If you haven’t heard about this yet, then you should definitely look into it. Personally, I don’t understand why she should be punished for something she wrote on her own time, on her own computer, without using specific names. How is that, in any way, relevant to her ability to do her job well? Has no one ever been inside a faculty/staff lunch room? If teachers/staff didn’t have someone to complain to about the hardships and frustration they face in their jobs, they’d probably end up taking it out on the kids. Who doesn’t complain about their job at some point? Some people complain about their job daily on Twitter or Facebook; you don’t see them being fired, do you? Is that what will eventually happen: status updates and tweets will be monitored for any type of badmouthing or complaining regarding any particular company or person and be punished for such things? Uh, hello remember how this country was founded? A bunch of people in funny three cornered hats and stockings were willing to stand up and say, “This isn’t right! This isn’t fair! We deserve better!” to big, bad England. The result of such “tyranny” was the founding of our great nation.Regardless of how ridiculous that case is, the fact that is has brought the problems of the public education system to public at large (who knew that it would take something like this rather than having their own children failing to get their attention) and created a dialect which is finally forcing people to recognize that change needs to happen.

There is a problem with the public education system in the United States of America. Teachers see those problems first hand because they happen to be dumped into our laps every day. “What? My kid is failing? Little Johnny must have a bad teacher.” Parents blame the teacher for not educating their children. We do what we can with the circumstances we are given, but this is not something that we can just “fix”. Visa versa, many teachers, including myself, are quick to point fingers at the parents of this generation for not being as involved in their child’s life, for not pushing them, for expecting the teachers to inspire their children, for expecting teachers to raise their children for seven hours of the day, five days a week. While parents are pointing fingers at the teachers and teachers are pointing fingers at the parents, the truth of the matter is that the problems of the public education system go beyond the parent-child and teacher-child relationships. The public education system needs a lot of help from local, state, and national government organizations to be remolded into an education that creates the kind of people America needs today, not twenty and thirty years ago. The system needs reconstructive surgery, not a band-aid.

Just as with the industrial revolution, change needs to happen in the education system as a result of today’s technological revolution. We need to give our children the kind of education they can apply daily. If kids could see the relevance of how their education will be directly applicable to their success in the world they live in today and will live in tomorrow, they might be more apt to want to pay attention, to complete their work, to come to school. Why is it that I have students who can find pronouns in a sentence, but they can not type quickly or efficiently using a keyboard? Why is it that I have students who know how to update their Facebook statuses from their cell phones, but they can’t follow a simple written set of directions to save their grade? Why is it that I have students who can tell me everything about what Lindsey Lohan has been up to, but they don’t know why we are at war or who we are at war with?

When I was in college, the one thing I was told over and over and over and over about creating lesson plans, was to keep it real, keep it relevant, keep it applicable. Why is it that colleges of education are teaching young teachers to do this, when in reality they will be pushed into a system where none of that practice is being followed? Curriculum needs to be updated. Teaching practices need to be updated. Efficient and applicable evaluations and pay scales need to be updated. Why aren’t we keeping up with the Jones’ in other countries? Why are kids failing state mandated tests? Well, why are we expecting kids to know things that they can’t use in their lives? I’m not saying that we should lower expectations; I’m saying we need to change our expectations as teachers, as parents, as members of a quickly-growing, quickly-changing nation to meet the demands placed on our children today, not twenty years ago.

Let’s take the public education system and make it real, make it relevant, and make it applicable.