I can still remember what it was like going to school back when I was a student. Having since had three children of my own, I’ve always been amazed at how similar my experience was to theirs.
The whole world has changed so much around us since I was growing up. Common devices like telephones and computers are completely different products than they were decades ago.
Yet, despite all this, our education system is largely the same as it was back then. One could even argue that it’s the same system that it was well before that time, going back prior to the founding of our nation. At the end of the day, it’s still a teacher, in a classroom, in front of a group of students.
It’s not a matter of funding; expenditures for education at the state, federal and local level have all increased exponentially over time. Depending on the individual school district, class sizes may be larger these days. But, if anything, the biggest change is that our modern school systems are doing less to prepare students for life after graduation.
This is something we constantly hear about from employers. Many of them have had to develop their own internal training programs for new employees because they simply hadn’t learned the skills they need for those jobs.
Often times, our high school graduates have to take remedial courses once they get to college. Those are things they should have already learned in the years of school they took to get through K-12.
The only thing worse than not graduating at all is graduating unskilled and unprepared for the many challenges of life ahead. The first of those two scenarios is the failure of the individual student. The other is the failure of the entire system and everyone in it.
I’m optimistic, however, that the lessons learned during the COVID pandemic are ones that can be used going forward to make our system more responsive to the needs of tomorrow’s world.
We have to start with the basic question of, what is the purpose of public education? I think everyone can agree it should function as more than just a place where parents drop their children off while they go to work.
School should be doing everything possible to prepare students for the real world. We need to be encouraging the skills of each student, whether they ultimately elect to pursue a career as a doctor or a welder. The time they spend in the classroom should go towards building a solid foundation for the future.
As an educator for over 23 years, I bring a particular perspective to my race for Beaverton School District Board of Directors, Zone 1. I’m uniquely qualified to represent parents of students in the district because I know the classroom inside and out.
My experience includes stints at charter and alternative schools and as a teachers’ assistant, substitute teacher, full-time teacher and with students who have behavioral issues, as well as those who speak English as a second language. I’m very familiar with classroom management and what goes into it.
Once I’m elected, I plan to use the benefit of my perspectives as a student, parent, and teacher to help bring about the best possible outcomes for the children of our school district.
Please feel free to contact me with any comments at email@example.com
Jeanette Schade for Beaverton Schools