Is the System Broken?

“The system of public education is broken and we need to tear it down and rebuild it from the ground up.”

I feel like I keep hearing this statement or some version of it from all angles. For a while I bought into this idea and felt the frustration and quickly got wrapped up in the negativity. It is very easy to look around and think the system is broken beyond repair. Some people are even going so far as to say we don’t need an evolution of the system but in fact a revolution. As a history teacher, I think the word revolution may be a bit harsh.

Now, I may be completely off but are we complaining too much about the boxes we have been put in instead of actually looking at how restrictive the box actually is? Are educators really that handcuffed and unable to change the systems within their own classrooms and schools? I think in many cases we have far more control to change our own piece of this so called system than we want to readily admit.

I keep coming back to this idea that the system is broken and we need to tear it all down and rebuild. If the system is so broken then why do millions of kids come to school every day and become better prepared for life? Why do I have kids that love learning in my classroom every day if the system is that broken? If the system is so broken why are there so many selfless people teaching in classrooms around this country?  How is it that in this broken system there are kids whose lives are literally saved by attending school? Broken systems don’t produce the mind blowing and inspirational things that are happening in public school every day.  Yet we have evidence of these things happening all around us in public schools across this country.

The public education system in America has its issues…no doubting that. Yet the issues are primarily with the politicians and corporations that are trying to ruin it not the people that are actually doing the work. Too many people are claiming the entire system needs to be rebuilt because they are not looking at what is working and building on that. It is much easier to tear down an entire house rather than doing the hard work of fixing it up. Politicians love to talk a good game but when it comes down to it, their actions do not match the candor. Corporations claim to have an interest in education but truly it is about their bottom line. I know the system is not perfect. However, I see so much good within it that I will focus on doing my part to make learning the best it can be in my classroom. If we all just focused on that rather than trying to “fix the system”, we might be in a much better place.
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