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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Education under fire.



This is Kim, a friend of Janet, my son Brian's fiance'.
As I review pictures taken during the workweeks around Brian's Memorial, I'm immensely impressed by how competent these young people are, Kim, Janet, and all the men and women jumping in and doing what needed to be done.

They worked in teams, and independently. They identified what needed to be done, and got right to it.

I'm especially impressed on how everyone worked: expertly, willingly, with confidence and efficiency. They cut, trimmed, dug, scraped, carried, painted, constructed, planted, etc.... They jumped in and contributed with all their might.

In my youth, tasks were separated by gender. I never did learn to change the oil in the car, to figure out what to do when a  machine stopped working,  even  how to handle a weed-wacker. I'm the result of a classical education: women were trained for certain household tasks, men for everything else.

Our education in the last thirty years has prepared our youth well.

Boys and girls have had access to tools, technology, science, finance, engineering, etc...
A boy can become a nurse. A girl can become a contractor.
Federal and state laws were put in place to allow equal access and equal opportunities, regardless of gender, regardless of race, religion, or financial conditions at home.  There are laws in Oregon, for instance, that allow a man and a woman to serve as precinct captains for their party affiliation. One man and one woman per precinct. Women had never seen the  back room deals where political pacts were formed, where support was gathered, where alliances were cemented.



Now, how do we continue to make sure education serves our youth's future needs? How about adding finance education, health and nutritional education, contract laws, wills and estate planning, entrepreneurship, ethics?

State Boards of education are struggling to keep schools open with today's budgets, and everyone is worried about the lack of funding. What are we trimming when we cut education? What future choices are we denying our youth?

Are we willing to go back to those times when only the rich had access? How fortunate for them!

Yes, we have made strides to give our youth meaningful experiences and information. We still have a long way to go.

29 comments:

Linda Myers said...

I like how gender isn't so observed. I was classically trained, but I don't like to cook or sew. Where does that leave me? In our household I do the finances and the laundry and the planning. My husband does the fixing. I should learn to fix!

Helen said...

Good morning, dear Rosaria!

The front page of our Bend Bulletin this morning featured an article on one of our middle schools - Pilot Butte. Training has begun for the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme. By the year 2014 the school should have its 'official' designation. This is a program which emphasizes critical thinking and awareness of international issues .. all subjects from math to language arts will eventually be a part of the program. As the school principal stated in the article ... 'the classes will link the real world with the student learning.' Hooray!

Brian Miller said...

i think financial education is greatly needed...even our country has a debt problem...saw the stats over the weekend on the number of pending foreclosures as well...it is astonishing...great post and a thought provoker...

Retired English Teacher said...

I agree with you on this. Your ideas about what needs to included in the curriculum are not only great, but also are necessary.

I am also of the age where I received more of a classical education. My generation was expected to stay home and raise children, teach, or enter the nursing field.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

I heartily agree with your comments about young people today and the value of a more balanced education, Rosaria! I think your idea about financial education being included is excellent! So many young people get into life-changing, life-limiting debt and financial trouble early on. I hate the idea of credit card companies going after college students with all sorts of offers. it would be great if more kids were financially savvy enough at that age to say "No."

I also love the fact that gender is less and less an issue in terms of career choice, education or socializing. I think that the tendency of kids to hang out in friendship groups rather than pairing off in dating so much is healthy. One young person asked me recently why I didn't go to an Ivy like Harvard or Princeton or Yale. I said that when I was applying to college, those schools were open to men only. And she looked at me with total incredulity. And, when I was majoring in journalism at Northwestern, women were actively discouraged form majoring in television news because women couldn't get jobs in that field. Now look!

There really has been so much progress. And it is so heartening to see this generation of young adults showing such competence and compassion.

Rob-bear said...

If you think education is expensive, think of the cost of wide-spread ignorance.
Fortunately, with the skills today's "children" (actually adults) have learned, they will be able to teach their children a lot.
And as for public schools, the rich can afford private schools, so many elected officials (nationally) don't seem to feel they have to worry about "the rests of us."
If Americans think differently, they have to change their politicians.

Eva Gallant said...

I remember watching my older brother at his work table drawing up blueprints. I couldn't wait to take that course when I got to high school. When I got there, 1960, I was informed that Mechanical Drawing was a class only open to boys. I was crushed! I was told I could take Home Economics and learn how to cook and sew.

Maggie May said...

Yes, when I was young everything was gender based. I did knitting/sewing & my brother woodwork and football.
I think that it is great that young people can choose these days & seem to have better opportunities.
So pleased the way they all got on with Brian's garden.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Towanda said...

It does seem we are going back to only the rich having access to good schools. I think as more people became more wealthy and could afford private schools they saw no reason to continue to support public schools. Sad.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I am fast heading towards 70, but I was taught all the mechanics of a car at a very early age, I was more than capable of changing a wheel on a car by the time I took my licence. I am probably more practical than my mother was, but even she was capable of checking problems on a car and changing a wheel. Changing plugs, bulbs etc at home has always been my job. Not sure what you mean by a classical education, I thought that what I had was perfectly norm. LOL
I was in the UK until I was 9 and then in S.Africa afterwards but all mu Mother's education was in the UK. Diane

Roberta said...

One thing I have noticed lately where I live is that there are more and more dad's pushing strollers during the work day. This tells me that a subtle change is happening and that more men seem to be unemployed than women and are ending up replacing the stay-at-home mothers.

#1Nana said...

I think I'm in the middle on this one. I want kids to be prepared to function in the real world and be academically ready to take advantage of opportunities available to them. So many kids don't learn basic life skills at home, yet those skills are no longer taught in school. I learned how to operate a sewing machine in 7th grade home ec. It's not a skill I use all the time, but I could mend clothing and whip up a hallowen costume when my kids were small. Most of all I want kids to read, and read really well. If you can read, you can learn how to do anything else.

the walking man said...

Rosaria I need some advice about one of the kids I tutor(6 years old, 1st grade), would you be kind enough to send me an email at bdd44m5@gmail.com

Fa L'Americana said...

After more than a month away from the blogosphere, I was shocked and saddened to see that such a horrible loss had occurred in your family. I am glad to see that you are still writing though, and I hope that it helps you.
On Education: I definitely think I could have used some finance courses in school. With the economy as it is, everyone could probably use a little more education in that area.

ellen abbott said...

I think logical and rational thinking should be a requirement.

Eleonora said...

At this astonishing moment in our history, financial education, as well as other "hot" topics, should definitely be part of a young person's academic training.
Thank you for alwats raising sych interesting and converstion-stirring issues.

How are you hanging in there, darling friend?

Cloudia said...

thoughtful and illuminating





Aloha from Waikiki;


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Z said...

In English state secondary schools there are classes in PHSE - which stands for Personal, Health, Social and Economic education and covers most of the things you mention. Not wills. I think that would go over their heads at their age - not that they might die, I think teenagers think about death a lot, but that they might have anything of monetary value to leave.

Pseudo said...

I wish you worked on a Board somewhere (my district...)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I completely agree with you, Rosaria.

yaya said...

I remember wanting to take auto shop in HS and being turned down..I was girl for cryingoutloud! I'm so happy things have changed but you are right. There are many practical classes that should and would make our younger generation more educated on how to survive in this crazy world. Finances can kill a marriage, nix a home purchase, or make life a living hell. It would be great to have this type of education mandatory!

The Broad said...

I have been thinking a lot about this gender gap in my education in just the past couple of days. My husband is the ultimate handy man. In a few weeks he will turn 70 and just yesterday he took down a couple of walls to extend our bedroom and as I sit in here he is clearing up the mess and getting ready to sort out the electric wiring. By the end of the week he will have put down the new carpeting! And I'm taking pictures and keeping him fed -- mostly. He takes care of most everything financial, too -- does the taxes (French and English)and the insurance -- it's great for me, but it's not good!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rosaria .. thanks for coming by and finding me again ..

I'd say Reading and Writing - so essential for everyone.

Integrating the world into their learning life .. teaching them that boredom is a waste .. read a book, write a story, do some voluntary work etc etc ..

So much opportunity .. encourage everyone to be passionate .. and live life to the full.

Cheers - Hilary

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erin said...

yes, education has come such a long way. i'd like to see education focus more on humanity though, community, people being people. yes, all of the things you mention but i do believe, especially in this tech world, that humanity is being lost. let's teach philosphy, the root of thinking and perhaps feeling, identifying our place in this world. no, let's not teach it. let's put it in a vase on the desk and watch it open us all up.

xo
erin

She Writes said...

No kidding! Jane is in a small inner city school, and they have very little funding. YET they are amazing. I wonder how much the teachers are paying for out of their own pockets ;(.

I am a super do it yourselfer as I had a husband who was cheap (and could afford not to be) and wouldn't lift a tool. In the end, it worked out as now I can tackle all kinds of stuff. But the car?? YIKES!

I think women need to learn all kinds of jobs that would bring great pleasure and satisfaction around any house, yard, or garage. But the other ideas here are great too.

wvhiker said...

I agree that financial planning needs to be a part of school curriculum, health and nutrition education I thought were always taught (I have a middle schooler going through that right now), but it may be a stretch for estate planning and contract laws, if we are talking about up to high school aged children. What I have noticed is a loss of the arts (art and music programs) and a concentration on the three R's. I firmly believe that mathematics, reading, and writing are the essentials for living, and making a living in this world. Sometimes it really tires me to talk with today's youths, and no one counts your change back to you because they don't need to think about it. School systems are in trouble because of the way that local and state governments have mismanaged their budgets. The rich do pay for public education in the form of taxes, at least they do here. A lot of answers can be made for this topic.

Marja said...

I love that genders have choice to do the job they want without being judged. NZ women are very strong. We had two woamn being prime minister in the past and you see them a lot here in all kind of jobs.
About the education system; because of cuts I think it is going to be less affordable in the future for the poor and I am afraid that there is a growing gap between rich nd poor here

becky said...

It seems that there are jobs to be filled for which workers are not prepared...new skills need to be offered...