Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Education shouldn’t return to normal — do better | My View

School funding is complicated. In our state it seems like we often don’t have enough money to run our schools properly or to pay teachers enough. Aside from the public education department, where non-teaching personnel rake in handsome paychecks for holding meetings and making unrelated plans, let’s think—what if we actually got the funds we needed? What if schools had cash and teachers were paid enough to buy a house in Santa Fe (a real house with something like a yard big enough for a family)?

Nobody knows and nobody really cares.

People are losing faith in our public schools because they have long since failed in their mission. Public school teachers are not a bad bunch; I say that this itself is one. We mean well, most of us. But no wonder truancy and absenteeism were a disaster even before COVID-19. Why would students show up when school is about worksheets and job skills and rules? What a desolate, depressing landscape. What a contrast to the actual joy of learning, a joy every child feels (until life and the hellish burden of school squeezes it out of their souls).

We need more money, yes. Educators should be paid fairly (although, to be truly fair, first responders are often paid less and do more dangerous work). But when that is found out, the real problem is that the school itself is a nightmare and people have lost faith in it. To regain that belief, school must evolve, not become more tech-savvy and career-oriented, but actually be about discovery, joy, and creativity.

As for the money, the money was there, by the way. It’s just mismanaged and abused for things like unwanted training and unneeded textbooks.

My concern is this: We will eventually return to something resembling normality. Schools will return to face-to-face classes and many of us will breathe a sigh of relief. But that is delusion. The system returning to normal will serve no one but the stressed out teachers.

As one of these stressed people, I can say: We don’t need a return to normality. We need to look long and hard at the massive flaws in this crumbling system and find a new direction.

Jake Karlins is a teacher in

santa fe

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