Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Tirade: Why Aren't Schools Palaces of Learning?

Photo of RFK Community Schools Courtesy of LA Times
In August of 2010, we learned that the Los Angeles School District was about to open the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools at the cost of $578 million.  Of course, Matt Drudge put up a red flashing light and used his dog whistle to help fuel an outcry against the school as an educational "Taj Mahal".

My questions for this Tuesday morning is simple: Why aren't we building palaces of learning?  We seem to have no problem asking tax payers to fund the latest billion dollar football stadium that might be used for 10 or 15 years, but bitch when it comes time to build a new school that will be used for the next 50 or more years.

Our politicians like to pay lip service that education of our children is important, yet currently all of the focus is on standardized testing with none of the focus on the environment that our children learn.  Many of schools are not much better than modified prisons, a place to warehouse children, where uniformed policeman patrol the halls and lunch rooms.  Some of these schools were built in the early 20th century with a few updates and modifications along the way, which rather speaks to their longevity as places of learning.

I think it is a major mistake to build schools that are primarily warehouses.  I think we should be building monuments to learning that rival the beauty of the Taj Mahal and many houses of worship.  We should be building schools that utilize the latest technology, that stimulate learning and refocus education on the art of teaching instead of teaching a standardized test.  Our politicians need to stop giving massive tax breaks to the likes of Wal-Mart to build their latest big box store and instead invest those monies tomorrow's schools today.

No longer should a student sit in a classroom with too little natural light.  No longer should a student sit in a classroom where they need to wear a parka because the antique radiator isn't working.  No longer should a student be eating in a lunch room where the food has to be shipped in from Pizza Hut because the kitchen doesn't pass code.

Instead of asking our populace to be voting on hundreds of millions (if not billions) for the latest professional sport stadium, we should be asking them to approve that spending on schools.  We should be asking them to build the next Buckingham Palace, the next Versailles, the next Taj Mahal.  Not for kings and queens to live in, but for our princes and princesses to learn in.  That's right, our students shouldn't be treated as vagabonds, but as royalty and they should be taught in palaces of learning.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it ironic that the Gates Foundation donates around $200 million per year to our schools? That makes a college drop out practically the de facto Secretary of Education. Also, Bill Gates and all of the other "reformers" think that educational success can be measured on a standardized test. It can't.

    You are absolutely correct Phoenix Justice - our educational system needs a multi-billion dollar overhaul. Our schools are not a business and students aren't considered a product, so don't hold your breath waiting for this current administration to do anything more than the last one did.


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