In the last two weeks we have been given a wake up call. Really I don’t believe we should have had much of a surprise. When did we not have special consideration for any one with the money to influence a decision. Politicians spend exorbitant amounts of money to win an election. News media broadcast through their journalism how much each candidate has spent. Hollywood elite sit in the best seats and attend events no family could afford to be present. Now! We have been informed how family members of money have received special avenues to admissions into some of our most prestigious colleges and schools. One entrepreneur saw the opportunity to cheat, lie, and commit fraud for the highest bidders. Who were the people who could and would take advantage of this opportunity? This is just a tip of the iceberg.
I ask you where does that put you when you are reading this? Circling back looking at where colleges, politicians, leaders, and news media have been predators of colleges and schools who were serving students from the middle class and low socio economically challenged communities. The schools didn’t have millions or billions of dollar endowments. They relied on the systems allowed them by the federal government to allow these students to attend post secondary education. They were graced with attaining student loans initiated by the federal government to reach their potential academically. The majority of this population came from families that had never had any one attend a college. Family members who hadn’t been in a school since high school for six to ten years. Looking to better their families they attended the only school they could afford with private student loans. Others came from colleges and schools they could no longer afford or could not compete with the rich and famous. Over the past six years thousands upon thousands of students have lost their schools. The pitch was these schools were committing fraud and pressuring students to enroll. My life has experienced thirteen U.S. Presidents where everyone has held education of society as important. In the last ten years we have done irritable damage to the student population pursuing a better life. No one ever ask when these students take these loans where the interest payments go? We are in the middle of a drastic need to get our heads on straight and stop pointing our fingers and really look to how to improve access and completion with appropriate outcomes. Gallup completed a study on how our U.S. population perceived higher education:
How can we gain any confidence going forward with these measures of reliability. Recently, a group of people gathered to consider how to monitor and engage colleges and schools to improve their performance. Some of you may be asking who are these people and how can they understand and know who I am and what my family needs for an education?
Let’s be honest with our path of needs. I have enjoyed teaching and being a leader in the education arena for forty-nine years. It has been a blessing to work with youth and adults across the United States and abroad. Education always becomes important during elections to gain votes from parents and adults interested in education. So ask your self why the governing bodies have continued to accept the inequity of our schools and colleges in funding and regulations. This nation has been blessed with the ability to provide schools and colleges reaching the needs of many citizens with interest in an abundance of vocations. No one single career path or education endeavor is better than another. Life provides the opportunity to discover vocations that will foster individual achievement and satisfaction. The only path to success isn’t always a college. My journey in proceeding through the education maze was by having opportunities at a trade school, junior college, metropolitan college and large university. My life gave me the opportunity to teach at all levels and provide leadership for hundreds of colleges. First hand my life has allowed me to see how our schools can influence lives.
On the scale of measuring education success and opportunity how can we improve:
School and College access
equitable funding and regulations
School operations equal with opportunity, materials, technology, equipment, the retention of teachers.
Teacher education improvement (instruction design and methodology)
Allowing for students to receive personalized education by recognizing where they are functioning at the entrance into school
Student performance measurements from baseline data and not standardized test
Meaningful measurements for schools recognizing their populations with analysis of data
Variables affecting success and how to address them
Improve school attendance
Collaborative engagement between employers and schools
Flexibility (scheduling, matriculation, reaching competencies)
Stop the caste system of education in our nation
Today is the day we should start the road to improvement. A fifty member panel working around the political correct process is not the answer for the future. People like to think they are experts in education because we all went to school somewhere. I think we would all agree things have changed dramatically over the years since the year I was born in 1946. But some things have never changed. We should begin by asking why not?