Greetings old friends, new friends, family and strangers. This journey continues as we are writing you from my home town Lehigh Acres here in Lee County FL, just minutes from Immokalee in Collier County where we were born and attended church for nearly 18 years. We've begun this project #WhenItBreaks in the Summer of 2015. It's been nearly 6 full months now and the New Year is upon us. I'd like to take this time to break down what's been accomplished, what we hope to continue to build with additional insights regarding Special Education reform and what that means for families across the country.
Stage one, this is what I believe. I believe that the concerns of Education, Special Education etc. are felt and carried by millions of Americans. I believe that the area of neglect and poor distribution in funding and staffing as well as the obscene testing contracts and standards put in place exist from Anchorage Alaska to Miami Florida. I believe thousands of Teachers, Parents and Students are making their concerns heard via social media, news stories etc and projects such as #WhenItBreaks in the attempt of changing this pattern of neglect. I believe that in order to CHANGE this system of Education we first must build personal relationships within our community to mentor and help children. This includes K-5, 6-8, 9-12. This includes kids in the urban settings, the rural settings, the rich, the poor and middle class communities. This includes children in honors programs and the exceptional children diagnosed with an intellectual, psychological or physiological disability. Ultimately we have a stronger Education system when we are personally involved in children's lives.
That's the first stage of intervention. WE AS AMERICANS INVEST IN CHANGE BY INVESTING IN OUR CHILDREN ON A PERSONAL LEVEL. That investment begins the RIPPLE EFFECT. That ripple begins the wave of change. That change better meets our children's/student's needs.
Stage two, the Federal and State levels, how do we change their policies? With so many advocates saying we're testing too much, too often etc. So many teachers leaving the profession, so many teachers stating why (testing, scrutiny, poor salaries), it's no secret what the problems are. Then why wont they listen?
It is my opinion that the main reason why policy makers will not listen is because it's just too damn expensive. It's too expensive to create the systems of proper staffing, of smaller ratios, of hands on learning opportunities through out communities, too expensive for sufficient job training, too expensive to raise salaries, too expensive to improve benefits etc. Ultimately they're saying "Greed is greater than the lives of our children."
Soooooo then what? Do we give up? NOOOOO!!!!
We must mathematically advocate with collected data how MUCH MONEY, REVENUE, INCOME is being LOST when we neglect and take a REACTIVE approach to a neglectful education system.
How many young adults are unemployed? How many are incarcerated? How many violent deaths occur from the hands of Americans that have been lost in education? Though this seems so strange to actually ARGUE THE POINT WITH DOLLAR SIGNS, that appears to be the most important factor for those in charge. WE ARE NOT LOOKING AT CHILDREN'S NEEDS, WE ARE LOOKING AT HOW MUCH THEY COST. That being the case we need to fight that structure with the margin of loss that's being created for policies to change. If we can show profitability, savings in State and Federal budgets for the long run, maybe, just maybe they will then see the GREATER VALUE OF CHILDREN PROFITING FROM A SUCCESSFULLY RUN EDUCATION STRUCTURE.
Mathematicians, economists, accountants, statisticians TEACHERS NEED YOUR HELP:) If anyone knows or is aware of such studies already in place PLEASE share and lets get this ball rolling. Share your thoughts, share your criticism etc. We want answers. We want teachers to remain in the profession. WE WANT OUR CHILDREN TO RECEIVE THE BEST EDUCATION POSSIBLE, not what's "good enough" or what's "getting by".
Just some thoughts friends. By no meas do we have all the answers. But we MUST ask the questions in order to fix this problem.
We wish you peace and a happy home gang. All the best as we ring in the New Year. Cheers to you and your families:)
Sincerely - Konrad & Family