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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Quality of An Education

My heart ached when I read the article in The Huffington Post, "Detroit Schools Closing: Michigan Officials Order Robert Bobb to Shut Half The City's Schools."  The school closings may increase class sizes to 60 students.  My mind spun around in circles.  I had a gut-wrenching feeling just thinking about how many students will not receive a quality education, if this plan passes.

Americans are experts and innovators in many fields, but when it comes to education, we're not progressing as we should.  The average teacher’s salary in the United States according to, is $35,869 - $53,734 per year.  How many teachers are going to sign up to teach a class with 60 students for $35,869 dollars per year?  It's hard to manage an average class size of 26 students, let alone 60 students.  There are so many implications for what could go wrong if this happens.  Such stress upon the teachers and student population, could eventually lead to increased crime, poverty, and a higher drop out rate.

I have worked in education for nearly 12 years, but don't know all of the ins and outs of budgets or the reasons why teachers aren't getting paid more.  I have never met a teacher that doesn't love her/his occupation.  They stay late hours to grade papers, read assignments on the weekends, spend their own money on school supplies, and counsel students.  At the same time, I have also met teachers that feel that their efforts aren't appreciated, work in undesirable conditions, and feel underpaid.  What would it take for teachers to make more money?

The topic of a quality education is constantly discussed in our household and with friends.  We agree that class sizes directly impact student achievement.  There was a clear difference when we took our oldest son out of a daycare that had 22 students in each class, and moved him to another daycare with 6 students per class.  He was able to receive individual attention in smaller groups, and excelled faster in his new environment.  Stronger relationships with his teachers and classmates were developed.

Every child deserves a quality education from grades K-12.  America continues to struggle on being highly ranked in the world of education. We are one of the wealthiest nations in the world, but our high school students are at best average in math and science.  We must not fail our own children, in or outside the classroom.

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