Tuesday, April 23, 2013

We had it good.

You know how I said Kentucky had the worst education system I ever saw? Well, I was wrong. Because I've now been to the DR, and sat in on a class, and read about how their system functions, I know that America is at least doing better than someone.

Though, having only been to one day of classes, I am hesitant to say DR is the worst in the world. I know the parents, faculty, and teachers are fighting against a broken system. Last year, though, major headway was made with the "4%". It has been written in the DR constitution for years that 4% of the GDP was supposed to be spent on education. From what I hear it rarely makes it to 2%. Last year though, the country fought to force the government into using the 4% for education.

What does all of this mean? Do we have it right is the USA? No. Nobody is perfect. Is it perfect in the DR? Also no. This means that as a business volunteer I am going to have to take into account how adults in the DR were conditioned to learn in school. I am going to have to cater my thinking to one of patience and understanding.
I may be working with adults who did make it to the 8th grade, but never learned to read. My challenge won't be explaining how to write a business plan, but explaining how to use a full sentence in that business plan.

Now, I'm not hear to say their education system has failed. The country has admitted to problems and is working to fix them. Also, some very intelligent (wealthier) people have come out of this education system. The issue lies in those without access. The students who are meant to have 4 hours of class a day, but live in areas that don't have enough staff to support that.

I hasten to say we did it right though. If we had it together organizations like Teach for America wouldn't even exist, but for now, I face this challenge. Maybe when I get home I'll look into something else.

Final thought, being here reinforces to me just how important education is in the lives of children. If I have any small ones, I'll pledge here and now to make education a priority in their lives. Hold me to it. (But don't let me go crazy. Kids need fun too.)

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