World Class Education for Our Children
Presented by Beth Butler/Creator of the BOCA BETH Program
With the election at hand and both presidential candidates speaking to the issue of education for our young children, this article puts it all in the perspective of providing a solid foundation for our future generations.
Who knows, by the time you read this article many of you have already voted for your candidate via the early voting provisions made in many states. And if that is not the case, most of you have well made up your mind on which presidential candidate you will vote for come Election Day.
As a mom of three school age children and educator of thousands of other children I have listened intently to both candidates speak their mind on providing world class education. My heart races at the thought that one candidate even goes so far as to suggest that early childhood education will become one of his hot buttons should he be elected.
Did you know that during the first five years of life ninety percent of the human brain is developed, meaning the neural pathway connections have been formed by the age of five? I find that an amazing statistic to report to fellow parents and teachers. To realize that all of those board books you share with your infant, all of the songs you sing to your baby, and all of the stories you tell to your preschooler add up to a boost of brain power for your child.
So here we have two United States presidential candidates speaking out about our education system and how they plan to help overhaul it. It is embarrassing that in other countries their children are raised from a very young age knowing not two but sometimes three and four other languages in addition to their native language. There is a standard joke that they tell in European and Latin American countries that goes something like this, What do you call a person who speaks three languages? A trilingual person. What do you call a person who speaks two languages? A bilingual person. What do you call someone who speaks only one language? An American.
The joke is not a reflection on us as parents nor is it a reflection on us as educators. It is a reflection on our system, an obvious slam at the way in which our country has approached education and the public education system. As the parents, as the teachers, we need to stay strong and stay proud in what we do with our children in terms of educating them and preparing them for a future.
The reality of today is that these children need to be better prepared for a global society and economy. It has been obvious that our system has shortchanged us and our children in terms of that strong foundation necessary for successful travels in world that is ever shrinking. Budget cuts have taken away many of the arts in our public schools and money for private school funding seems to be shriveling up across our great nation.
We need a leader, and we need a government under that leader that will take our youth under their wing and lift them up to the standards other countries have set before us. There are reasons why the European, Latin American and other world countries have surpassed us in education. I will not go into that here. Suffice it to say that when it comes to preparing our young children in the area of world languages, the United States of America has let its population down.
As parents and as teachers and as citizens who realize the value of knowing more than just English, it is our duty to stand behind our new leader and help pave the way for a lifetime of language learning for this next generation. Sure, we can kick ourselves in the rear end for not taking our high school Spanish class seriously or for skipping college French class one too many times. As adults we have encountered many occasions in which we wish we knew more than just English. Be it a job promotion you were passed over for because the other candidate was bilingual or trilingual, be it a communication break down between you and the care provider of your child who spoke mainly French or be it a visit to a local store where the clerk knew mainly Spanish, and you longed to have command of just the basic vocabulary of some other language in addition to English.
World class education will come to our children in our lifetime if we take a stand and exercise our right to vote first of all. Secondly we will need to commit to pay higher taxes should it be requested of us in order to support new programs or new teachers to assist in guiding our children into this higher level of language acquisition. And lastly we will need to evaluate our own approach both personally and professionally about how we embrace other people, other cultures and other languages. Our children read us well. They know when we genuinely respect another person. They know when we sincerely like and are on board with a new way of doing things. They read our barometers well do they not?
Allow your child to see a parent, a teacher, a grand parent or a friend who truly stands behind a country where world class education is no longer a catch phrase but a concept that is alive and well and kicking into high gear with a passion for creating a generation of lifetime language learners who will be the very best global citizens ever to walk this great planet.
About the Author: Bilingual consultant, keynote speaker and children’s recording artist Beth Butler is enjoyed on The Education Channel. You can sample the Boca Beth bilingual music and movies for free at http://www.bocabeth.com or call today toll free 1.877.825.2622 to order your fun bilingual products.