Gail's Blog

Scapegoating Our Teachers and the Myth of College Degrees

I have often written about this transformational period and its journey that began in 2008.  We continue on this road through 2024.  One of the important areas of change is our educational system.  As you can see, the media is filled with teacher union revolts, the rise of charter schools, requirements that teachers be tested for competency, questioning of the need for public education and many other issues spotlighting the educational system in America.  What is going on is the old model of what constitutes a good education in America is being, and needs to be, evaluated in light of the changes of modern-day-societies.  Through the next 12 years, the focus will be a revolution in education.

The children of today need a new approach to education This is what it looks like as we begin to build the new system.  Many teachers are under siege as this system is developed.  There are, of course, great teachers and not-so-great teachers but the teachers themselves are being asked to teach students who are ADD, autistic or ADHD medicated, under-funded or wasteful school districts, under-performing, inner-city schools where they are blamed if the student fails to learn and various other situations where student laziness or student unwillingness to do the difficult work is blamed on the teacher.

This educational revolution is not going away and will most likely get more intense until we get to 2025.  It is the system change that is at work and the teachers have become the scapegoats.  Today’s children are not like previous generations.  They have more finely tuned nervous systems and are exposed to many more distractions than past generations.  The number of learning disabilities among our children is startling.  Whether it is because of the environment or inheritance, it is real.  The diet of the mother, increase of premature births or underweight babies has contributed to challenging conditions for the student.   Why do so many children have learning disabilities?

Another educational phenomena that is occurring is the change to the value of a four year degree.  During this same period of time, from now until 2025, Americans will questions whether it is worth the money or time to complete the four year degree.  As good paying jobs do not naturally occur because of the degree, Americans will question its usefulness.  We still are under the spell of the four year degree and more as being an instant ticket to success.  We are finding out that this is true only if you have a ticket from an Ivy League school or its equivalent.  The majority are lucky to get jobs starting at $35,000.  Certainly, that is not enough to pay off the heavy student debt that students acquired getting the degree.  Since there is no possibility of filing bankruptcy on a student debt, students are chained for life to the lender.  Unless the law is changed permitting students to default, a class of highly educated young people will never be able to thrive.  Their future wages can be garnished and tax refunds will be claimed by the lender or the government.  It may even drive some of them to move out of the country.

Parents and students will consider the high costs and job futures from a four year degree and opt instead for some form of specialized training that will help guarantee a job and a future.  Due to the strong control by lenders in the US, don’t look for any relief for student loans in the near future.

Two areas that are contracting in size in the US are the teaching profession and the law profession.  As law firms contract and downsize, law graduates are chasing fewer positions and accepting lower paying jobs (when they can get one).  It almost guarantees a life of servitude if they have high student debt from law school.  College educations will become so expensive that the middle class and businesses will start to change their minds about the necessity of having a college degree.

Remember Bill Gates and Steve Jobs never completed their four year degrees.






5 responses to “Scapegoating Our Teachers and the Myth of College Degrees”

  1. Mary H. Ber says:

    Gail, I applaud your entire message. I am a retired teacher with over 50 years in classrooms on all levels–and I have “felt” the kinds of changes you are describing for about half of that time. And I have been angered at the scapgoating of teachers, most of whom are hamstrung by the regulations of school boards and even state legislatures. The best teachers–and they are many–usually reach students because they study the students and their needs. I have faith that those teachers will meet the future’s challenges as they have met those of the past: because they love teaching and they love their students.

  2. Chris says:

    Not the sage on the stage, but the guide on the side…Been there, done that

    …no one has mentioned the lack of critical thinking…outside of the box, common sense…whatever

    Some of this education seems deep, but without breadth…so, if something breaks down…only a few know how to fix it…how is that true education?

    Thanks for noticing how WE have become the scapegoats, rather than those who demanded how we’ve had to teach…35 year veteran educator.

  3. Individual learning needs and abilities will guide the curricula and subjects for individual students more and more – thanks to more evolved attitudes AND students.

    There’s a University near me whose approach created quite a fuss amongst academia – Quest University. However, the students thoroughly appreciate it. Students have 3 1/2 weeks to study and complete one (only) course. The student works at his or her own pace, but the time frame includes regularly scheduled study group discussions for that subject. The Prof is a catalyst – an excellent facilitator.

    Many years ago, long before computerization was in homes, my educator mom predicted that students will go to work in the professional fields of their choice and attend University to study theory – armed with knowledge of what they NEED to have more help with. So they are actively engaged in roles throughout their time undertaking studies.

    Thrilling times for all of us!

  4. Caroline Leban says:

    Thanx Gail. Wil keep in touch. Am presenting 3 scholarships this next week at LT in LaGrange.
    Always a rewarding experuience,

  5. Geza Kisch says:

    The cost of education will come down considerably as remote or on-line education will be more wide spread.
    Home schooling will have a new meaning.
    You are right the current system is unsustainable but there are more efficient ways to acquire knowledge.

    It also means that the role of the teacher will change, teaching will be a secondary function, it will turn into guidance and advisory role.

    This also means that just like news papers many schools will disappear and purpose driven education will be and as you say more specific purpose driven education will be more prominent.

    To some degree that is already here . But more importantly people will take more responsibility for their education.

    From a person’s prospective, how will the future society feel like?
    With the national ID card coming on the back of the immigration law it does not feel like a free society.
    I would appreciate your thoughts.

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