As I try to refurbish a 20-foot car hauler for my Mustang, I am continually confronted with thoughts. So I stop my sand blasting and go make notes.

The older I get, the more I see what is going on at the national level in all facets. I continue to go back to how the American education system has failed this country.

Now I have four of my six children in education. My youngest daughter has taught elementary; my oldest daughter has taught elementary and has a master’s in education. My son, a biologist who always preferred to wrestle the alligators, now does teach at a university and one is a middle school principal. I know they, as well as thousands more teachers, are not the problem — and certainly not our teachers in Floyd County.

More and more, the problem is with teacher unions and federal and state departments of education. Look to Chicago for quality of teachers and their concern for the students.

I must add here that we in Floyd County are very fortunate. We have excellent teachers and administration. We have a teachers union in name only. You will have to look very hard to find a questionable teacher. Our quality is high. Our problem is that we must live by Washington mandates.

Federal and state direction for curriculum is the issue. No more long hours of homework; no more homework on weekends, so you can play or watch sports; no more paddling with a paddle; no more low grades – there must be social promotions and As and Bs for the HOPE Scholarships; no more Civics; no more in depth in World History; no more homeroom praying; no more pocket knives; no more parking your daddy’s old truck in the school parking lot with a shotgun on the back window; no more getting off the school bus to push up a muddy road.

What has happened since the 1960s? Do we still have world dominance in education? Do we lead the world in academics at the university level? Do we socially promote or do we fail students? Do we allow the bringing of canned goods to class so as to up our grade? Has the GRE exam been raised above the 1600 score?

OK, this is not a put down on Floyd County teachers. We have some of these issues but not major. I assure you Floyd County teachers are not Chicago style teachers.

But for this country I believe it does matter. It matters for our children.

Terry Williamson


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