#2. Teachers Are Underpaid, Unsupported, and Stressed Out
Teaching is a difficult and dangerous job. That article I linked tells a story about a woman who taught fourth grade for over 20 years, right up until the year she was involuntarily transferred to teach high school freshmen. The superintendent didn't inform her of the change until four days before the school year had started. Four days is nowhere near enough time to build a curriculum for any grade, let alone a grade that is far out of your wheelhouse. For anyone who doesn't know, fourth graders are young, scared, occasionally rambunctious, but mostly adorable children, and high school freshmen are the worst fucking people on the planet.
That teacher, unsurprisingly, burned out, became depressed, and started suffering from a number of other stress-related health issues, something that is common among almost all teachers (according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, it's the 20th most dangerous job in America, and some jobs in America are jobs where people shoot guns at you). Seventy-five percent of all teacher health problems are stress-related and a result of "dwindling school resources, low pay, high expectations for test scores, changing assessments of student performance, lack of parental involvement, and pressure from administration." Teachers who aren't burning out are still becoming cynical and demoralized; they got into teaching to change lives and help children, and instead they have to deal with administrative mandates and pressures to "teach to a test," where they're encouraged to do whatever it takes to raise their class' test scores, even if that doesn't necessarily correlate to an increased understanding of the material for the students.
Pretend you're a teacher: You got into this job because you wanted to connect with children, but if you do so in a way that doesn't yield higher test scores for your whole class, your boss will be on your case. Plus the pay is shitty and funding to your school drops every single year.
Who wouldn't be cynical?
#1. We Need an Education Revolution
The public school system is a giant, ancient ship that has already gone too far in the wrong direction to ever be turned around. Everyone keeps trying to brainstorm ways to steer the ship, but they're missing the most obvious solution:
Fuck the ship.
Fuck that ship and build a new ship. Or you know what? Why make it a ship at all? Why not build an unstoppable education machine that consumes every wrong lesson you've ever been taught and spits out the angry, beautiful, and amazing truth? Put rockets on that son of a bitch. We want a machine that will seek out everything wrong about you and BLEED it out of you and leave you a smarter and more efficient person.
Honestly, education needs a helping hand. If we want our children to get educated, and if teachers are too handcuffed by bureaucracy to do it, then we need a new kind of textbook designed to challenge and inspire kids (and also anyone in that coveted 18-35 demographic) to get excited about learning. Not just another textbook, but something that fixes what textbooks got wrong. A DE-Textbook, if you will. A machine like this just might be the only thing that can make the world smarter, stronger, and faster. The only thing that can save us from our own stupidity.
Here I should be clear that I've been speaking metaphorically when I've talked about ships and machines; a "machine" in this instance can be anything, from a book to even an e-book.
I just pray that the people of the world are bold enough to rise up to this challenge and courageous enough to buy such a book. Because, as the great George Washington once said, "Cracked.com's new book, The De-Textbook, is available wherever books are sold, pre-order your copy today!"