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We Don't Need No Education
By Gloria Diaz
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Fort Wayne Reader
I’d like to say something about education in Northeast Indiana. We hate it. We really, really hate it.
It’s obvious that people here resent education. I see it when parents complain about teachers. I see it when teachers complain about unruly students. I see it when teachers and administrators clash in regards to curriculum. People think that teachers have it cush, only working nine months out of the year and having time off during the school year. People who think that have never been teachers. Disruptive students screw up the classroom dynamics, leaving the well-behaved students ignored while the teacher has to deal with the fighting students. And since you can’t paddle kids for bad behavior, what are you gonna do?
Then, there is the laziness factor. People tend to treat school lightly, thinking if they show up, they get a gold star. I get all sorts of excuses from my students why their papers will be late. There’s a reason people go to college when they’re young, it gets extremely difficult when you’re married, have kids and dealing with a full-time job. Add in the pressures of having to complete a program within an allotted time, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
Another problem I see that is undermining the value of an education, especially a college degree, is the number of people with degrees punching a cash register. Or stocking a shelf. I feel the smart thing to do when you graduate high school these days is find a job, save ninety percent of your income, live at home, and then enroll in college, but pay cash for your classes. That way, if you get a degree, it might take you several years (if you go part time) but at least you won’t go into debt, and you won’t be resentful of that $40,000 (or more) piece of paper decorating your wall while you stock shelves.
School administrators are also using the “get a degree, get a career” chant and not explaining why students HAVE to take writing, or art, or history if they are majoring in business. The phrase “well rounded education” apparently isn’t a factor anymore. It’s all about the money, it seems. Learning for learning’s sake is for academic types, the bookworms. And we all know what losers THEY are.
Which brings me to my last point. If you’re a smart person here in Fort Wayne, or extremely well-read, or both, finding like-minded people might be a challenge. My first job out of college at a small town newspaper, I thought my extensive knowledge of facts and statistics would be appreciated by my colleagues. It wasn’t. I was shocked when I realized my editor’s speech patterns were full of double negatives. He sounded like a total hick, yet he was an editor of a newspaper. I got along with him all right, but hearing him talk was like hearing fingernails being run down a blackboard. I’ve had enough of “it don’t matter none no how” and “he done did it hisself” to last me for a lifetime. People without college degrees resent those who do. And that’s a shame. City leaders talk about a “brain drain” here in Northeast Indiana and how to fix it. How you fix it is make this city attractive to those who can speak proper English and have the organizational skills to get through college, or at least who like to read a lot. Reading is the cheapest way to educate yourself. And you don’t have to go into debt for it, unless you forget to return your books to the library.
Reducing brain drain? Make this city more appealing to the book worm types and the educated. Here’s a hint: building baseball stadiums isn’t a good start. However, supplying dictionaries to local business owners would be. I saw a restaurant offer ten percent off to “vetrans.” But I guess it don’t matter none.