How do we improve education in SC?

Contributed by Elliott Dominick

What do we do to fix education in America today?  Do we hold teachers more accountable?  How about the kids or even better yet the parents of our youngsters in school?  Should we treat every child as if he or she was going to college? What about administrators?  Does their need to be more discipline in the classroom, harder curriculum or maybe we should hire more educators to decrease the student to teacher ratio.

All of the questions listed above are valid questions and I believe that the answer to all of them can be yes and no.  I am sure there are valid arguments on both sides of the fence that would allow anyone to defend or deflate any of the questions listed above.

I am a teacher in the public school system and primarily I work with at risk 9th graders.  Every day I see clear cut cases of kids that represent everything that I feel is wrong with our country today and yet, somehow, I am drawn to these kids.  I realize the many of them will never have the opportunities in life that I have had.  What if I had been in there shoes and what would my chances of success been?  And aren’t we all guilty at times of measuring our definition of success against another person’s?

I think our overall goal as a society should be to prepare students for the challenges that will face them tomorrow but can you hold most 15 – 18 year old students accountable for their actions.  All signs point to more involvement from parents in their kids lives but yet many of the kids I work with have little or no involvement from their parents at one of the most critical times in their lives.

I admit that at times I would rather take a hard line approach and bring the hammer down on parents and kids that fail to be active participants in our school system or their kids education but then look at the carnage we would leave behind and what good would that do our society as a whole.  Where do we draw the line between far right conservative politics and far left bleeding-heart politics?  Does the answer lie somewhere in the middle?  So often today there does not seem to be any compromise but I am of the opinion that no one has all of the answers nor should we pretend that we do.  I am interested in hearing some opinions on what we can do to help solve the problems we currently have in our public schools and possible solutions.  Let the conversation begin.

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