Academics battle with college students who hand over

A big part of my job as an editor is listening. I listen to my teacher’s authors. Listening to colleagues I’ve taught with who are still in the classroom. Listening to educators with huge platforms on TikTok or Twitter, and listening to teachers who insist on anonymity when telling their story via email. I keep hearing something…

The kids have given up.

I’m not talking about the “Kids Today” teacher in the building complaining about the youngest generation and their bad music or lack of work ethic. This comes from teachers who genuinely love this generation of children and who are experts at building class community and building solid, meaningful relationships.

It comes from talented educators with decades of experience, as well as teachers who started in August 2019.

It comes from schools in the wealthiest zip codes to the least funded.

It’s coming from educators from coast to coast and even from teachers in other countries.

teachers are concerned. Your students don’t come to school, or if they do, they’ve effectively shut down. They might be loud about it, create distractions, or behave destructively. Or they remain silent about it and simply refuse to work at all or turn in assignments. But one thing is becoming increasingly clear: More and more students are finished.

Here’s what I hear from teachers.

They don’t see education as valuable.

Students as a whole no longer care about school like the students of the past. I’m not saying that’s good or bad, but the system will have to adapt or collapse…

— The Madwoman in the Classroom (@heymrsbond) March 7, 2023

Many of us have heard that education has been referred to as “the great leveler,” a phrase coined by Horace Mann in 1848. But our opportunity gaps have since widened, creating schools that offer wildly different odds of success depending on your zip code. It’s bad design, but it’s intentional design. Modern desegregation and/or equity initiatives often face overwhelming opposition from schools and communities, despite evidence that this is the best way to close the opportunity gap.

Additionally, 40% of Gen Z say they don’t need a college degree to have a successful career. So when education no longer offers social mobility and the school you attend is designed only for college-bound kids, why bother?

They know they don’t have to do the work or follow the rules.

I can’t decide if I love or hate teacher twitter. Parts of it are awesome. However, I see more “What can the teacher do differently?” Posts that imply (to me) that the student doesn’t have to make an effort. I pick up my Ss where they are, but I can’t do the work for them.

— April Ludgate (@eyeneedcaffeine) March 13, 2023

Imagine you just got a new job. This job is well paid and promises enormous growth potential within the company. You probably value hard work, giving back, and teamwork, so you’re sure this would be a good fit.

But what if you found your new co-workers working 10% of the hours you put in, but still getting the exact same salary and benefits?

What if these equally paid co-workers made you not do your job and threw off your boss with no repercussions from HR?

What if you spoke to HR about not having what it takes to be successful and they said, “Sorry, but our hands are tied. Corporate said we can’t fire more people and it really is best if they stay in the same office with you. We don’t want them to lose valuable office experience.”

What would you do? Would you still work just as hard to rise in this company and trust the leadership, or would you also join your peers? How quickly would your values ​​plummet if you saw that your job didn’t care if you did the work or not?

The children understood the system. They know they’ll be promoted to the next grade even if they don’t attend summer school. They know there will be no consequences for their behavior (many schools have outright bans on transfers). This generation is not bad; the system has denied policy for policy, shifting responsibility so that the only person with responsibility for raising a child is the teacher. What would that do other than teacher shortages and a checked-out generation?

They see no reason to concern themselves with the future we have prepared for them.

Everything that happens in culture and business works against education. The wealth gap, the distraction of technology, the denigration of expertise, college costs that deter children, unaffordable wages in half the states, and the demonization of teachers over political issues.

— Phoenix West (@turbittj) March 13, 2023

In a working system, if you ask students why they value education, they might say things like:

“I want to help people.”

“I want to earn a lot of money”

“I want to make the world better.”

But in 2023, many students in our schools are engaged in:

Can you blame kids for checking out? I don’t

So what can we do?

Teachers have been asking the government what children really need for years. Stronger infrastructure to support communities. More mental health counselors and professionals. Smaller class sizes. Measures to make the teaching profession more attractive. Thats expensive. It’s a lot cheaper to just require teachers to fill in the blanks.

What’s the answer? I don’t know. For years I’ve written that the answer is to vote people into office to legislate, but I don’t remember.

The embarrassment of being the country with the highest GDP and test scores below the global average wasn’t enough to move politics.

It wasn’t more than 400 children who died in school shootings in the past decade enough to move politics, or at least make politics aggressive enough to stem the sharp rise in school shootings.

A crushing teacher shortage has not been enough to move politics (except to lower standards to become teachers).

Honestly, I think the only thing that will spur the country into action to save public education is an absolutely massive teachers’ strike or a students’ strike.

Or a catastrophic robotic uprising that will require unprecedented global cooperation and unity in a way that completely reshapes our values ​​around education, healthcare, human rights and the environment.

A girl can dream.

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