Post Children these Days…

Okay, so here’s the deal: The Education system in the United States is terrible.  I know, I know, everyone talks about how the education system is bad, but I’m not an old guy saying “back in my day…”  No, it still IS my day and I want it to get better NOW.

I was driving through a drive-thru at McDonald’s in the middle of the fall and I ordered something—knowing me, it was a double quarter pounder or the angus bacon cheese burger—and the total was $6.75.  I actually had cash on me for once, so I handed the girl in the drive-thru what I had: a ten and two ones.  Some of you may ask, “Why didn’t I just hand her the ten?” I wanted to make it easier on her.  The problem is she thought I was giving her seven, so she typed into the register that I handed her seven and proceeded to stare at the twelve I gave her.  Since she couldn’t change what she typed in, she had no clue what to give me ($12-$6.75=what?).  This girl actually had to call over another girl who probably wasn’t a year or two older, both of them looking to be in high school or maybe even college, who had to take out a hand calculator to figure it out. Come on, is it really that hard? I said “I thought I’d make it easy on you” when I handed them the $12; that should have been the first hint it wasn’t hard.

I actually worked in the education system for some time recently with young children, the oldest being thirteen and the youngest being five.  Now, in the program I taught them in, they had a lot of hands-on projects.  For these projects, I would give them step-by-step instructions on how to make the various things.  I would end up having to make almost every, if not EVERY, project for them because they didn’t know how and might start crying if it wasn’t done for them before the end of class.

Now I might understand this if we were building something advanced like say, soldering a robot circuit board.  I also would understand if these students had a learning disability.  My problem with it was almost every student was perfectly capable and the projects were easy.  For one project, all they had to do was cut along the solid lines and fold the dotted ones; not really hard.  I still had to do most of them because they actually tried to do it and most of them cut along the dotted ones too.  Another project involved gluing blocks together in very simple ways, almost like making Tetris blocks.  Some couldn’t get the concept of making only one of each type, and some couldn’t even make any of the designs that not only did I show them how to make, they have a paper with a scale picture of each one, none being more then four cubes total.

In my opinion, parents really need to help their children learn. Once the child gets to school and can’t do some basic things for themselves, the teachers don’t stand a chance of teaching them how. A lot of them don’t appear to even try; I know I did.  When I was younger, my dad didn’t sit and show me how to make the Lego sets and model rockets I made—I did them myself.  Not only did I make them myself but I WANTED to make them myself. I didn’t want anyone trying to make any part of it for me.

If both parents are working so hard that they can’t teach a child how to do things, such as following directions, by age seven or so, maybe we should reconsider exactly why we are working so hard.  Do we really NEED that four hundred thousand inch LCD 1080i HD TV with surround and intra-cranial sound?  Do we really need that computer with the Intel 345 Gigaflop octo-core, 93 tera-abs or RAM and the 1.21 gigawatt power supply?  Do we need the BMW with the  87 Liter, V120 HEMI engine? Heck, go to any car dealer and they can get you a nice deal on a used car.  Maybe if we spent a little less on all these expensive luxuries that we feel we deserve, we could not work so hard and spend more time raising the next generation not to be so dependent on all this technology for such a simple problem as 12 – 6.75. (And no, I’m not going to give you the answer, you should be able to figure that one out for yourself… Put down that calculator and do it in your head)

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