Where we are going wrong K-12

I have been working in education for 20 years now and every year I get more and more frustrated with our educational system. In every school I have worked in they say we are creating college and career ready students. Yet, kids have no communication skills, coping strategies or understanding of how to deal with their own struggles emotionally.\

In most schools there are about 20 percent of the population that are made for our educational system and will succeed no matter what we do. It is the bottom 30 percent that I am concerned with though, and for that matter the 50 percent above them are on the fence. Why? Because education is based on 2 maybe 3 intelligences. We focus on Mathematical, Linguistic, and science. We do not even begin to touch upon interpersonal, interpersonal, or kinesethtic intelligences.

Businesses today want and need people that are problem solvers, not products of regurgitation. That want an employee that can find the answers. They want employees that don’t give up easily and they want employees that have a key skill…empathy. None of which we teach. Don’t get me wrong, problem solving is taught in schools, but not the type needed by our working world. Let me explain…CHEATING in school is seen as looking up answers for a test, writing them on your arm, talking or looking at your neighbor, etc. Yet, in the real world these are seen as resourceful natured people. Willing to do whatever it takes to find the answers. Not in school.

Then there are the kids that no matter what you do, no matter how good you are at teaching your subject, they will not learn. Why? Because they are not functioning from their right brain. They are in survival mode, trying to get through the next hour, the next day or the next week. They are functioning from their Limbic brain. These are most of the kids that I work with in Detroit. They are just surviving. Yet, our school focuses on the next best math technique or writing strategy. Not working…right? Detroit has some of the lowest scoring kids in the country, but they are far from dumb. We are missing out on kids like this because we as educators refuse to change our mindset. Empathy as a teacher? Naw! Not going to happen. …to be continued