Open Discussion Forum

 View Only
Expand all | Collapse all

BROKEN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

  • 1.  BROKEN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

    Posted 02-20-2023 04:52 AM

    I believe we all agree, our US educational system is broken. Children are out of control. Even preschoolers are presenting major behavioral challenges. Teachers are leaving in droves. Stress is at a breaking point! Something needs to change!

    I believe NAEYC was created just for this purpose; to change and improve our educational system for the benefit of both students and staff members. It really is all about the kids. 

    My question today, is what can I do to make our educational system better, besides following the rules and teaching my beloved little friends to the best of my ability? I joined this group for a reason. I would REALLY like to see changes. It is time for me to take a bigger role.

    I will call my local chapter of VAEYC. Any suggestions would be appreciated.



    ------------------------------
    Catherine Doherty
    pre-k teacher


    ------------------------------



  • 2.  RE: BROKEN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

    Posted 02-21-2023 08:28 AM

    Hi Catherine,

    I can hear your frustration and impetus to make a difference. I understand how you feel. Our public education system is indeed a broken system, and our early childhood care and education system is even more dysfunctional because of lack of public funding.

    When you say, "Children are out of control. Even preschoolers are presenting major behavioral challenges." I wonder if there is a way to redirect our observations to the adults who have neglected and ignored everything we know about what children need, rather than sounding like the children are the problem. Children are expressing their neglect (from lack of community investment in children, programs, and teachers), lack of consistency, and high quality of care. They aren't out of control - they are the victims and are hurting. Their actions are showing how much we have let them down. 

    Bravo! That you are joining your local chapter. There is much to do.

    In Maine, our chapter has a program called Leadership in Early Childhood Advocacy and Policy (LeAP) - maybe you can find something similar where you are.

    Sincerely, danielle gorman



    ------------------------------
    Danielle Gorman
    Early Childhood Coordinator
    Breakwater School
    Portland ME
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: BROKEN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

    Posted 02-21-2023 12:14 PM

    Thank you. You are right. It is NOT the children's fault. I didn't mean to make it sound like that. Yes, I am frustrated. I do every strategy I know how, and I am a veteran teacher of almost 30 years. I am looking for a way to make changes on a bigger level, I guess. I will look for a local group like yours. 

    Thank you.



    ------------------------------
    Catherine Doherty
    pre-k teacher
    Hampton City Schools
    Portsmouth VA
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: BROKEN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

    Posted 02-22-2023 12:47 AM
    I'm curious about this question of panic, and why now. What are the specifics being labeled "out of control"?  Hopefully we all have kept abreast of the concerns in the ECE field such as:
    decreased social skills post-pandemic, changes in school funding due to voucher systems sending funds to private schools, teacher burn-out, low pay for teachers in ECE, and of course the increased level of security guards and weapons in elementary schools.

    With both students and teaching staff handling more complex challenges and lives more frazzled than ever before, I think we have to look at all levels. What kind of changes do you envision? New policies? New disciplinary approaches? Better teacher training? More mental health supports and consults?

    Let's get specific if we are ringing a warning bell. American education is incredibly diverse in economics, types of communities, ethnic and racial groups:  different communities have very different needs. Today I read that our former U.S. president stated that the federal government should decide how students will be "disciplined." Yes, in public schools. So I urge caution and intelligence when sounding an alarm. Make sure you are looking broadly and using your teaching practice to put forth real changes. Best wishes to all of us.

    Mars Caulton ��





  • 5.  RE: BROKEN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

    Posted 02-22-2023 12:20 PM

    Ms. Caulton, I appreciate your answer and your concern. I am looking for a broader way to help my little friends. When I say "out of control," I mean increasing behavioral issues that teachers across the US have spoken to me about. There seems to be a commonality, at least in pre-k, but in other grades too. Behaviors such as throwing chairs, cursing at both adults and peers, kicking, biting, etc. We've always had some, of course. However, it seems to have increased and escalated. I do all the strategies I know of. My class is not necessarily better or worse than others. Many pre-k teachers have discussed this and we are constantly working on changes in ourselves and our immediate location.

    I desire to help mend the situation as I perceive it, on a larger scale. I just don't know how. I am currently enrolled in my local chapter of Early Childhood organization, and starting to get involved.

    I apologize if I offended you or anyone. That was not my intention.

    Cathy Doherty



    ------------------------------
    Catherine Doherty
    pre-k teacher
    Hampton City Schools
    Portsmouth VA
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: BROKEN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

    Posted 02-23-2023 11:14 PM

    I encourage all of us to think carefully and logically about what actually has changed, about where those changes occurred, and whether we can accurately lump all of these issues into a single box. I've seen behaviors in the 1980's that were similar to what I see now.  Can I compare them in terms of quantity? No, because they were in different communities. When we look at the strengths AND challenges of each and EVERY community, we see situations where the economy in a community is broken; where social services are broken; where violence is impacting a large community; where the pandemic school closures caused huge setbacks for some families while other families found new arrangements and thrived. 

    My point is that it is easy to lump this highly divided and complicated country into one "educational system."  But that solves nothing, because raising children and educating children are the most complex, the most worthy, and the most variable things. 

    In American education, some children are stored in prison-like brick schools all day; others are flourishing in Nature-based schools, arts-integrated schools, Emergent Curriculum schools; and others are in a system of rotating homes with caregivers each specializing in certain subjects to teach a cohort.  How can we acknowledge all of this and still insist that it is one educational system? And that the entire thing is broken?



    ------------------------------
    Mars April Caulton

    Chicago IL
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: BROKEN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

    Posted 02-24-2023 08:50 AM

    I've been in ECE classrooms since 2005 and I understand what you mean by increasing behavior challenges.  A child's brain updates faster than a smartphone. And unfortunately there are too many complicated behavior systems out there that make you buy books and workbooks and videos and ask you to spend hundreds of dollars on an early childhood educator's salary. I don't understand that model. That's not Win-Win in my eyes.



    ------------------------------
    Ron Shuali, M.Ed.
    ECE gardener
    Ronspeak
    Davie FL
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: BROKEN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

    Posted 02-25-2023 12:31 PM

    I agree Mars, this is a huge country and there is not one educational system.  There are certain behaviors that are showing up everywhere, but in different numbers and with different degrees of acknowledgement of the support needed, both of the teacher and of the student.

    I would say (and I think I already read this somewhere on this thread) that what can safely be said across all levels of education is that more kids are struggling, that the "one teacher many students" model is no longer adequate, and that the "one size fits all" model doesn't work at all.

    In an ideal world, we would have the flexibility to shake all of this up in a good way and implement more individualized education plans for all kids.

    And in this world, what I am coming back to over and over is that at the end of the day, I can do my best to really genuinely care for the kids in my care - and make sure that they know that - that actually seems to go much further and be much more important than I ever noticed in the past.



    ------------------------------
    Joanie Calem
    Music and Inclusion Specialist
    Sing Along
    Columbus, OH
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: BROKEN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

    Posted 02-21-2023 08:47 PM

    Hi Catherine,

    You're right - things are pretty broken. I joined my state's AEYC team and am joining them in DC this weekend and into next week to try to rock the boat a bit with congress. We almost got somewhere with Build Back Better, but we came up short and ECE was cut from the budget. We all know better than most that this is not sustainable and we're shouting from roof tops -- but to really start making a difference, reach out to your local chapter of AEYC and see if you can start some advocacy!

    Best of luck,

    Christina Davis



    ------------------------------
    Christina Davis
    Owner/Director/Lead Teacher
    Woodland Playhouse, LLC
    Phoenicia NY
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: BROKEN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

    Posted 02-26-2023 05:41 AM

    Thanks, everyone for your replies. I WILL reach out to my local chapter of VAAEYC and work towards bettering our educational system!



    ------------------------------
    Catherine Doherty
    pre-k teacher
    Hampton City Schools
    Portsmouth VA
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: BROKEN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

    Posted 02-22-2023 09:50 AM

    Catherine,

    Many states have coalitions working on these issues together att he legislative level and I see your state has one that includes VAEYC: https://vecaa.org/

    Also, sometimes you can make a big impact on a local level by talking with other human service agencies, local government and business leaders who are also being impacted by this problem (due to the impact on families.) For example, some communities are investing local dollars at a county or municipal level to improve compensation. So there are lots of ways to go, and what you are doing (talking with your local AEYC) is a great way to find out what your options might be.

    Beth Menninga 



    ------------------------------
    Beth Menninga
    St. Paul, MN
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: BROKEN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

    Posted 02-23-2023 08:08 AM

    Hello Catherine!

    Great post to start this conversation.  In my opinion one of the things that you said is the problem. "Follow the rules" is what this broken education system wants you to do. 

    Be with me as I write this and notice if your brain says I'm right or wrong. Either way it doesn't matter, this is just my opinion. The education system is perfectly designed based on the designers and the powers in charge.They want children following the rules, conforming, and doing what is being told of them and not talking back. That sounds like the opposite of creating powerful kids and helping kids follow their dreams and passions and be truly happy.

    The preschool to college pipeline is working on many. There is testing everywhere and the testing needs to be successful so that the government sends more money to the ones that are having their children successfully memorize information, put it on a piece of paper, and then memorize more.  And if scores aren't high enough then the schools are threatened with decreasing or losing their funding. How does that make sense? If scoring was bad wouldn't you want to put more funding into that school?

    And let's think...where else in life are their tests other than industrialized schools?  Other than a driving test,  Where else are their tests in life? Oh I know, the test to get you into college to have you make life altering financial decisions at 18 years of age. If people actually thought and looked at the return of investment on a college degree, and thought for themselves instead of being shamed that everyone needs to go to college, there would be less attendance. The government would make less money selling student loans to people that may pay for them for the rest of their lives.  And since student loans are the only loans you will never get rid of if you claim bankruptcy, it shows how important student loans are.

    This is why I only focus on early childhood as there is still the freedom to teach children the good and powerful life skills and social emotional skills that they'll need in reality. And why I am such a proponent of home schooling. Does this sound like a broken system or a perfectly created system? That depends on if you care about kids or care about control. I'm team kids!!

    Again these are only my opinions and are not the opinions of NAEYC or anyone else. 



    ------------------------------
    Ron Shuali, M.Ed.
    ECE gardener
    Ronspeak
    Davie FL
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: BROKEN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

    Posted 02-25-2023 11:47 AM

    Dear Ron:

    Cynical but on point! Let's not totally discourage people from college but the cost of college puts so many people in debt for the rest of their lives, particularly it is easy for this to happen if you are preparing to be a teacher.

    Test scores and big data are the tools used to control and determine what is good practice. Any program that deviates from a system in its approach and which cannot be measured by the use of big data - standardized test scores will have trouble being accepted as good practice. Our system is set up to teach follow the rules at all levels. We need teachers to advocate more for themselves, the children they teach, and families in general. 



    ------------------------------
    Nora Krieger, PhD
    Associate Professor Emerita/Past Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/NJ Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park, NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: BROKEN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

    Posted 02-25-2023 12:14 PM

    Well said!! I miss Highland Park by the way. Definitely craving a Dairy Deluxe sundae and some White Rose!



    ------------------------------
    Ron Shuali, M.Ed.
    ECE gardener
    Ronspeak
    Davie FL
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: BROKEN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

    Posted 02-25-2023 11:07 PM

    Keep in mind that the machinery has multiple pipelines.  For the middle class, it's the Preschool To College pipeline. For the economically poor, it's the Preschool To Prison pipeline (if you're unfamiliar with this, please reference the increased use of security guards and law enforcement to handle incidents involving preschoolers and kindergarteners: students too young to have developed enough executive functioning to rapidly deescalate from a tantrum etc.) There are lawsuits across the country of Black children as young as 5 and 6 yrs old being handcuffed by police and even driven to the police station before a parent is even called.  This is not a crisis of simply bad behavior: this is a crisis of a nation that is devaluing childhood itself. 



    ------------------------------
    Mars April Caulton

    Chicago IL
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: BROKEN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

    Posted 02-27-2023 11:45 AM

    Thanks Mars,
    I so appreciate that you are keeping this stark reality in front of us.

    I want to add another issue that has been keeping me up, which also relates to the conversation about frustrations over increased challenging behaviors. (Challenging to adults.)

    Ratios.

    Ratios were never ok; they never really allowed for the kind of 1 on 1 that many children require at the moment they need it.
    Now, most teachers I work with are reporting a lag of about a year in the areas that we care about most: social emotional development and self-regulation.

    My state allows a ratio of ten 3-year-olds to one adult, permitting a room of 20 with 2 adults. What happens when the 3-year-olds are functionally 2-year-olds? I have not seen any adjustment for this post covid reality.

    I believe we need to address how ratios are established right along with our advocacy for quality care for all children and a good living wage for workers.



    ------------------------------
    Karen Lefkovitz
    Independent Consultant
    Philadelphia PA
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: BROKEN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

    Posted 02-27-2023 12:42 PM

    I love that you highlighted "(Challenging to Adults)!!   

    Yes! They are just their behaviors! It's so challenging and rewarding when I watch an ECE educator's eyes widen when they get that for the first time. "Wait, what? This is about me and not the children?!?

    And if anyone is having behavior challenges and missed my Behavior Mastery workshop at NAEYC, here is the entire online course. It's super quick and easy to understand and really fun if you are willing to let your inner child come out and play!

    https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLC5sxjsoD6-zJLd5uwfLxVU12qAX8cMY-

    -Ron



    ------------------------------
    Ron Shuali, M.Ed.
    ECE gardener
    Ronspeak
    Davie FL
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: BROKEN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

    Posted 02-27-2023 05:15 PM

    Ratios are a huge issue at all levels.  Preschool levels are bad enough, but once children move into "big school," the numbers skyrocket and the academic pressure comes full force.  There is no justifiable reason for 28-30 children to be in each class or for kindergarten children to have multiple hours of daily direct reading instruction, yet here we are.  As long as the people who are making the decisions have no context or spend zero time in classrooms before determining the guidelines, we will continue to have this struggle.  And as long as teachers are not supported or are perceived as babysitters and their expertise is ignored or disrespected, they will continue to leave the field. 

    Unfortunately, what we now see in many schools are a small handful of veteran teachers who are staying with it to support their kids and are desperately trying to inject the SEL and caregiving practices that they know to be right; a majority of young teachers who are inexperienced and full of hope, but who are quickly disenchanted or realize that there are a plethora of jobs that are more lucrative and less stressful; administrators who either came from other fields and are sent to "clean up" the schools or who left the classroom to move up the ladder to a living wage; and a support system of teaching assistants and para-professionals who are of varying commitment and skill levels who are expected to fill the gaps that are created by the vacuum left by teacher loss.

    There are a lot of things that need to be on our corporate to-do list when it comes to fixing schools and early learning.  We can only hope that the folks who have the knowledge and the boots-on-the-ground access will be a larger part of the reconstruction.



    ------------------------------
    Holly Dalferes
    Harahan LA
    ------------------------------