A Student View of American Education

This last week I had the opportunity to speak with University of Richmond undergrads who were participating in an alternative spring break looking at education in and around the Richmond Metro Area. I sat on a panel with other educators and answered questions about the “reality” of being in the education system. They had toured a number of schools and spoken to many others on education by the time I was sitting down to speak with them. They were all very interested in the business of education and how educators viewed the state of American schools. One student within this group was a young man from Bulgaria. At one point during the conversation we turned the questions on the group and asked this young man what he thought from what he had observed. His answer was that education was not as bad as he had imagined. When he was listening to others talk about the poor state of American schools his mind went to the actual physical structure of our schools. He expected that the buildings would be falling apart and students would be in schools that would be very old or small. He took notice of the physical resources that he saw within the schools and that the children, in general, had what they needed to learn. Which to him meant a somewhat clean building with a desk and classroom resources. He commented that in Bulgaria sometimes this is not the case because the infrastructure of the schools were not at the same level of that in America.  So, at a time when it seems like all the news is negative about the state of schools I found these students a great reminder of all of the good things in education as well. The students at this panel reminded me of the passion those in education possess and the grit that is required to continue to want the students around you to succeed, even when the environment is not the most ideal.

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