What's wrong with America's schools?  iReport wants to hear from you!
June 11th, 2012
12:00 PM ET

What's wrong with America's schools? iReport wants to hear from you!

America’s higher education system is ranked as one of the world’s best, but there are great disparities in the country’s K-12 public school system. Performance rates at schools differ across the country and even in the same state. Two students in the same town may receive a totally different education based on the school they attend.

From a lack of funding and teacher shortages to alarmingly high drop-out rates, America is facing an unprecedented crisis in education. Based on your experiences, we’d like to hear what’s wrong with schools today. What could have been better about your own education? What areas could your school could improve? Or, if you had a great experience, tell us what your school system did right.

What should the next commander-in-chief do about the problems?

Turn on your video camera and let us know what’s wrong with schools today based on your own experiences. The most passionate and well-thought-out responses could be featured on CNN, and even in a one-on-one debate!

Send us your iReport!
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Filed under: iReport • Policy • Practice
soundoff (217 Responses)
  1. WachetAuf

    Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand.

    June 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  2. MTB

    What's wrong with schools? 1) UNIONS 2) An unnecessary Dept of Education

    June 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  3. Tom G

    No matter how hard we try, the human condition cannot be legislated. More and more mandates have yielded very little fruit. The process of Education is a most basic human experience, and yet we have systematically targeted those who dedicated their lives to it, to ridicule, the Teacher. Thirty years ago, the teacher was always right, now no matter what the situation, they are wrong. Public education is being smeared into oblivion, because it represents the new frontier for profit. Test,test,test and teach the test, and then wonder why nothing changes. Cynical, you bet..., but I passed that test!
    This is just one grandiose experiment at best, and somewhere in the future we will realize that people are not widgets, and when you only measure the outcome, you fail to see the journey. We are not produced on an assembly line in a controlled environment, with the exact same materials, and therefore we will never all be the same. We seem to think that individuals can be manufactured...not!

    June 14, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • dmedina

      Well said my friend...well said

      June 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  4. annie

    Lack of discipline and lack of respect for teachers and education. Till high school, students need to work less, text less, and study more.

    June 14, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  5. annie

    Lack of discipline, lack of respect for education and for teachers. Till high school students need to work less and spend the time studying.

    June 14, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  6. Iowagirl33

    Too many administrators, too little discipline and "tenured" teachers. Fire the poor quality teachers and pay the good ones what they are worth!!! Require classroom discipline again. Allow the children to fail...this is a lesson they HAVE to learn and yet schools are changing traditional grading scales so Jr doesn't get his psyche hurt. Teach that HARD work pays off...not everyone gets a gold star, you have to earn it!

    June 14, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • CRazycow99

      I totally agree. I have a special perspective as I have a spuse who is a teacher and I am a parent of children in the public school system. There are too many administrators. Why does an elementary school gym teacher need 2 aides? There are many teachers who do the minimum amount of work and collect a paycheck and 3 administrators for every 1 teacher. Really? A good teacher doesn't need an administrator and aide should come from the PTA, not a paid wanna-be. Cut the fat, and keep the teachers who perform consistently. Better yet, let them teach the teahcers who wnat to learn how it's done right. That's how you improve the system!

      June 14, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  7. Peaches

    Two words: Teacher's Union. Get rid of them, the improvement in schools will not only be instantaneous, but astounding.

    June 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • John

      Also: Parents who don't care and expect the staff to do their job. Having classes in spanish for illegals.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
      • dmedina

        Really? have classes in spanish for illegals??...Yes John, because only illegals speak spanish...ignorant much?

        June 14, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • SCS90

      Let education policy be decided by education professionals – those "highly qualified" according to the NCLB legislation – and then make the politicians BACK OFF. The farther away from the classroom you get, the less qualified the decision-makers are – certainly they are out of touch with the factors that really impact education.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • m

      If only it were that easy! I live in a state without them, and we have some of the worst schools in the country.
      The problem is the whole factory model–the perception you can put in kindergartners as raw material and get a standardized product 13 years later, with everyone on the same timetable. It's sometimes possible for families to overcome this, especially with a good work ethic and fairly average kids–but go along with a culture that values entertainment over learning and it's a disaster.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • CRazycow99

      I disagree. Teacher's Union is necessary due to the fact that the Distrcits will can a great teacher just as fast as they kick a bad teacher to the curve. The union is there to ensure that the teachers get paid based on their merit. Most good school districts pay their teachers bsed on their historical performance and years successfully being a teacher. But some pay entry level teachers the same as one that's been there doing great work for decades. Not fair at all. In addition, Teacher Union ensure that teachers limited benefits don't get cut because some district missuses it's tax dollars. They keep the Administrators in line.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Mr. S

      If you really believe that is the only necessary fix, then you have something else coming to you. Many states that are NON-unionized are not much better off. If the difference between union and non-union sates is nonexistent, then why would this fix everything?

      June 15, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  8. Linda

    Schools are expected to be responsible for family/parent tasks–ensure that kids eat nutritious food, wear appropriate clothes, get enough sleep, use good manners...the list goes on and on and on. I propose that we return those responsibilities to the parents and allow teachers to focus on helping students learn in the classroom. If necessary, let's offer some parenting classes (require them for parents whose children don't get good food, or warm clothing, or use good manners) and insist that parents step up. If we do this, I predict that achievement will improve.

    June 14, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • NC2012

      I agree. When are the parents held responsible? My wife has been teaching elementary school for 21 years. It's getting much worse. She teaches 3rd grade at an inner city school and there is such apathy that is passed down from the parents to the students. Both just don't care about education. The would rather commit crimes to support themselves or not work at all and let the system support them. The work ethic is out the window.

      June 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • agreewu

      I agree with you completely. School seems to be more of a babysitting service, at least in the area I live in. Teachers don't have enough time in the day to teach academics AND raise someone's kid(s). So many parents just don't care! It's sad, and the kids suffer in the end. Add that to the "everyone is a winner" mentality and the education systems are in trouble.

      June 14, 2012 at 3:42 pm |

    First, politicians don’t write the tests; educators do. If the tests do not properly reflect what a student should reasonably be expected to know, and then change the test. I find it hard to believe that a group of experienced educators cannot write such a test; even a multiple choice test. Secondly, provide merit pay for excellent teachers and remove bad teachers from the classroom. Third, inform students as to the correlation between their school performance and the opportunities they will have in life. Asian families are fanatics on this point and their results show it.

    June 14, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • SCS90

      Bobincal, I thought that too until I had the "pleasure" of being involved in test writing as an educator. Our job was hijacked by state-dictated guidelines about everything from narrowly focused questions to how to set the cut scores. It was a sham.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  10. 2bits

    Bad pupils

    June 14, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  11. LKB

    Give disciplinairy actions back the the front liners (Teachers, Aides, etc). Students wrongful actions should not be left to the administrators. The children do not respect the front liners because they have no say in what type of punishment should be administered. So they act out until they are sent to the principals office. Who then gives the kids candy and send them back to the environment that got them sent to the principals office in the first place. The students have no reason to respect teachers when they know the teacher has no say in the results of there negative behavior.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  12. Renee

    There is no respect or personal responsibility demanded of the kids. In my personal opinion – our whole society went downhill once they took discipline out of the school system. Still comes down to the parents tho. Those who think their little Johnny can do no wrong.

    June 14, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  13. APB

    There are many problems with schools today. First is student behavior. Students are so disruptive now that not even the best teachers could teach. Related to student behavior are both parents who refuse to raise their children and administrators who refuse to do anything with students who prevent teachers from teaching for the sake of political correctness. Of course there is the issue of funding. Related is the matter of incompetent administrators who squander what resources they have. Furthermore, education has become so unattractive that it is difficult to get good people to consider entering that field.

    June 14, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • NC2012

      Totally agree, APB!

      June 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • SCS90


      June 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • mom read me a book

      I agree with you too. Some kids just dont care, they want to entertain their friends at the expense of all the others in the class who lose instruction time. Some kids will choose to be sent out of class to detention because they want to appear cool to the others or they are trying to run the teacher or they have a behavior problem. Some kids you just cant reson with them or re-direct them because at home their world is a battle ground and they fight that is all they know. What and how an administrator deals with this makes all the difference.

      I wish there was more instruction on CONFLICT RESOULTION. I see many students who dont know how to deal with the smallest of problems in the class, with their peers and themselves. It makes me sad to see very young children who rage I know they will grow up to be angry adults who go to jail for assalt.

      June 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  14. kathleenrobinson425

    Teachers, even proven great teachers who have motivated and opened the higher learning skills of students over the years, are now regulated to teaching from mandated curriculum ( which has no room for innovative thinking, flexible pacing – spending just 5 days on division before jumping right into only 7-10 days on fractions – not making this up, folks – and which sole purpose is to prepare students for a multiple choice test, a test which government officials have decided is the ultimate measure of learning, higher thinking, talent, creativity, inventiveness.) Of course teachers are frustrated and discouraged. Yet they carry on, working many hours after school, coming in on weekends or taking work home, struggling to find a way to teach above and beyond this bland, boring curriculum. Even the old fashioned textbook is so much clearer, more organized, laid out for interest with illustrations, maps, graphs, questions for discussion, but the new worksheet-centered curriculum is all some schools allow their teachers – even the previously highly successful ones – to use in the classroom. As one teacher said to me, "I'm not an educator antmore; I'm a delivery system."

    June 14, 2012 at 3:01 am |
  15. Dee Rivers-Yowell

    In Florida, it's the ridiculous F-CAT. This prep time for this test is obscene; teachers have to "teach to the test"; it creates stress and anxiety in even the youngest of students; it proves nothing, as some kids have serious test anxiety. Well, the list goes on and on. How is it that countless generations of Florida students–decades before the bad idea of the F-CAT became a bad requirement–graduated successfully and have led meaningful, productive lives. i know of no teacher that does not hate the F-CAT. Take the cursed thing away and give their time back to teachers to actually teach. God knows it's bad enough that in this state teachers have to often stock their classrooms out of their own puny pockets. Our embarrassing rating among U.S. schools ought to be enough to shake some sense into our legislature about these issues: ought to be, but isn't.

    Another problem is passing to age: if a child has not grasped the concepts of the subjects taught during the year, the child needs to repeat the grade or attend and pass summer school in order to earn promotion.

    The removal of recess, art, and music is sickening. The impact these have on a child's learning is immeasurable.
    If the Legislature really cares, let all of them, and the Governor, take a major pay cut and donate the money to
    help support the above programs.

    Florida is graduating students from high schools who are not functionally literate. That should be illegal.

    June 14, 2012 at 2:09 am |
  16. irateiconoclast

    Notwithstanding the substandard "material" that goes into them–it's evident that any educational system that could influence anyone to vote for the miserable, KenyaNesian Muzzlumm–GRAND EMIR SHIZZLE-NIZZLEhuSSeinAl-Bummah–for president..is intrinsically, inherently defective!!!

    June 14, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  17. Glori

    What's wrong? Politicians, who are not educators, are running education and giving fewer funds every year to finance education. Testing is their answer for everything. We, teachers, spend so much time teaching to the test, and students spend so much time preparing to test, taking benchmark tests, preparing to test some more and then taking the actual tests. Everything is geared to the test! Passing a multiple choice state test does not necessarily reflect how well prepared the student is for higher education. And stop beating up on teachers!! Everyone, including politicians, administrators, and parents, wants to blame the teacher. Teacher bashing has become epidemic. I could go on and on and on. Our students deserve better from the politicians who run this country than what they are receiving. They are our hope and future, and we as a country are in serious trouble when our benchmark for competency is having passed a state mandated test.

    June 13, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  18. san

    Maybe CNN could improve education in the United States by setting a decent example and proofreading before publishing. For example, this article states: "What areas could your school could [sic] improve?"

    June 13, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  19. YEPthat'sME

    The teachers spend more than half a school day correcting children's behavior or RE-Instructing children who are unable to meet the rigors of their current grade. Teach according to skill level and put the disruptive kids with all the rest of the disruptive kids–don't put them with the kids who want to behave and learn. Geez, what a concept.

    June 13, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  20. Truthseeker

    Areas of concern:

    1) There are so many regulations to follow that good administrators must devote a large amount of time just to "follow the rules";
    2) Not all adminstrators are good administrators–in the local secondary school district, the (acting) superintendent is uncontrollable. He concocts schemes and creates drama, partially in an effort to keep everyone else struggling to maintain equilibrium, so that he has more room to build his power blocks. The board of trustees as a unit is not strong enough to handle him–lots of kowtowing. Decisions made do not benefit the schools, they benefit the superintendent and the school board. The population is trying to gain some control, but it is an on-going struggle.

    3) There are some great students, some good students, and some uninterested students. CA is trying to track the drop-out rates by assigning every student an ID number as 7th graders. And then note when some of the students stop showing up–this way transfers can be tracked much better. Not sure what the plan is for actually contacting the students whose numbers indicate they are no longer attending school anywhere...I think it is important to find a learning environment that will work. If learning centers work better for some kids, let them go and try it out!

    4) It does help when parents know what their kids are doing, and encourage kids to build interests and make goals. Parents can't blame school counselors if their children are not sure what they should do after high school. Counselors can give (rather standard) advice, they can't be expected to fully determine a pathway!

    June 13, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  21. since you asked...

    While the majority of the issues regarding funding begins w/the state budget here in California, it's only compounded at the district level (which trickles down to the individual school sites) where a SACS report is not thoroughly understood and properly used. Principals are responsible for how these funds are distrubted. Unforunately, aquedate training is scarce and minimized. Consequently, parents and school officials are told there's not enough money, while money earmarked for books may have been transferred to an account for school lunches; money for an after school program may be transferred to cover an account for paper supplies, teachers paid out of the General account and so on.

    Next, a cirriculum that teaches children how to think and apply that knowledge, embrace their nature as curious, energetic and active children versus the memorization of abstract facts would help to keep kids motivated about learning! Is it a wonder why a child looses his/her fire for attending class when the subject matter is irrelevant to his/her reality? Parents prepare children for the rest of the life one day at a time. How are our public schools contributing w/standardized tests?

    While there are several other things that could be stated, a cirriculum where African Americans can relate and excel is paramount to not only the success of the school, but to the overall success of the student, his/her family, the community and society at large. The fact that this is shunned should be criminal. Rob the minds of the youth, indoctrinate them w/confusion and allow "tests" to measure their self-worth because that's where it shows up for the child – in the heart.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  22. OldBill

    Schools today are being asked to do a nearly impossible job without adequate tools. Corporal punishment is not allowed. You can't keep the children after school because of the busing. And, you can't make the parents responsible for the child's behavior either. Add to that, learning activities compete with some very interesting and entertaining alternatives for the child's time. Without strong support from parents, it's almost certainly a losing battle for the teachers. It's not the younger generation who is failing, it's the generation that brought them into the world.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Me

      @OldBill AMEN!!!!

      June 13, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  23. Kathleen Robinson

    The first problem is the lesgislative mandate that ALL children will learn ALL curriculum at the EXACT SAME RATE and to the SAME LEVEL and pass the SAME TEST. Then, as a mandate, lump all the students into one classroom under one teacher and, if they're lucky, one special ed teacher use job is now to

    June 13, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Kathleen Robinson

      Got cut off. The special education teacher must try to FORCE the special ed students to hear, absorb, internalize, and master the same material at the same rate as the brightest students in the room. These students become defeated, discouraged, and disruptive. Students trying to learn are distracted and disturbed.
      Now, can the teacher lower the curriculum standards? He/she could, to the detriment of the children eager to be challenged, the detriment of mandated test scores, and to the jeopardizing of his/her job. No the teacher has to follow a standardized and, usually superficial curriculum (because it too is designed toward nothing more than a multiple choice test.) the special ed teacher can't do the job she/he does best, which is small group, one-on-one, hands-on individualized teaching to raise the special ed children to learn to the best of their ability. No one wins.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
      • mom read me a book

        I agree this is one factor making it hard for the whole class bu there are many other factors.How many parents read to their kids? How many parents feed them a diet that supports focus. High sugar hypes up many kids. How many parents actually take an intrest in education and either make this most important goal or go to PTA to support the school? All in all many kids dont have a father the mother is overwhelmed and preoccupied with self. Why are rural kids easier to teach than urban and inner city??? My point too many family problems and lack of involvement or encouragement. When mommie and daddy do not achieve in life neither does little Jane or Jonnie, a parents expctations example and lifestyle are a big part of the problem in todays classroom.

        June 14, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  24. kimmy

    They took God out of school. A simple fact of life.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Mr. Flying Spaghetti Monster

      Blame our forefathers for that one, Kimmy. Stupid Bill of Rights!

      June 13, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  25. SoCalMom

    Teach kids how to read. Teach kids how to write. Do away with multiple choice/truefalse testing. Students (and now adults) are losing the ability to form complete sentences. Back to the basics should be the rule. Stop trying to be fancy. Read classic literature, teach, REALLY TEACH, math, history, geography and spelling. Let kids have a break (recess). Dump busy work.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Fossilhund

      SoCalMom, can we make you the education tsar for the country? You are right on target. We've lost teaching the basics, which are the foundation for more advanced material. We need to start expecting more of school children, and of ourselves. This country is dumbing down more and more every day.

      June 13, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  26. RUSS-124

    America's schools are NOT what they used to be and are getting worse. The educational system was hijacked, what WAS working, due to christian principles, was thrown out, and an excuse for education, based on political correctness and secular humanism is in its place. Scores are dropping, self esteem is rock-bottom, integrity in science is full of holes, kids are commiting suicide and bring guns to school and using them. For years now, kids have been taught that they are animals (not human beings), and now they're acting like it. Surprise, surprise!! Drug use and teen-age pregancies, going through the roof; kids have lost their way due to the lies they are being taught. Tolerance has replaced right and wrong, and RIGHTS have become paramount and RESPONSIBILITY is totally ignored.

    June 13, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Mr. Flying Spaghetti Monster

      According to Carolus Linnaeus (a creationist, like you it seems) we are all Animals just like all of our parents were before us. Science is NOT full of holes just your belief that it is flawed.

      June 13, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  27. walkingfan

    ..our schools need help, but there is nothing basically wrong – what wrong is the kids that are going to school nowadays. An entire generation of dysfuctionals.

    June 13, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  28. mekeppel@hotmail.com

    Schools do not put students first. It's the so-called "teachers unions" and their interests (money and raw power) that come first. Students just are the nameless, faceless, widgets in the unionized factories of mass child abuse known as "public schools". Big city public schools should be abolished and parents given vouchers to send their children to any school they desire as long as it fulfills some well defined goals. Even many of the best public schools are mediocre and have pitifully low standards by comparison with other nations. Children must be able to walk into a school and feel and be safe and in a clean professional environment that requires proper behavior and where they are treated as individuals not numbers. That's it. Get the unions and their destructive teachers contracts and work rules out of the schools. Teachers will get their profession back and communities will get their tax dollars to do what they want, and kids will get an education.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Art

      You really are clueless aren't you? The states with the highest reading and math scores are the states with the strongest unions. The states without unions are behind. The problem is that everyone, you included, thinks that they are experts. I taught for 34 years and that makes ME an expert.

      June 13, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Mr. Flying Spaghetti Monster

      Please tell me what other nations attempt to educate EVERY one of their children all the way to the 12th grade??? They don't. If you cannot make the grade, they go to a trade school (if they are lucky) and are not forced to learn a subject that may be beyond their capabilities. Here EVERY student has a right to a free and public education whether they want it or not. Teachers are required to teach these uninterested, unmotivated, emotionally troubled, poverty-striken, malnourished, drug-induced (legally and nonlegally) students AND make them pass a standardized, taxpayer provided test from a testing company that lobbied your Senator or Congresswoman to pay for it. But a voucher is the answer because the charter schools that accept them (at least in my state) are not required to abide by the same standards and testing requirements as the public schools. So please carry on with your ignorantly laced rant.

      June 13, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
      • Me

        @Mr. Flying Spaghetti Monster AMEN!!!

        June 13, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • SCS90

      Thank you, Scott Walker...

      June 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  29. Trey

    1) Provide enough money to all schools to provide good, solid education.
    2) End the practice of teaching to the test. Too much time is taken up with this and it kills teacher creativity and student curiosity.
    3) Less emphasis/pressure for the "grade" and more emphasis on understanding and basic skills.
    4) More arts and music; studies show these improve learning in other areas.
    5) Less time/money/attention on sports

    June 13, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Mr. Flying Spaghetti Monster

      Awesome post. You must have at one point been or appreciated a teacher.

      June 13, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  30. Youcanthandlethetruth

    First, I disagree with a lot of the comments blaming parents. I am a very involved parent trying to teach my high school daughter the importance of education. The problem I'm seeing is that teachers aren't really "teaching" anymore - at least not in our district (one of the top in the state). I am having to spend a lot of money on tutors outside of school to help my daughter. Second, every year the material is the same. I disagree that it's about going back to basics. Every year our children are required to take the same subjects over and over. While I believe this is important at an elementary level, I think middle school and college should be a place to better prepare our kids for a future - be it college or work. Expose them to different real-life careers and paths in middle school and then test them to find their strengths/gifts (I'm not talking about standardized tests). Finally, in high school let them spend more time outside of the classroom working alongside people in the profession they appear to be well suited for. To be fair, colleges need a makeover, too. The first two years are more of the same they had in high school...English, Math, History...it should be a time to help them continue on the journey they started in high school. Have them study/work in a foreign country. A lot of kids can't even afford college. I agree with some of the earlier posts about society at large being to blame. We have grown complacent here in America. The rest of the world is moving forward...we need to, as well.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Kathleen Robinson

      Yep. Including college, I studied Macbeth 3 times, Oedipus Rex 3 times, Beowulf twice.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Guard1an

      After graduating from High School over 20 years ago, I initially attended a local junior college and met a very smart 16 year old girl who was in one of my classes. She informed me that she realized a simple truth about high school in that the courses she was planning on taking in high school, she would have to take again once in college. So, she dropped out of high school, took the GED and then attended the local junior college. When her friends graduated from high school, she was in her junior year of college. When her friends were graduating with a AA, she already obtained a Bachelor of Science and was working on her Masters degree. Why take the same courses in high school and college? If you are going to take Algebra, Trigonometry, Physics, Chemistry, Foreign Language, English, etc etc it might as well be for college credit.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • NC2012

      Youcanthandlethetruth, YOU can't handle the truth! I am a father of 10 year old twins and both my wife and I are vey involved with their schooling. They just received straight A's for the entire school year. My wife has been teaching elementary school for 21 years. She is currently a 3rd grade teacher and the majority of students and parents just don't care about schooling and education. They would rather blame the "babysitter" teacher than take accountability, themselves. Teachers can not do their jobs without parents to back them up, POINT BLANK PERIOD! The aparthy among the students and parents needs to change and the parents need to be held accountable, perhaps their government assistance threatened, to make them responsible.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
      • SCS90

        Exactly, for every involved, competent parent I interact with, I seem to encounter some oaf who thinks their child can do no wrong or who doesn't care what their kid does. When I send home failing progress reports (and verify that they have made it to the parent) multiple times and the parent makes NO response or outright says that he or she doesn't care, that pretty much tells me that I won't get very far with that child. It's sad.

        June 14, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  31. felix el gato

    It's the same difference between penned and free range animals.

    June 13, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  32. Michael

    I think a better question is: What's wrong with the education system in America? There's much beyond the scope of schools that's wrong...the culture of education in American (at a young age, it's not "cool" to do well in school), parents don't always care about kids doing well in school (or aren't able to reinforce this), there are lots of other factors outside of "schools" themselves. I think it's unfortunate that all people talk about is throwing more money at schools to improve them (which may be necessary), but I think there are much bigger problems in education system (where system extends beyond just schools – to parents, government, culture of America, etc). You wouldn't solve obesity problems in America by throwing more money at gyms I don't think. Sorry to pick on the issue of funding, but it's what I always hear people talking about when it comes to improving schools...pay teachers more, reduce the class sizes, more schools, better schools, more equipment, more / better books, more programs, etc.

    June 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  33. Al Buddy

    We have to stop force feeding education. Just because you present the facts and cram the basic information into their little heads does not make them smarter. Developing curiosity so they learn to teach themselves is far more important. Once you ignite the fire of why? Then you will have students who teach themselves. Exposure to the variety of what can be taught/learned is more important than the basics. Learning is self taught, teaching should be exploratory to find the niche that ignites a life long quest to learn more from the student. You can start a fire that burns forever in education or you can pummel them with basics til they are so bored with school they never want to know more.

    June 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  34. Face

    The U.S. is 37th in education spending as a % of GDP, so let's get that straight. The problem is we have distinct ethnic groups that respond to education differently. Also, we should not be educating from the concept that everyone should go to college. We should start categorizing students when they are young and teach them a life skill like how to work in the service industry or auto repair for example. There should be technical high schools that are geared towards gainful employment versus college preparation. What we need to do is stop spending money on non-performing schools that cannot teach students how to read, right, and do arithmetic.. almost always in some ethnic community, and convert them into tech schools where students learn how to talk in proper English as well as a skill... would you like cheese with that?

    June 13, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  35. SS

    Schools have gotten away from the basic reading, writing and arithmetic curriculum. These basic teachings are needed in every aspect of one's life yet not instilled. The priority in schools is being politically correct. Parents often times are not inolved nor have they taught their children to be respectful to adults and others so therefore teachers and schools spend a majority of time on those issues while not enough time spent on students thatl can't read. More than every, schools are concerned with even what the students are eating/drinking. These are issues that should be taken care of at home and not by schools. School districts spend wastefully when very little is needed to provide a good education. Teachers have taken the roles of mothers/caregivers because so many parents are not inolved so there is so much to be done and not enough time.

    June 13, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  36. Annie

    Schools need to extend the social studies, history, and current issues curriculum. We went right up to (but did not cover) the Cold War, and in fact, I did not encounter my first lecture on post-WWII material until my third year of college. For example, the US-led disposal of Prime Minister Muhammad Mussadeq in the early 1950s and the events that followed provide insight on the current relationship that the US has with the Middle East. This material was completely left out of our class discussions in high school. Post-graduation I felt powerless and unprepared to approach and analyze my government's stance on international issues despite my general awareness of military action in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan going on at the time. What schools need is a curriculum that includes an unbiased, fact-focused assessment the last 50 years so that the upcoming generation may be provided with the tools to think critically about our actions in the global community.

    June 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  37. Richard

    Make school year round, or trimesters. Adjust teachers pay to fit year round salaries consumerate with those having simular job sets. Make teachers accountable for the work and the results of the students, get rid of tenure, dump bad teachers, Government should make it easier to get an education by putting more money into the system and providing incentiives to get into college, like free college if you maintain 3.5 grade point average. Once in college maintain at least a 3.25 grade point average to keep that tution free education. To much emphasis is place on athletes and not on the people that really contribute to the world, like engineers, sicence, health, technology. Get the students to realize school is like having a job, and there are responsibilites and ramifications of bad choices. Get the students ready for life!

    June 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  38. Lainie11

    Why won't you publish my post on the problems in the government schools?

    June 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  39. mageen

    Classes are way too large. To get smaller classes we would need more teachers, something we are now being told we do not need along with police and fire fighters. The best producing classes I have ever seen were as small as 3 (private school). Home schooling parents will tell you that a class of one is the best producing size. Decades ago home schooling was prevalent and they were turning out kids who could read not only on their level but much higher up. Plus they had cricitcal thinking skills. I know kids who are A students in higher math but cannot think critically. Whats up with that?

    June 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  40. Mike

    The problem with American education is actually a social problem: How a child "performs" in school largely depends on the importance a child places on doing well. This, in turn, is driven by parents. There are always special cases, but exceptions do not make the rule. Contemporary society teaches us the acceptability of personal mediocrity and responsibility shedding. This self defeating philosophy is then handed down to our children. Even dedicated teachers can not undo this damage. This is not a criticism of teachers and well meaning school administrators, it is an observation that we are focusing our attention in the wrong place.

    June 13, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Dave

      Here, here! So much truth to this post but so very unpopular politically.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  41. Errogant 2

    The problem is adults who argue so damn much, and push for changes so often, that children don't have any time to actually learn how to learn and be excited about the process.

    June 13, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  42. SlowKid

    Times are changing and so is the culture. I think to fix the school system we need to use computers and games to educate, sorry but that is how kids learn. Also look at the site like http://www.khanacademy.org he does a fantastic job. As an adult, I even take his classes instead of watching tv or just listening to radio. Not only does he know the subject but also he can effectively teach it. And yes, it works, really well especially for “slow” kids.

    People do learn differently and the only way to help them learn is by utilizing technology, especially with all the autism cases.

    The role of teachers should be to further explain if needed and monitor the learning process of students. They should be held accountable for their students learning and tested rigorously.

    A computer never tires, never has a bad day or day off and once recorded the recording never changes. Teachers who can teach and are the best at it should be paid like superstars and treated as such.

    And now for a touchy subject, socialization and keeping kids in school so their parents can work, that is why the school day is so long. There should be a class on socialization, I am not calling it manners but what society expects from you, how does one conducts themselves in a socially responsible way. Conflict resolution, how to cool down when angry, how to rationalize and make better decisions, how to make a good impression and so on. Lets face it is not something that kids pick up at home, well maybe some do.

    Why would you not teach the foreign born kids? Why would you want to immerse them in the culture and give them an opportunity to do better than their parents, who are probably scrubbing your toilets and or wiping behinds of elderly left to rot in nursing homes by their families? Has anyone though what would happen if the children are not taught English or have a taste of what their life could be? I highly doubt the parents would pack up and leave, so what would these children do? Culture immersion is what keeps this country together, so there is nation of Americans, not enclaves of foreign nationals with their own agendas.

    There has been a lot of research done on how people learn, it is about time to create programs tailored for each individual learning style.

    I am an adult, in my 30s, I have always struggled with school, I was the slow kid, I was actually called stupid by my teacher in front of the class. Not that I was looking for it but after stumbling on khan academy, I do take his classes, they are free about 10 minutes each and I am actually enjoying learning, or relearning all the dreaded science and math.

    Let me reiterate my point one more time: use technology to teach. If it can work for me, it can work for anybody else.

    June 13, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  43. Stonecarver

    The learning process is about PLAY, about how the GAME is Played –
    Politicians play the people to stay in employed –
    Teach Unions and Boards of Eduactions play the people to stay employed –
    Teachers play the NCLB to keep employed –
    Parents play the students enrollment so they don't get arrested –
    Students play the learning process because they have to –

    Sounds cynical doesn't it...
    Truth is found by those who deserve it. Comparison is the key.
    Teach the decision making process, and perception will become.
    or else don't...

    June 13, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  44. Rcmd2004

    What do schools need to do? Easy answer, throw everything done to "improve" the system since 1968 out the window and return to the basics. High school graduates that cannot read or write cursive and who can only do math with the aid of a calculator? Are you kidding me? A lot of the problems in the classroom could also be resolved with a return to the good old paddle for unruly students. People of my generation survived and were better citizens for it. It's a shame that a high school and college gard from the 1960 era has a better education than 99.9% of the people walking out of grad school with a basically undeserved masters degree. Too many lazy parents also aflicts the system. "No child left behind". What a farce.

    June 13, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  45. Radionerd

    The problem with schools today is equality. Every student does not learn at the same rate so the schools hold some back and push others through (these are the drop outs) The smart ones get bored in school and quit learning so the best you can hope for is average student.

    June 13, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  46. cawilco

    The Art Are Missing!

    June 13, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  47. cawilco


    June 13, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  48. mike

    In direct response to the article. What should the next commander in chief do? Well, there is not a commander-in-chief of education, but one assumes they mean the next POTUS. What POTUS should do is exactly what was on the 1996 GOP platform – abolish the DOE. Federal has no business in education. Let that be a state issue. Or better, a parent issue.

    The biggest issue is that we have too many parents who have bought into the teachers union hogwash. Class size is my favorite falsehood. High school classes should have 50-100 kids. If we are expecting them to go to college, then keeping them in 30 kid classrooms is foolish. Freshmen level college courses often have 300 students.

    If you greatly increased class size, you could fire a good 30-40% of the teachers. At the same time, give the good teachers a hefty raise. This would attract more qualified people to the ranks of teachers long term.

    But, the union does not want to get rid of anyone, even the bad teachers. Somehow, they have the public brainwashed into this tiny class size is good mentality, which does nothing more than increase its teacher membership roles.

    June 13, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • James

      You are so misguided. The freshmen lecture halls are for courses such as Algebra and Biology lectures. Lectures only and not everyone who goes to high school is going to go on to a large university where these classes are that large.

      June 13, 2012 at 10:49 am |
      • aflarend

        And those large lecture classes are highly ineffective in any subject. Student learn for the test and promptly forget it. This has been proven time and time again in research. So if large lecture sections do not work with presumably highly motivate, intelligent students, then it certainly won't work with the whole population of K-12 students

        June 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Linnea

      As a recent graduate of a smaller, public school, I completely disagree. In my freshman year of college, I found that having been a part of small classes (no more than 25 students per class) in high school was significantly beneficial to my learning style. If you're used to small classes, you are continually prepared to be the student who is called upon in class discussion– a large part of most college courses. But coming out of a high school class of 300, a student is able to slip through the cracks and ride on other student's coat tails (not to say that this is the majority of students, but it does happen) without receiving the one-on-one education they deserve, and automatically assume this role in college courses as well.

      June 13, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  49. Chris F

    School districts are so worried about getting keeping their "Accredation" to teach the SOL or CAT Tests to actually teach the kids. I have 2 Juniors in H.S. who don't know how to write in cursive because its not taught anymore in school. Everything is on the computer, they don't bring home books, because they weren't issued them. How can this be, no textbooks to do homework with? Technology is taking over but we need to get back to fundamentals of learning.

    June 13, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • mike

      Chris, sounds like your school system is doing what is SHOULD do. Cursive is dead. When I was in HS, they taught Latin. That too is gone now – and that is a good thing.

      Schools should be moving forward, faster than they are. Books should be gone as a physical medium.

      June 13, 2012 at 10:08 am |
      • APB

        I have to disagree on one point. It is not good that Latin is gone. At the very least, even a brief introduction to Latin is the best way to improve scores on the SAT verbal section AND facilitates learning any other European language, much as learning C at least to some extent facilitates learning newer programming languages. Concerning books, not so sure they need to go either. At the very least a hard copy of the text would enable learning to continue at times when the technology is down. Some disciplines, applied music for one cannot be studied without hard copy of the texts. Hard copy is also not so easy to tamper with as electronic media, much as a film photograph cannot be nearly so easily altered as a digital image.

        June 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • CC


      June 13, 2012 at 10:45 am |
      • walkingfan

        unless it's a parochial school, god should not have a place in it. Not everyone has a god, and those that don't would feel totally abandoned. God should live at everyone's home, no matter what you call him or her or it.

        June 13, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  50. darryl

    Whats wrong with schools? Well , for one, we allow COMPUTERS to be in the class rooms, and these kids are on chat boards such as cnn , yahoo aol, and posting , instead of doing school work with the computers, using a computer is not teaching our children , anything, its just allowing them to use a computer to find a answer . Not learning what the answer is, WE pay teachers way more then they should get, this is not a MOVIE STAR job here, you work 6 months you dont deserve $50,000 a yaer to do this job, they took this JOB to TEACH not MAKE MONEY, and we as a country have GONE way OVERBOARD allowing cell phones I PADS and COMPUTERS to be used for school work.

    June 13, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • MarylandBill

      Teachers don't work just 6 months a year. They work nine, and from the days when my wife was a teacher, I can tell you that they often are working 12-14 hour days during the school year... the time they are in school, plus the time they spend at home preparing lesson plans, etc. And of course they have continuing education requirements that will often take a significant bite out the the time off that they do have... and that is assuming they don't teach summer school.

      And if you compare teachers with others with a similar level of education, they are underpaid... so they certainly are not doing it for the money.

      Now, I am not saying there are not bad teachers out there, there are... but there are also bad parents, poor curriculums, and mandates to teach to the test (for no child left behind).

      June 13, 2012 at 9:26 am |
      • Kenman

        quite simply, bull. I've worked in schools for over ten years, and most teachers are indeed part-time workers. They make more than me, even though I have the same level of professional credentials, and yes, I have to continually update my certifications. I have to work 12 months a year, ten hours a day in the schools, but I do not get overtime. I do not get summers off, and I can't tell you how many times my phone rings at 9:00am on a Sunday because the Super can't get into her email. How many teachers do that? Your wife may indeed be an exception, but 95% of the teachers I work with are part-time slackers who can't maintain a job outside a school environment.

        June 13, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • TiffanyS


      Teachers are in fact employed to teach. Why wouldn't we teach our students to use the technology that is available and used worldwide? Students need to be able to use a computer effectively to gain employment anywhere, from McDonalds to and advertising firm. Additionally, every American takes a job to earn money. Teaching is not just a job, it is a profession. Most teachers enjoy their profession and are passionate about it. However, earning money is an essential part of life. Furthermore, many teachers hold graduate degrees, and when you compare their pay to others with the same level of education, they are underpaid. If teaching was easy, everyone would do it.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  51. Ria Dia

    What's wrong is that there is never any toilet paper in the restrooms.

    June 13, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • SCS90

      Just wipe your behind with the standardized tests – better use.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  52. Sfrank

    Total lack of discipline is the issue. Educators are so busy trying not to step on anyone's toes and fear the consequences of enforcing discipline consistently across all races. Not to mention, many are very afraid of their students. Students have no limits. They are not taught at home to respect their teachers or any authority figures for that matter. Discipline is enforced on the children that educators feel they can comfortably discipline-those whose parents are already engaged in their children's education and care whether they are successful or not. In other words, the kids who need it the least! Educators need to take back their schools and teach respect, morals, discipline, a strong work ethic, and pride in EARNED accomplishments!

    June 13, 2012 at 7:57 am |
  53. Joe

    When I was in elementary school, the students were grouped. There was the class that the students learned at a faster pace, a class where the students learned at a more moderate pace, and the class where the students learned at a slower pace. Today you can't do that because "it causes hurt feelings" to the students in the "slower" class. By lumping all students in one class you do a disservice to ALL the students. The faster learners are held back while the slower learners don't get the attention or correct instruction to help them succeed.
    Secondly, whenever there are budget cuts to be made, they are always made from the bottom up. The first things cut are the after-school programs, then comes the new materials (Text books, computers, etc), then comes teacher's salaries or teachers themselves. All these kinds of cuts impacts the students directly. If you have to make budget cuts, start from the top down, cut the pay of the superintendant's, drop a superindentant's assistant or a superintendant and redistribute the district schools. Stop taking away from the students!!!
    Get rid of ineffective teachers and reward those who inspire their students to succeed.
    Teaching isn't just about names, dates, facts and figures. It's about making it so the kids WANT to know why and how.

    June 13, 2012 at 7:45 am |
  54. Dott

    If you are NOT an American or here with legal paperwork then you should not be taught in our schools. That is so simple. Check facts and you will see the major problem trying to teach a child that does not speak English is you take time away from teaching children who do speak, read and write English. I for one am getting out of the profession and this is my main reason.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:39 am |
  55. Tim

    1) Teaching to the test. No Child Left Behind has restricted actual teaching, and narrowed it to a defined list.
    2) Fundamentals are no longer taught.
    3) Discipline, in the schools and at home, is lacking.
    4) Parental support is lacking. Instead of supporting teachers, parents are blaming them for everything (see #3).

    June 13, 2012 at 6:04 am |
    • Mac

      Could not agree more! Unfortunately you are in the minority in your viewpoint. We need to get back to the idea that ALL students are NOT college material.

      June 13, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  56. John Wright

    When teachers and professors teach with political agendas.

    June 13, 2012 at 5:50 am |
  57. miscreantsall

    What's wrong with our schools?


    June 13, 2012 at 3:51 am |
    • Dott

      Parents are a large part I agree. When I went to school if you got into trouble it was the teacher and parent against you. You had no say and they worked together. Now it becomes you and the parent against the teacher. Also, can you imagine trying to teach American children who speak English and half who don't? This is America and we need to stop children from attending our schools whos parents are not legal immigrants. That is LEGAL immigrants. One of the most important things in the USA is knowing that the children are Americans whos parents pay tax. And guess what there is no requirement that the parents have a green card or are legal. No proof of citizenship. What a country!

      June 13, 2012 at 6:33 am |
  58. sidewalk socrates

    1. Teachers unions are the number one problem because they have lost their focus. They concentrate on more and more salary and benefits rather than what is best for students. They band together and prevent meaningful teacher testing and fight valid attempts to remove unqualified teachers.
    2. Too much federal government intervention and regulation. Schools should be run locally and not be burdened by the ideas and rules of Washington bureaucrats.
    3. NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND was a bad idea and has hurt education. It has put mentally challenged students in with other students. These students demand more attention so the other students suffer. These students slow down the learning process for the other students.

    June 13, 2012 at 1:58 am |
  59. sidewalk socrates

    Teachers' unions are number one problem.

    June 13, 2012 at 1:51 am |
    • Art

      Really? Without unions you wouldn't have any teaches at all never mind qualified ones. Even with unions there was a critical shortage. Want 50 kids in a class? take away unions. It's the unions that force class size limits. Even with those limits there are so many loopholes that many classes in NYC has 45 or more students in a class. Without unions salaries would be much lower and after graduating with tens of thousands of dollars of debt, who in their right mind would go into teaching? States with unions have higher scores that states without unions. Now what were you saying about unions?

      June 13, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  60. Rhonda

    I will use the anniversary of a major historical event to illustrate my point: my children(ages 12&15) come home from public school in NJ on June 6th and I ask them, " by chance were either of you asked about the significance of today while at school by any of your teachers?" Their response,"no...why?" Enough said!!! Appauling and so much the problem with education today. D-Day was and is one of the most most recent historical days in our countries history...was the turning point in WW2. Countries who wish to dominate and who will eventually dominate us ensure that their youth know and care about such important historical events. That aside...it is also a matter of great pride and respect all of which this country is truly lacking. Teach for the test will be our downfall!

    June 13, 2012 at 12:38 am |
  61. -Rav

    A student should never be told to stop day dreaming.
    Lucid dreaming and/ or thinking is the first step towards creativity.
    I was once asked to find the radius of a circle and i was able to do this at the black board without using a single mathematical formula and blew the teacher's mind. She scoffed at my method however because it used no math procedures to accomplish it. She completely missed the whole Point. We are living during a time where we can virtually go inside a molecule and rearrange it's parts yet students are being held back by protocols beneath their intelligence to the point of pure boredom. It's a question of being able to express yourself without fear of reprisal
    or being scoffed at and school should not be just about passing a test requiring memorization until how to manage your memory is first taught.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Joe

      Rav, youhelped support my position that teaching is more than dates, names, facts, and figures. It should also be about inspiring kids to think beyond what they see infront of them. Just because this is the way something has been done for over 100 years doesn't mean there can't be a new way of doing it.

      June 13, 2012 at 7:51 am |
  62. Tim

    Maybe someone in our education system can teach out politicians some 5th grade math....again. They seam to spend to much.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
  63. Tim

    Anyone ever watch "Are you smarter than a fifth grader"? Lets spend a lot of money on teaching things to kids they will never remember. Time wasted. Education is not the end all, do all and be all to success. A little morality and a hard work ethic go a lot farther. Take a look at all the top company's that failed in the last 5 years. All run by very educated people. Matter of fact it's the educated people that are running this country into a big hole!!

    June 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
  64. Darrell

    Last one....saw and visited one school....had 46 regular teachers....also had 41 special ed teachers...special ed teachers made more money....special ed kids were placed in the classes with other students....special ed teachers didn't teach a class or student....assisted.....lol.............that part slays me.

    June 12, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  65. Reggie

    Be sure to watch "Stupid In America" which illustrates many of the problems in shocking detail.


    Hint: It's NOT a lack of money.

    June 12, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  66. Mr. E

    Bureaucracy is what is murdering America's schools. Poorly projected slogans become terribly enacted policies. No Child Left Behind watered down standards. Sure more kids are getting into college but how many are graduating? When you lower expectations in the name of self-esteem, everyone loses when they enter the real world. Parents are getting worse at raising their kids. Lastly, technology is ruining school.

    June 12, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • sidewalk socrates

      Agree 100%!

      June 13, 2012 at 2:00 am |
  67. Kelly

    am a teacher and I find that lack of funding, class sizes, and dealing with students' behavior with no support are the biggest problems. I have no idea where our so called funding is going since I am spending hundreds of dollars on school supplies/materials for my students. I have 45 6th graders in my class from 8 to 3:30. 45 is too many! I don't feel like I am a teacher, more like a baby sitter because 80 percent of the time I am dealing with kids talking when I am teaching, bullying, and various other behaviors. When I do something about it, nothing gets done. Parents don't care neither do the admin, so of course the kids don't care. I regret being a teacher and am glad that this is my last year teaching.

    June 12, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  68. JP

    Simple..WE keep voting for politians who say they are for better education for our children, yet when elected, funds for eductation are the first to be cut..and yet, we keep electing them. If you are a parent who can not remember the last time you read to your child or attended his school PTA.. then.. you are part of the "we" as well. I do not believe that children do not want to learn..I suspect they are not encouraged to do so.

    June 12, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  69. Stopwastingschooltime

    My kids(2) both watched 6 hours of movies for the past 3 days of school because their teachers had already put away their classrooms for the summer. No, they were not educational movies, they were pop-culture movies with no educational value. Not only did this happen towards the end of the school year, it also happened before Christmas Break, Winter Break, Easter Break, and so on. Do not blame the parents, the REAL parents at in the home every night making up for what is NOT taught to our children in school. You had valuable time and resources provided by the so called little money you receive from the state, and yet it is abused! And everyone wonders why American Children are much further behind than the rest of the world, maybe because teachers are so busy with their union crud to actually teach!

    June 12, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Teach

      That's because the school systems require teachers to turn in grades several days before the last day of school! Believe me, I'd rather not have to turn grades in that early. However, besides the admin. wanted to plan summer school, test retakes, etc., there's no money to pay for the week of post-planning anymore.

      June 12, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • ericgoestoholland

      Good point. I distinctly remember being frustrated with having to sit through popular movies in middle school just because they couldn't sort out how to keep the students legitimately busy during particular school days. And a period of movie watching in the dark during the middle of the day did not do good things for my ability to focus on the following classes....

      June 12, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • SCS90

      I had to show movies when 3 days of RETESTING made me have 50 kids shoved in my room while a handful took the standardized test again and most of them failed again.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  70. Susan

    1. Parents need to take responsibility for their kids' education, teach their kids that they value education, teach their kids to respect adults and teachers, and parents need to be involved in their kids' school.

    2. State and local government needs to stop cutting education funding.

    3. Schools need to spend as much time and effort in academic enrichment for students who are excelling, as they do for students who are struggling.

    4. School Boards need to focus on ineffective administrators – they are more of a problem than ineffective teachers.

    5. School Boards need oversight – they are too top-heavy. An administrator in central office should not be making $200k a year, while teachers are struggling to get by on $30k.

    June 12, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Kerry K


      June 12, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  71. rk

    If you do not have the desire or will to go to school no amount of money or teachers will make a difference. Support must come from home.

    June 12, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  72. S

    Washington state was just audited and it was found that 63 percent of education money went into the classroom. The other was spent on administrators.

    June 12, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  73. james pfeiffer

    Asking the question, "what's wrong with our schools?", is really a moot point. Schools, their relative success or failure, are simply mirrors of a society that is becoming morally and intellectually bankrupt. Children (and adults) in this society have been incessantly dummied down by the non stop, pervasive and sinister juggernaut of the consumerist society. Through the 24-7 non-stop drum beat of relentless clever advertising, we are becoming a sad, shallow people, basically indoctrinated by a "need-it-now" throw-away culture. Schools are just one aspect of our society and putting the onus on education as somehow being the cause of our children's poor emotional and intellectual progess, is ridiculous. If anyone with half a brain looked at things objectively he/she must certainly look on our misguided, overall values as the real bottom line source of our educational woes. Capitalism and its driving force greed have slowly eroded our common sense, sapped our creative energy and, more importantly, produced a nation of "reality addicted" non-thinkers. How can schools fix that?

    June 12, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Matt

      Well stated.

      June 12, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Jairo

      We learn by doing...practical not paper educating, hands on science instead of paper science instruction, wonder why kids (teens) get bored with school..it's because they are not receiving a pratical education but a paper one, unlike many private schools...do the math

      June 12, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
      • dan

        Hands on Physics? Chemistry? Math? Are you joking? A lot of the simple stuff can be given in the lab, but 95% of what you need for science comes from equations. If you dumb it down anymore, You'll be teaching Schroedingers wave equation with sock puppets. Hands on studying works for art, writting, history, programming, biology, mechanics, but the abstract material needs a crap load of math, and no amount of hands on is going to get it. You just need to do discipline yourself, buckle down and figure it out.

        June 12, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
      • Teach

        Blame the standardized testing...costs tons of money and time...makes time for hands-on projects nearly impossible. Most districts give mock standardized tests at the end of every grading period...again, waste of time and money.

        June 12, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • JQP1172

      You said a mouthful and I agree 100%. Our failing schools are but a symptom of a much bigger disease that you so eloquoently laid out.

      June 12, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • SickOfBrokenAmerica

      I couldn't agree with more. Our society has become a post nuclear, instant gratification consumerist group of brainless idiot. Further, it is the parents in this country that have stopped raising their kids and paying attention to the child's education. Fix the parents then the schools will fix themselves.

      June 12, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • C Weldon White

      The correct answer in all aspects. Less government and more responsible parents with moral standards. The answer is easy, but our government is blind.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  74. colelee

    Federal Government – Teachers UNIONS. teachers will get paid no matter what & they have little if any accountability. Feds tell the schools what to teach and the unions tell them to demand more pay. Take out the feds, remove the UNIONS, and let the teachers do what they love to do. TEACH ! ! ! ! Take out all the ILLEGALS who get taught just because they are in the USA. If you can't prove who your parents are and who you are and who your parents – parents are they kick them out. Quit spending money and time on them. I recently went to California and OH MY GOD there are illegals every where. Why can't they do something about it? Now we're back to the feds

    June 12, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Linda

      And how about Arabic now being a mandated subject at Hamilton Heights Elementary in New York come fall?

      June 12, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Crystal Starr

      I have begun to believe that what all bad guys in movies say have some basis of truth. When the bad mad wants to take over the world he usually justifies this with, you puny humans wants to bow to me, you want to be told what to do. In the famous words of ‘Loki’, from the Avengers movie; bow to me you know you want to, you want to be slaves to me. During this part of the movie as a watcher we are thinking where are the good guys? Who is going to save us? Then Captain America and Ironman show up at capture the bad guy. We as a nation have become complacent, we want someone to save us and tell us what to do. We currently have a man running for office that has been shown to be cruel without remorse throughout his life, as a young adult terrorizing and assaulting a young man just because he didn’t like his hair cut, going so far as to getting a mob to help him hold down the young man and cutting his hair. Later in life transporting his dog in a crate on top of his car, now I am not sure that that was as bad having the dog there, but when the dog was sick up there didn’t have the decency to let the dog get out of the crate before he hosed it down, and then drove on. Another example of cruelty was his work at Bain destroying and eliminating businesses for profit without a thought for the destruction he left behind. When asked about these things he either denies remembering them or laughs uncomfortably and shows no remorse. The Right wing party and many big company conglomerates (ie. Citizens united, kotch brothers, trump, and countless other incredibly wealthy people) are systematically riding the united states of unions and labor rights. It started with the manufacturing companies, then the teachers unions, next was government jobs, and now the police. Every time people turned a blind eye and said it won’t happen to me, guess what they are coming for you next. They are the true villains, but we are the ones letting it happen. We want someone to save us, but it’s our turn to save ourselves. We are at a critical turning point in our nation, if we continue to sit by and or believe the lies the right wing party says, we deserve what we get. In 1933 the German nation voted for a man that they thought would settle their nation after the catastrophic result of World War 1. They wanted someone to take care of them, and they watched while millions of people were killed. Are we turning into the next holocaust? Are we going to sit by and blindly let people lie over and over again? The distance between the rich and the middle class is growing, do we have to wait until things are critical before we do something? Do we like the drama? Are just jazzed up by the thought of saving the world after the fact? Or are we waiting for Captain America and the Ironman to save us.

      June 12, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
      • sidewalk socrates

        Are you a communist or just stupid?

        June 13, 2012 at 2:06 am |
  75. Solo

    Do you really want to know, or is this another politically-correct (narrow-minded) short survey?
    Be careful what you ask for...

    What's wrong with today's schools (U.S.)
    -Large classrooms – including illegals – that are being taught by teachers not held to any standards of their own level of skill and learning, let alone the children they are given to teach.
    -Budget abuse – our taxes are funding two meals a day for children who often only show up for the meals and are taking a space not "paid" for by their parent(s); Principals and others making far too large of salaries for the low scores and graduation rates
    -Buses that should not be transporting children through multiple districts (again, the parent should be contributing via taxes and it needs to be based on where you live.) Segregation worked for a long time, folks, for a reason.
    -Mainstreaming children with disability to learn is far too expensive for the public school system and is not the taxpayer's responsibility at such a level.
    -Meetings with school boards are usually closed to the public (or with limited notice and involvement offered.)

    This is just the beginning of what needs to be addressed and solved.

    June 12, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Matt

      Thanks, I forgot to mention the school boards and the completely asinine salaries of administrators. If you have a hugely and earnestly successful district, then I'm ok with large salaries, they have earned it. But what some of these people get paid is completely ridiculous.

      June 12, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  76. Matt

    1. Parents
    2. Pace and content slowed down to the lowest common factor, advanced students are losing support in favor of funding slower students
    3. Gov't involvement in testing, teachers are now teaching to tests merely so students can pass rather than learn
    4. Discipline, schools need more control without parents whining, and parents need to support discipline
    5. Tenure in too many cases protects lazy/bad teachers. I have worked with teachers for 10 years, far too common
    6. Why are we teaching foreign languages past the age ideal for language development in the brain? This needs to be done in elementary school.
    7. Along with #6, if other countries are surpassing us in education, whats wrong with looking into their methods?
    8. Wrong type of people climbing the administration/political ladder, and doing it for their own agenda

    Instead of slowing down the class rooms for slower students, why not eliminate grade levels and pass students to next levels by proficiency? I'm sorry but this crap about hurting people feelings is just that, crap. Your not helping either end of the spectrum by slowing things down. Students need to learn how to deal with adversity, and excel in their talents. Too many schools and parents are trying to eliminate failure, i.e. – adversity. That's not what they are going to find in the real world. It's not going anywhere, you only hurting students when you fail to teach them to cope/adapt and overcome. Have you seen the newest/youngest workforce? Some of them act as if they have never met failure before, and can't deal with it so they can move on and become productive. Wonder where they get that idea? Hard for them to keep jobs too when they come across one that they don't like, or when actual performance is expected of them.

    In 30 by the way, I know some people would be wondering based on my comments.

    June 12, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • David S.

      I agree with your language comment. We are teaching our 7,10 and 15 year old Latin, not as a speaking language but as a means to learn a language. We will start bringing in probably spanish soon, as it seems to be a pretty handy language to know! 🙂 I took two years of french in the 10/11th grade and don't recall any of it.

      June 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
      • Matt

        ^ Thanks David, this is just one obvious item that really sticks out to me. Feds have standardization down so tight, that making this type of change would be like stopping a freight train. Not only that but districts are not willing to make changes of this magnitude.

        There is so much to learn these days, the information age has exploded, yet were using methods to educate developed 50+ years ago. We are trying to cram all this new knowledge in with those methods.

        June 12, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
      • Linda

        Guess what, Spanish is the worst you think? try Arabic....federal grants being offered to mandate Arabic...Hamilton Heights Elementary in New York said yes to the money for the fall...google if you don't believe it....our kids do not learn the English language well enough to read, write or comprehend and we take the grant money to teach Arabic? and we say it teaches diversity?

        June 12, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  77. Thad

    I see four major problems with the public school system. The first is that the Federal and State governments are dictating the curriculum rather than teachers. The second is that "teacher education programs" in State Schools are failing at turning out teachers who actually have educations in their areas of expertise. The third problem is the worst: kids that are unmotivated are passed along rather than failed – not every child can do it, not every child is capable of College. Access and opportunity are one thing, hard work and perseverance another. The fourth problem is not the school systems it's the parents: schools cannot fix families, cannot fix "the culture", and they cannot produce motivated learners. Parents are the problem and the school system just reflects the parents apathy.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  78. Filioque

    There are three things wrong with America's schools:

    1. Parents
    2. Parents
    3. Parents

    Too many parents are deadbeats who refuse to back up the teachers when their future felons misbehave and keep others from learning. It wasn't always this way, and I'm not sure when or how things changed.

    I guess I've turned into my own grandmother, but I really fear for this country's future. The people who shouldn't be having children are having way too many. And the people who are caring, demanding and disciplining parents aren't having nearly enough. You do the math.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Darrell

      My parents were textile workers. Wouldn't have known higher math if it fell on them. No disrespect to them. Different generations bring different capabilities. The teachers I had were great and lo and behold I learned alegbra, geo, calc. Its the constant testing that ruins the learning experience. And the lack of disciplline at every level. Also schools spend too much time policing aspirins, and inappropriate touching by five year olds. Focus.....focus....focus...

      June 12, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  79. Aristocles

    We need to have classes divided by ability, not simply by grade. The smart students should have their own classes, the less-than-smart ones should have a separate set of classes. We also need to advance students based on how good they are; if they can get good grades consistently, they should be sent to a better class immediately, not sit around with watered-down material because the other students haven't been keeping up.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  80. Sharma

    Too short a school day, with both parents working, schools have to increase instructional hours from 8AM to 4pm at a minimum, Middle schoolers getting out at 12 noon !!!, is a recipe for disaster.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • SCS90

      Schools are not babysitting services.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  81. bob

    william demuth does not know anything about homeschooling. yes, some parents abuse homeschooling, but if its done right(which is most of the time) it is a much better option than the public system today. there are great support groups and curriculums out there. and you dont have to worry about bullies or the dumbing down of classes. do some research before pop off at the mouth

    June 12, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  82. bob

    Things wrong with public schools?

    1) no discipline. the courts and 'parents' took away the schools' right to discipline kids. so you get the unruly, out of control punks running the asylum

    2) no exercise. students just sleep and play video games all day long, to go with the lack of discipline

    3) dumbing down to the lowest common denominator. the bright kids are bored to tears, no challenges. again the unruly, lazy bullies run the asylum

    June 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  83. Tom

    Broken homes, and a lack of values. Money will not solve this. We need to go back to the basics.

    Seems like the more we spend the worse it gets.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Filioque

      This x10!

      June 12, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  84. retiring teacher

    I have taught in the public school system for thirty years. The problems that we see in the pulblic schools system has little to do with funding and much to do with parenting. Our students arrive at school without the basic skills needed to be successful. I am not talking about academic skills. Children today have been raise in a environment where rudeness is acceptable and applauded, This year I had a second grade student tell me that he was not going to put his "friggin" lunch in his cubby. When I contacted the parents they defended his "right" to keep his lunch at his desk and told me that "friggin" was not inappropriate language. The sad reality is that this child (and many more like him) will not be successful regardless of how much money we throw at a cultural problem. The general electorate hasn't a clue to the vast problems facing our public schools. Volunteer and see what headwinds the average public school teacher faces on a daily basis. Then you will understand why so many public school teachers have made financial sacrifices to send their children to private schools.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • David S.

      This is happening more and more every year. The public schools are quickly looking like a place for mis-guided children. I took my own children out of the system and the public/charter school (affiliated with our local public school) we have gone with has grown exponentially over the last 2 years. What types of children are being left behind in this dated system? Those children to which you refer. Those who are rude, with parents who don't care. I am not saying this is all that is left, but the tide is shifting big time.

      June 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Chris

      I think I see one problem – this teacher can't write a gramatically correct sentence. "Problems . . . has little to do with funding." "Children have been raise in an environment . . . "

      Hard to believe.

      June 12, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
      • Errogant 2

        You used a hyphen when you should have used a semi-colon.

        June 13, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • earthygurl88

      While you are right in saying that some parents disregard disciplining their child and teaching them what is right, wrong, and socially acceptable, I have to wonder how, if parents are completely to blame and teaching a child like that is impossible, private schooling the child would not be any different than public schooling. If what you are saying is true and you, as a public school teacher, hit a wall in teaching children that are not also taught by parents, how do private school teachers not also hit a wall? Adding to that, why do we encourage such a separation between allowing there to be private and public schools which only perpetuates to extend the gap between those in the upper/middle class and those in poverty and fails to really deal with what is wrong with the education system, such as teachers who feel they are not getting paid enough and don't enjoy their job, parents who feel the teachers aren't doing the parenting for them, and kids who everyday fall through the cracks in the game of "pass around accountability" and learn that accountability means nothing and grow up to raise kids just like them.

      June 12, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
      • Teach

        Generally, parents that go through the time, expense, and commitment (most sign contracts that require their participation) to put their children in private schools are the ones we need in public schools to restore the balance.

        June 12, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
      • Me

        @earthygurl88 The biggest difference between private and public schools is that private schools control (in one way or another) the type of students that attend.
        Most of the parents that can afford these schools value education because they have one themselves. (Tuition to one school near me is around $740 a month. Something that my husband and I could not afford–even though we both have very good jobs. These parents often stress the importance of eduction to their kids . Those of a lower SES can't afford to enroll, which weeds out many students with parents that are on government assistance, as well as those that really don't care what their kids do as long as they aren't bothering them.

        If a student receives a scholarship to pay tuition, they must have exemplary grades and behavior in order to qualify for it. Again, weeding out those students who come to school only because they are required to do so or because their parents need a free babysitter.

        Many private schools ask very personal questions (especially those with religious affiliations) and can discriminate based upon those alone. One admissions application I looked at asked 8 questions about any kinds of modifications, cognitive testing, etc... the student had been referred for or completed as well as if they took any medications for ADHD or any other types of behavioral or cognitive disorders. This allows these schools to weed out special education students with severe disorders, low performance, or extensive needs if they so choose.

        So you see, of course many private schools perform better than some public schools. They aren't required to teach ALL students as public school teachers are. They have small class sizes and (for the most part) parents that care. These are all luxuries that public school teachers do not share. They must teach all students no matter what. The kid with a 70 IQ and the kid with parents that stay coked out are required by law to score the same on a standardized test as a gifted student with parents that participate in every aspect of their education. This MUST be done in a mixed ability level class that has 30 students in it, 12 of which have IEPs.

        June 13, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Pragmatist

      You have pointed out the problem very accurately. Many students, not all, in USA come to schools from dysfunctional and undisciplined families. It is not realistic to expect teachers to fix all of their behavioral and discipline problems. Both students and their parents are NOT motivated enough to raise the bar and just want to be told their son/daughter is a wonderful A student. Just visit any of the top performing countried in education and it will open your eyes. Our kids are just having a party with all sorts of entertainment with parental consent. Blaming teachers is the easy way out. Wait until kids from these other countries kick the butts of our kids/our future economy. I just call it the flat earth phenomenon – we are on our way down..

      June 13, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
      • Pragmatist

        My comment was in reply to retiring teacher

        June 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  85. crescenstar

    The students and the parents are a big part of the problem. Youth culture often treats you as a loser for knowing things. There are some topics like music or sports that are OK but for the most part you are a pariah if you know facts. Parents who don't have time to help their kids with home work are more of the problem. If you can't or won't help with homework just don't have them.

    There are some great teachers out there, though they are few and far between. There are terrible teachers out there. And then there are disenchanted teachers who are far too common.

    I don't like the idea of teacher who teach to a test. But there also should be a test, there are some basic skills you need to be successful. You as a student should make sure you have them and if not go back and demand you get them. But remember you get out what you put in. If you screwed off, you better get serious.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  86. David S.

    There are many things wrong with public education; where to begin? School systems teach to the lowest common denominator in the majority of classes. This means the child who excels is bored to tears and is not challenged. Even 'honor' and 'AP' classes don't cater to the higher capacity of some children. There are so many different learning styles out there, it is not possible for a standard teaching environment to coach, direct and mentor all children in all subjects, all day. It is simply not possible. The flip side of this is the children who really struggle do not get any 1-1 time with the teachers. They have to dig in and figure out 'how' to learn on their own, with little to no guidance. Or, they are told to get on drugs to be more complacent.
    Another piece of the failed system is around content and curriculum. Our current school system and way of learning (in grades, etc) was set up by industrialists such as Ford and JP Morgan. These people had a desire to create compliant ‘workers’ for their factories and offices and didn’t have a huge desire for ‘out of the box’ types of learning and thinking. They wanted people who would sit down, take an order and be productive. This is why we have gone from a leader-filled country to a worker-filled country with children and adults unable to think for themselves. We have created too many worker-bee’s.
    The third piece to comment on is money. Many people have issues with the amount of money the schools get. Where does the money go? That is the real question at the end of the day. I have seen my school district beg for funding via levy’s and sometimes they pass, sometimes not. This last iteration, it did not pass, and the threat was if it didn’t, teachers would be cut. They were cut, however hired back within 45 days of being cut. So was the threat just for show? I believe it was, but who knows for sure. I know many teachers making well over $70K per year, one of them being a gym teacher. So for those that say they don’t make enough, I beg to differ. Our military doesn’t make enough, too many teachers make too much.
    We have three children who up until last year were all in the public school system, with the oldest being 15 years old. We have elected to take our children out of the broken system and are teaching our choice of curriculum in our own time, the way our children learn. We are still associated with the public school system, as I didn’t want to pay my taxes into a system and not be able to use the resources I am paying for. We are ‘home based learning’ through a public school in Ohio where they provide dollars for approved curriculum and resources needed. I understand this isn’t for everyone, but a specific way of teaching is ideal for a specific child. We aren’t sheep, let’s not act like them. I am raising children who will be adult leaders in our communities, not simple worker-bee’s.
    One more comment: Time spent day in and day out at a public school is largely unproductive. If you really dissect a child’s time, I am afraid it would be less than 50% actual learning time. Take out all time for bus rides, switching classes, prepping for before/after class (waiting for bell), study halls, lunch, recess, etc and you are left with very little actual learning time. Since my children are home now, we are using that ‘extra’ time to allow for them to concentrate on what they love and still learn. My eldest child is going to be clep’ing out of college classes with high school classes tailored towards those college classes. These things all add to their overall education and their ability to function in the real world. Oh, and for those that criticize about home-school children not being social, I have proof otherwise. Mine are very very social and do school sports as well. Acting, soccer, track, cross country, etc. They are very well rounded people who can think for themselves.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  87. Jesse

    I'll tell you exactly whats wrong in High Schools. It's the school counselors. They are the problem. They are flying underneath the radar. They handle too many children and assign what ever general class they want, just to push them along and get them out the door. Then when the child graduates they still don't know what they want to be and become scared to go to college because they didn't learn anything useful. How can you send a child to college if they don't know want they want to be. Then it's a waste of time and money to figure out what they want to be. It's up to the counselors to show them different classes they can take to see if they like that type of career. Not just, "here is your school schedule and good luck". A child's career starts at freshman year. They need to be exposed to different career classes to figure out what they like.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  88. Ginny

    After my grandchildren's mother left 5 years ago, Their father and I, after checking out the school they would attend, we decided to homeschool...It has not been easy, but in retrospect, with what we see on a daily basis, (my being an apartment manager), there are the children young as 2nd and 3rd grade on the corner, selling dope out of Cheerio boxes after school, I think we made the right decision. Most are completely locked out of their homes until it's time to come inside, sometimes well into the night. ( example: out of school, holidays, summer). They curse in the worst forms of profanity, girls as young as 8 or 9 have "boyfriends". I fear for these children, I fear for their future.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • William Demuth


      I understand your situation, and you may have chosen the ONLY alternative, but as a rule, homeschooling is a horrible solution.

      A lack of standards, lack of a unifying culture, and the political and religious extremes on the parts of the parents do more harm than good.

      Breaking our society into small enclaves of likeminded peoples is what brings us tragedies like we saw in the Balkans.

      If we cannot maintain a society then perhaps we are doomed to fail, but manifesting a future generations that believe in nonsense certainly won’t help the situation.

      June 12, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
      • David S.

        Mr. Demuth,
        I would venture to guess you are painting homeschooler's with a very broad brush. I did this as well just a couple of years ago. However, since then, we have broken from the traditional public school system and are doing our own schooling at home. With that said, I must give some details. We are still affiliated with our local public schools, as they have a 'charter' school allowing for students to be homeschooled. They approve/buy the curriculum and we submit portfolio's to them once a quarter. They provide graces and such as well. My children never 'have' to go to the school, however they do at least once a week for some extra studies and things such as dance, guitar, violin and acting lessons. They play sports through the school as well. MY tax dollars at work the way I want them to be working for my child.
        I have very well-rounded children who are also free-thinkers. Yes, we take them to church, but so what. We would have done that whether public school or not.
        The overall school system is very broken, and I couldn't sit back and watch my kids go through it year after year without taking action. The majority of parents out there know thier kids will turn out 'okay', just the way they did. This is true, but I want more for my kids than what the public school system did for me.

        June 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  89. Kris

    PS: CNN it would be nice once in a while if you could do a report on WHAT'S RIGHT WITH AMERICAN SCHOOLS!! Try a positive spin for once, trust me in won't kill you.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  90. William Demuth

    We subsidize ignorance.

    Our culture is broken. We have third, fourth, and fifth generations of families reproducing themselves, when no one from their ranks has ever provided a service or produced a good. Merit becomes irrelevant when failure has no specific consequences.

    We have a society where claiming the Bible is ones favorite book is applauded, a society where pop stars are worshiped as Gods. One where Gods are used as clubs to beat back modernity, while history’s greatest philosophers are forgotten by generations conceived in front of big screen TV’s

    This has led to a creeping malaise exacerbated by reality TV and Facebook, which leads marginal humans to lose any motivation to better themselves.

    Soon the herd must be culled, or any pretense at recovery shall be seen as a charade.

    Perhaps the meaningless wars and the overflowing penitentiaries have bought us some time, but without a cultural shift, the lunatics shall soon be running the asylum.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Kris


      June 12, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Youcanthandlethetruth

      Well said!

      June 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  91. Kris

    School is no longer valued in the US the way it was in the past. Education is not the problem, the degradation of American values and the family core are the problem. Kids today are doing greater, more challenging work at younger ages than most adults did when they were in school. But how do you place importance on learning when the parent doesn't want to get out of bed to bring the child to school, or the parent complains because the child has homework and they don't have time to help them or the parent keeps the older child home to babysit siblings so they can go out an do whatever? These are not isolated incidences and YES they occur mostly in low SES areas, which of course leads to the learning discrepancy between low socioeconomic families and others. At my school we averaged a report to Child Protective Services at least once a week. Was this for physical abuse? Not usually. They were mostly for neglect, but cases of physical and verbal abuse existed. Referrals were also made because parent and significant other got into battles at home. How can a child focus with their home life in turmoil? As the current economic pattern continues so will the struggle of the education system. Teachers are working hard, that is not the issue. What is the issue is how the public is going to support them. Turn on a children's program listen closely, MOST paint school in a negative manner. One of the biggest culprits is Disney. Listen to the number of insults, "bullying" incidents that occur in a 30 minute episode...all for a laugh, Fat kids, always the butt of the joke. Lead roles, those who are socially acceptable in appearance. We talk about what is correct and incorrect behavior in schools but do the complete opposite when it comes to the bottom $$$.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  92. Eric

    Many kids don't want to be in class, and know that the teachers can't touch them, so there is little recourse for effective discipline when these kids act out. The trouble makers detract from class and the kids who want to learn. 90% of the teachers efforts are spent dealing with the 10% that don't take their education seriously.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  93. heyitskj

    Typing this from a high school right now, going to graduate in a few days. The public education system is ineffective because the teachers aren't motivated to teach well; they have low job security and low pay, unlike welfare states such as Norway that pay their teachers well and are much more respected. Teachers here teach "to the test," or are limited by a curriculum that is in no way comprehensive and oftentimes gives a biased and unfair view of what happened. The curricula forces you to memorize unimportant details, such as dates or particular names, rather than giving a broader, multifaceted perspective on issues. I really hope college will be a step-up.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • ej

      College will help you get over the "issuse" you have with high school.

      Some of the complaints you have are valid. Teachers teaching to the test are common; sadly the test has become so important that all other aspects of teaching fall by the wayside. School systems demand accountability from teachers and the only way they can "see" it is by looking at test data. It takes too much time to come in and observe the teacher engaging the students, having them think outside the box and come up with their own conclusion. If they would do the observations, it would allow teachers to truely teach once again.

      As you mentioned; teachers in the US are not respected. When did that happen? Did it happen when state politicians begin to view teachers as radicals because their unions were getting stronger? These same politicians are pointing the fingers at teachers as their favorite scapegoats for all that is wrong with their budgets. Its not the teachers who should be held accountable for the massive budget deficits; try looking at the out of control spending going on by CEOs and other heads of major corporations. The tax cuts given to the rich, powerful individuals and corporations in the hope that they will trickle down jobs and other things began the slow decent of teachers into the scapegoat positions. I find it ironic that tax cuts for corporations were found in the equal amount of education cuts for schools in the state of WI. How many other states have done the same thing? Is it any wonder that teachers are demoralized and giving up?

      Teaching use to be a proud profession; not any longer. If one mentions they are a teacher, they stand a good chance of getting an earful of hate and bile with words like "lazy," "not worth the money we pay you," "you get paid too much," etc. being spouted. Sadly, alot of the insults come from parents who feel that it is not their job to teach their children manners, consequences or any of the values needed to be a success in life. "That's a teacher's job, not mine." I weep for this country.

      June 12, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  94. Mark

    maybe we should have school year round? 12 months instead of 9... I studied math right here in the US so that's like 60% more!!

    June 12, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Kathleen Robinson

      25% more.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
      • Kathleen Robinson

        Oops! 32% more. Help me out, math whizzes.

        June 13, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  95. JC

    In the U.S., we treat ALL of our kids the same and test ALL of them...in a lot of other countries they weed out the "lower achieving" ones and place them into more vocational programs, and then do not include them in their national testing. That's one reason why our scores look so bad in comparison. That doesn't mean we would be #1 if we did the same thing, but I think it would be much closer.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  96. J.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  97. A.

    What is wrong with our schools should be worded "what is wrong with adults today?". How about telling children that they are in honors...with a C average (to make them "feel" better)? Ridiculous!

    June 12, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  98. Bill

    America spends by far the most money on its school system but has some of the worst results. This sounds like a fiscal commitment, but not a psychological one. I blame the students and their parents more then anyone else. Private schools usually have half to a third of the funds public schools own, but much better results do to the involvement of the parents and students. Private schools have the ability to remove students who are not on board.
    Rather then concentrate on trying to maintain as many students in the system as possible, the schools should be looking to rid themselves of the students who do not want to be there. This will allow the students who to do learn, and eventually you will see graduation rates increase. They spend to much time on wasted efforts, and not enough on the children who want to learn.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  99. deathstalker187

    If you ask me the main problem with schools now days is that they dont let kids be kids and have any fun.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  100. John C

    It's pretty simple. 30 years ago our schools were highly rated, but with budget cuts and efforts to lower property taxes, school funding gets cut each year. When schools have to have fundraisers to teach PE, Art and Science, you know we are in trouble. Ask any public school teacher how much he/she pays to buy supplies out of their own pocket. No wonder our colleges that teach science are flooded with kids educated elsewhere.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Bill

      Yet we spend far more money then any other country? Where is the cash going?

      June 12, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
      • Sunflower

        It's going to football and sports....

        June 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
      • APB

        Far too much money is going to the middle east.

        June 14, 2012 at 8:10 am |
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