I have gone to both middle and a high school in the Los Angeles area and to this day receive upsetting images as I recall my years in a classroom. In this article I will adress a major problem that must be addressed immediately -public schools.
Dirty, crowded hallways that haven’t seen a mop in months and torn used textbooks with missing pages and writing are what I mostly remember about school. I remember standing in line for hours just to receive a locker that no longer worked. The food in the cafeteria went in tune with the overall pessimistic feel of the school. The food offered consisted of poorly cooked meat in greasy burgers and old even greasier French fries which attracted crowds of hungry teenagers. American Health Association complains about the national problem of obesity, but instead of blaming the fast food industry, they should place their focus closer to home, and address health issues in their back yard.
And then we come to the subject of teachers, for it is them who basically make the difference between a good school and a bad one. To be fair, I have met some great teachers in my journey through life, but I would like to address the problem of bad teachers in this article. There are some teachers out there that have no business being in a classroom, much less be allowed to interact with kids. There are teachers out there that take the important profession of shaping young minds and turn it into another routine job. And the public schools take them all. They will hire those who will sleep on the job or read the paper. They will also hire those having only minimal knowledge of their subject matter. I was always curious about the hiring process in a public school. Who, what high level executive board member gets to decide which teachers will make a difference? And what happens if the students, who should be allowed some say in the matter, do not approve of the newly hired faculty member? In my experience firing an incompetent teacher has proven nearly impossible for the students unless the teacher broke the law. High school and middle school students do not get the privilege to choose their classes and definitely do not get to choose their professor like they would in college, thus having absolutely no control over their education.
Lastly, I would like to mention school bathrooms which have been a major issue with me for a number of years. This is what I remember from high school (only several years ago). Dirty, crowded bathrooms, paper towels swimming in the clogged up sink and the horrifying stench. School bathrooms always come up in any discussion on school only because of how important the issue really is. Once again speaking from personal experience and I am sure many would agree, bathroom is also called a restroom for a reason. Sometimes you want to be comfortable and relax, yet school bathrooms make it hard to be comfortable. And what happens when kids are uncomfortable or disgusted by school bathrooms? They hold it in until they get home, which obviously causes many health problems down the road.
So what do we do now? We have public schools struggling with low resources, we have politicians cutting education budget, while our kids continue to consume nachos in the cafeteria, and continue to read old, torn, and overused textbooks. The question here is what can we do. Couple years ago, the Los Angeles Unified School District declined the invitation to renew their Coca Cola contract, thus eliminating any soda sold anywhere on campus. This has definitely been a major step in the right direction. What do we need now? How about more fresh sandwiches sold on campus, how about more fruit baskets are reasonable prices and how about eliminating hamburgers and French fries and introducing baked potato and quality meat in our sandwiches? How about some vegetarian choices? And moving away from the topic of food, how about we buy some overhead projectors that actually work? How about getting some new dry-erase boards in classrooms and finally upgrading all computers on campus?
Los Angeles schools are a disgrace to the nation, and to our communities specifically. If we want our kids to enjoy school and actually gain something from being in class, and although I learned some valuable lessons from my middle and high school experiences, those lessons are not what you learn from a book.