Reilly-Hyland

In the world of no child left behind we’re failing to educate our children. When Tina O’Reilly’s son was in school, he had challenges due to a learning disability. He struggled, and the school didn’t do much to help. Sure they offered him a few special classes with one on one teaching, but if he didn’t “get it” they passed him. No kids fail, the school advised. Tina managed to have her son kept back once in first grade, but after that she was denied over and over. Her son graduated high school with an IEP diploma and a sixth-grade reading level. Luckily for him he was great at working with his hands and was able to learn a trade in the car business. Not every kid is that lucky, though. Why aren’t we educating these children who are our future? They are the next senators, congressmen, businesspeople and women and even presidents.


Here’s Why I Hate The USA Education System

And why is it that kids are expected to sit at a desk for eight hours a day? How do you expect them to stay focused for such a long time? Children need to educate themselves and most do through free play and exploration.  They need more than exploring in a book. Take them on a nature walk. Let them see bugs, flowers and plants. If they see these things up close and personally, they’ll most likely remember, instead of being told about them. Imagine looking at a chalkboard full of written words and a teacher who probably is speaking in monotone after talking to hundreds of student’s day in and day out. I’m sure the teachers are bored with repeating themselves too.

We’ve taken away kids freedom to do things on their own over the last few decades because we’ve become anxious about the “boogie man”. Back in the 70s and 80s, kids played outside all day. There weren’t any cell phones to keep in contact with parents or children. They played until the street lights came on. They drank water from a garden hose, and both boys and girls play tag, football, whiffle ball.

Nowadays it seems kids are being diagnosed with depression and other mental disorders. Why are these kids suffering from these conditions; because we’re depriving them of a freedom of exploring the outdoors.

When kids are having fun, information sticks. Fun is missing from many of classrooms. Children spend more time sitting still, listening to teachers lecture or being tested. A typical kindergartner day consists of kids spending time being instructed and in literacy and math instead of free play. Some kindergarteners have no free play at all. We’re sucking the fun out of our kids.

Today kids are taught to read, write and do math at an early age than ever before. While it seems like the right idea, it can destroy a child’s self-worth and her love of learning. In a recent visit to a preschool, it was said that the kids are entering kindergarten needed to know how to write their names, all the alphabet and their numbers up to 100. Are you kidding? Are you surprised we have kids with anxiety?

Researchers have found that drug abuse is on the rise among children and teens whose parents are driving them around from one activity to another. They’re also expected to get honors in school. Instead of seeing an adventurous joy where they’re in control, they’re seeing their life as a world of adult instructed activities. They’re not pursuing their passions; most are pursuing their parent’s unfulfilled dreams.

The US Education System Has Changed For The Worse

I’ll bet most parents don’t realize that the education world has changed since they attended school. Class sizes used to be smaller, now you’re seeing a large teacher/student ratio. Schools are closing and combining grades K-12. Dropout rates were lower and violence almost unheard of in school back when we were younger. Now we see guns in schools, police officers to protect our kids and teachers. Teachers used to be able to step in during a fight to break it up – not anymore. Now they’re terrified of being sued for stepping between two students fighting. Why are we taking away their control?

Because the school systems have deteriorated considerably and, I don’t feel teachers are to blame. The problem is a structural one.  It is impossible, to allow students to take charge of their education in school. We’d have to redesign schools to make that happen. Instead of parents being directors they’d need to be helpers. They need to allow the educators to do their job. Teachers make a difference. If we create flexibility and respect our kids ideas and creative thoughts, we enable them to blossom.  Unfortunately, it is almost impossible because a teacher’s job is defined by how high their students score on their standardized test. As a society were aren’t concerned with what they’re learning; we’re concerned with how high they’re scoring on tests.

Education and the need to have children with the highest test scores won’t change until parents take a different stance. Parents need to fight for children to be children. Kids thrive in a world of discovery. Let’s get back to the times when they were able to have the freedom to be a kid.

Article by Joelle O’Reilly-Hyland.

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