Thanks a lot, President Obama. I do not want to hear about this for the next three months, nonstop. You had to have "South Korea" come out of your mouth at that particular moment....
The worst part is not having all of my coworkers asking me all day if I heard that President Obama said that the American public education system should be more like South Korea's, but trying to control the look on my face when they do. I'm the first one to stand up and cry out about a number of very, very serious, atrocious problems with the American public school system. However, I do not think quantity is the issue, at all. As most foreign teachers here have immediately pointed out, since we've all undoubtedly been buried under a deluge of comments all day long, the U.S. needs to first very seriously address the issue of quality. More of something that's shit is just more shit -- that's the long and the short of it, kiddies. Forty hours a week should be more than a sufficient amount of time to properly educate young people -- it's improving the resources, tactics and approaches for doing so that most needs to be addressed.
And as for tying teachers' pay to student performance... fuck off. Apparently some aide of some sort tried to cover over that afterward by claiming it would not be solely based on test scores, but would also include factors such as certification and training, as well as teachers who were willing to work in challenging environments. But then I guess it came out later that that isn't what he meant at all. That, my dear ones, will just end up being yet another form of institutionalized ghettoization. Obama: what the hell are you thinking? He's got the ass-end of this cause-effect relationship, if you ask me. Take the small pool of individuals who are willing to wake up every morning and go to work in an environment that is not only mentally and emotionally challenging beyond what most of us can even imagine, but is also, in many cases, possibly even life-threatening, and then tell them they're going to be offered less money for their efforts? That's brilliant.
No child left behind, my ass.
I am glad that he is at least engaging the subject, though, and giving it some of the time, attention, and funding it deserves. I just hope he means it when he says he wants to work with teachers on these issues, and give them a say in the area that they, and they alone, know the most about.
In the meantime, if we're able to somehow construct a learning environment that is not mostly akin to free daycare/lessons on how to be most acceptable to society by finding the "right" answer via only one of many incredibly valuable possible ways of learning, then, cool. Send our kids to school for however many hours a day you want.
I don't see that happening anytime in the near future, though.
One side note from today: Walking around, checking exercises and I hear a little discussion going on about how to say something, and somebody drops the F bomb.
"Hey! Who said that?"
Lots of guilty looks.
"Teacher. He give to me the fuck!"
That is certainly a new one. "He... he what?"
"He give to me the fuck!"
Are you fucking kidding me? What are you even .... ?
The kid points to his middle finger.
"Okay. You need to really listen to me. Okay? He gave you the finger. The finger. Understand?"