It is hard to believe but school begins this week here in my hometown. What I can’t come to grips with is that I grew up with school letting out before Memorial Day in May and resuming after Labor Day in September and we were in one of the greatest periods of national growth and prosperity that ever occurred. Now we have added more days to the school calendar, more testing, and we’ve spent more money than ever before and we continue to slip compared to many other countries in math, science, and other academic areas. Why?
According to a recent study, “Between 1995 and 2008, for example, the United States slipped from ranking second in college graduation rates to 13th, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Paris-based organization that develops and administers the PISA exam. Of 34 OECD countries, only 8 have a lower high school graduation rate.” Not that I always trust studies coming out of France…but…when stating the obvious they are right on. So what is to be done? Another comment made on global education was, “The United States spends more per student, on average, than other countries. In the 2009 PISA study, only Luxembourg spent more per student. The report notes that countries like Estonia and Poland perform at about the same level as the United States, while spending less than half the amount per student.”
Two things that will make the biggest difference is investing in reform, not in the status quo and realizing value based – family involved education is a must. The list of big challenges to American families is legion. We need a Commander and Chief who articulates values more than partisanship. I’m not sure either candidates for President does that very well. Local leaders are even more important today than ever. It’s going to take more than money to change the trajectory of education. It is going to take a change of heart by parents, educators, and administrators. Spiritual Coaching is all about a change of heart and mind. We must be mindful that children are not just the future of our country – they are the present. Let’s do something America. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”