If there is one thing that this election has really driven home for me, it is that the average American doesn’t know a whole lot about what is going on in their own country, or in the world.
Part of the problem is a lack of access to quality education.
I teach in South Korea, which has a school system second only to New Zealand. But if you look into the US, we are way down on the list. And remember, those fancy private academies for the rich are factored into our score. So it’s a big deal that even then, the US still comes in way behind.
One of the factors is the lack of respect for teachers, and the low salaries. Teaching in the US is basically like working for a non-profit at the lowest level, being a paid volunteer. Then on top of that, you have to bring your own supplies to the classroom, because you’re not getting anything from the school.
Beyond that, we allow the extreme right to manipulate textbooks. Some textbooks used to schools Nationwide refer to African slaves as “guest workers,” and teach Creationism alongside real science as though the two are equal.
Of course we can’t discount the lack of funding for schools, or the poor allocation of resources. There is no way a principle should be making $100,000 per year at a school that doesn’t provide textbooks for it’s students.
As for charter schools, well, that’s a scam and we all know it. Most charter schools are just set up so someone can scam money from the government. The quality of education is generally so low that the students who go there have no chance at continuing their education.
Meanwhile we still let private schools for the rich flourish, which creates a class system long before children are old enough to understand the discrimination they are facing simply for being born into the “wrong” family.
This situation is unsustainable, shameful, and in stark opposition to our GDP, which is the highest in the world. We have no excuse for a GDP that dwarfs all other nations, while having some of the worst schools in the developed world.
Donald Trump is part of the problem. He hasn’t paid taxes in 20 years, and that doesn’t make him smart. That makes him a welfare queen like all the American 1%, sponging off the rest of us while contributing literally nothing. It’s offensive.
So write your elected representatives as soon as they get into office. Make sure to tell them that you consider education a priority, and that you expect to see more investment in the US education system during their time in office.
If you can’t remember how to get involved, please check out the post I wrote on civics.