Education is one of the few things a person is willing to pay for and not receive.
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Education...the problem
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This entry was posted on Monday, May 3, 2010  and is filed under  Keeba’s Commentary.
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Created Monday, May 3, 2010
Posted Saturday, May 22, 2010
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Keeba Smith is a published writer and desired screenplay artist.  She is the author of “Shades of Bright Pale,” and many other
unacquainted writings. Please visit to find out more about Keeba Smith, read additional critiques and her
unpublished autobiography,
“Spirit in the Dark.”
© 2010
I have been trying to figure out this education thing for many years, but when the mass firing of
teachers in Rhode Island came along, I became more intrigued.

What is the problem?
What was the problem at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island that the superintendent felt
justified in firing 93 people – which included 77 teachers, the principal, 3 assistant principals,
guidance counselors and reading specialists?

School officials yet say that of the 800 students at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island, half
the students are failing every subject, with 55 percent skilled in reading and 7 percent proficient in

Okay, that’s a huge problem!  But in general, what is the problem with our schools around the
Country – in each State?  WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

What is the problem?
I have posed this question to several family members, friends and associates and I have received a
variety of answers.

I posed the question because as long as I can remember, our government has always emphasized
how important education is, yet it seems as though each administration fails to make it better.  Or
better yet, to prove to at least me, that they are doing something to improve our education system.  
What is the problem?  Why hasn’t our government done more?  What is the problem?

I was born in the 60’s but I could swear that I read where our government said it was on the
problematic case since that time, yet, it seems to me that it has only gotten worse.  Therefore, this
iniquitous problem is both the Democrats and Republicans fault.

What is the problem?
When I posed this question to family and friends, the responses were mixed as some replied with
personal experience while others were looking at the problem from afar; as if it did not t affect
them directly.  And for that, I say shame on them!  The problem affects all of us – whether we
have children or not.  I do not have children, but those children  -
our children – are my future
and we, me, you, have to do all we can to assist them to grow into powerful vibrant young men
and women.  They are our future and will one day lead our Nation.

What is the problem?
From the answers I received, it seems as though some people believe we cannot force children to
learn.  Hmmm, okay.  That is worrisome.

What is the problem?
From the answers I received, it seems as though it has to do with the growing problem of latchkey
kids.  I can follow that logic or at least comprehend it as I know how it was in my household
[while growing up].  As the youngest of seven, I had older brothers and sisters who took time to
further educate me at home while at the same time, two parents standing over me to make sure I
completed my homework.  When I was young, I could not understand the reasoning for a clock to
have normal numbers as I was taught to tell time on a Roman numeral clock.  Yes it was easy to
relate the numbers, but the Roman numeral clock just made more sense, however, I was surprised
that some children did not know.

What is the problem?
Another answer was that the problem lies in the hands of the school system.  That the schools are
taking an old system that never worked, yet they gave it a new name and ran with it.  I agree with
that, but why rename something just to keep having it to fail?  So if it’s a unique pretty name and
sounds fancy, it’s supposed to work?  I have seen this occur on several instances within
Public Schools  (DPS) and it seems as though the problem gets worse and continues to spread like
cancer.  It seems as though Denver Public Schools would rather have large businesses and
corporations throw money at building schools and new programs while forgetting that the programs
mean nothing if the children are not able to succeed and grow.  Yes, I believe the money should be
spent hiring adequate teachers, but at the same time, use that money to insure our children are
indeed learning.  Forget the financial profit!  We need to put more effort in our children's education
and future welfare!

What is the problem?
Someone said that the problem is a sense of entitlement.  I can agree with that.  A few months
ago, president Obama mentioned other Countries that have more engineers and/or scientists
compared to the United States.  However, the problem with this, is that many foreigners come to
the U.S. to receive education, and take that information back to their own Country and use it
wisely.  That’s somewhat painful.  In the U.S. we have the right to an education, but sadly, we do
not always take advantage of it.  
Al Sharpton
What is the problem?
    While having trouble sleeping one late night/early morning, I turned on the
    boob-tube and ran across the 1984 movie “Teachers.”  Oh and yes, it is
    about a school filled with teachers and students.  

    In the movie – starring Nick Nolte and Jo Beth Williams – there are a
    variety of problems within the school and it seems as though no one
    recognizes them.  And for those that are aware of the problems, they
    have no desire in correcting them.

    The film is centered on Nolte’s character, which is being sued by a
    former student (Williams) who is now a lawyer.  While Nolte is preparing
    for his best defensive strategy, he designs an assignment for his students
    to tell him what is wrong with the school and one of his students runs
    rapid with the idea.  The student (Ralph Macchio) retrieves a camera and
    photographs teachers and students performing various indecent acts such
as a teacher sleeping in class, a teacher who is not actually a teacher but an escapee from a local insane asylum, students
ditching class, students smoking marijuana, etc.  One thing that was not captured in the photographs but was memorable,
was that a teacher was sexually engaged with one of his students and the act results in a pregnancy.)

Near the end of the movie, Nolte’s character states a fact that has troubled me for many years.  He said,  "It’s not about
teaching the students or holding them back if they don’t learn.'s policy.

It is "policy" to have as many students as possible in each classroom.  It is "policy" that it does not matter if the students
learn anything but just as long as they were enrolled in the class and ultimately pushed out the door.  Again, "it's policy."


What is the problem?
The problem with this is that it seems that it is “policy” to move students in and out of public schools’ doors whether they
learn or not.  Meaning that is does not matter whether the student or students are equipped to pass basic English or

What is the problem?
    The schools' pay is determined and distributed based on each student not
    by each passing student.  The school receives money for each student,
    not by each student that has learned, earned and passed each test.

    When I was in Junior High School, our lead Physical Education, Mrs
    Mitchell would take time to talk to the students before and after each
    class and I can recall something that has stayed with me all these years.
    She said, Learn all you can while you’re here, because when you
    leave this school and go on to High School, they won’t care...They
    will just pass you along.

    Mrs. Mitchell was right!  I will never forget Mr. McCracken who did
    exactly what Mrs. Mitchell said – gave me passing grades that I did not
    deserve.  Because of Mr. McCracken’s generous but deceptive grades, I
    was able to be on the honor roll for two years.  Oh and then, there was
my Student Guidance Counselor Ms. Christiansan who told another Black student and myself that the ACT's and SAT’s
were not important to get into college.  I was disgusted!  However, I know my classmate was just as smart as I was and
more than likely deserved the grades she received.  Moreover, she was probably just as upset that we were not given the
tools nor instructed or encouraged to succeed.

Despite the pay teachers and schools receive, it is “policy” to push the students out the doors – whether the students are
prepared or not.  It just does not matter because it was "policy" and I cannot help but believe that the very same
procedure is still encouraged.  

What is the problem?
Our children are able to come home and watch television.  Yes, the parent(s) know, as they are the ones who rent
movies, sit, and watch them with their children.  And when the child returns to school the next day, they do not know the
answers to the test, but can recite – word for word – the lines of the movies they watched the previous night.  I am not
saying that children should not be able to enjoy some downtime or entertainment, but parents should be more diligent in
making sure their homework is completed first.

What is the problem?
    Our children are able to bring deadly weapons to school, and when caught
    with that gun and/or knife, there are no repercussions.  I have witnessed
    a student misbehave in class and after several chances, was sent to the
    principal’s and when he returned, sweet candy treats were spilling from
    his hands.

    As a taxpayer, I am disgusted that students are able to destroy the school
    and we give them books to learn, but they destroy them too.  And what
    do the chieftains do?  NOTHING!

What is the problem?
I am afraid of today’s kids because they do things that I, as a child, would have never thought about doing.  I have
witnessed children talk wildly to their parents, destroy things and fight each other.  They have weapons and a law that
says that if an adult lays a hand on them, the adult is looking at jail time.

What is the problem?
I heard someone say, “Kids need to know that you care for them and care what you think.”

I agree with that, but the problem is not just the students and/or the teachers.  Instead, it is you, me and everyone else.  
We have to mentor these children.  Tell them to put down those weapons and pickup a book.  Yes, it is easier said than
done, but there has to be another way to reach and teach our children.

What is the problem?
    No we cannot make a child learn, but we also cannot keep the “policy” going either.  
    No, in fact, we must do everything to demolish that policy as well as put a determinant
    end to those employed by public schools who allow this policy to continue.  Please, I do
    not wish anyone to lose his or her job, but at the same time, I do not believe every
    teacher should be in that roll as "educator".  Furthermore, it is my belief that the
    superintendent should be as faithful and honest to the students, as he/she would be to
    their own; as if their own lives depended on it.

    In my honest opinion, Michael Bennet was not good for DPS and it is just as well that
    he moved on to politics – where the corruption is clean.  Notwithstanding, if the current
    DPS superintendent, Tom Boasberg does not do more to help his students, then he too
    should move on to something else.  (Dear God, please not another dishonest  
    politician, but something that will actually make a difference in society.)  The
    superintendents are not exempt and should be held accountable to our children as well
    as for the sake of our children.

Every school should be examined from the teachers on up to the principals on up to the school administration and school
boards and superintendents.  No one is exempt!  No, not a one!  I sincerely/justly believe that the problem lies on each
and every one of them; including you and me.  If we do not demand change, then what will happen?  Absolutely nothing!

We must demand an end to State and federal guidelines, and demand more!  Demand higher learning!  Demand better
teachers!  Demand EDUCATED teachers!  We should be demanding better education for our students.

What is the solution?
One, we need more teachers like Gary Buslik.  Additionally, we need more schools such as the Denver School of Science
and Technology. (
DSST)  (DSST is a Colorado school and was one of the six finalists of the  “Race to the Top High
School Commencement Challenge” to have President Obama as its keynote commencement speaker.)

    Although I am against charter schools, I know if I had children, I would
    want them to attend DSST because out of 80 students, all 80 students
    graduated.  Why?  Because it is mandatory!

    If the student does not return his/her homework, he/she must stand-up in
    [the] front of the class and explain why he does not have it.  Moreover,
    the teachers sit down and eat lunch with the students in a noisy
    lunchroom with the students everyday.  Their students just do not meet
    the State’s standards in math, science and English, they exceed in each
    of those areas as well as teach them computer skills.

However, one thing that I found rather odd and upsetting, is that a Denver Public Schools (DPS) teacher said that DSST
was putting too much pressure on their students and ultimately found DSST’s requisite for all graduates to attend college
a waste of time.  What?  Now that certainly is NOT a solution!  This DPS teacher made light of the success of DSST!!!  

Who said,
“The right time to do right is always?”

    I do not want to hear an educator quibble that I am only on this side of the
    fence because I do not have children.  No, I do not have any biological
    children, but I have many children as well as nieces and nephews.  
    Additionally, the children in these classrooms are indeed my children
    when their ability to perform and live outside the classroom personally
    affects me.

    I do not want to hear an educator say that it is hard teaching lower-
    income students.  Who said it was going to be easy?  Who said that
    anything was easy?  If it were so easy, then there would be more of you.

Why take on the job if you are not willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done?  Besides, lower-income students
are not any worse or better, nor are they any less or more eager to learn than privileged kids.  If so, then we would not
have the
Oprah Winfrey’s, Elizabeth Murray’s and/or the Chris Gardner’s of the world.  Or better yet, ANYONE listed
here.  It is work and you are being paid for your time to complete it - from beginning to end.  No, the pay is not the
greatest and I have argued that if our government continues to accentuate the importance of education, then they should
do more to attract quality-deserving educators.  Based on credentials, I believe the average pay should be at least
$70,000.  My solution, is to adequately pay teachers a livable wage.  However, as I stated, you are being paid and if you
do not like it, then perhaps you too should seek another line of employment - giving thought to the idea that perhaps (now
just perhaps) teaching is not for you.

    If an educator has a hard time teaching, then perhaps they should seek
    another profession - one that is easier.  One they can actually handle.  I
    know from experience, that it is so rewarding when I know I have
    completed my job to the best of my ability, and even more self-satisfying
    when others have benefited from my hard work.

    I do not want to hear any excuses, because there are not any.

What is the solution?

IS the solution????
Ruined school supplies
In education, nothing works if the students don't.  Do you care?
In this case, pick DSST!
For the sake of our children, teachers, principals, school administrators, school boards & superintendents - YOU ARE ALL DISMISSED!
What a quandary!