Escape From Public School Nation

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    I would like to thank Pam Slim from “Escape from Cubicle Nation” for the inspiration for this post. Slim penned her now famous blog post in which she wrote to CEOs, CFOs, and the like, as to why she was fed up with the corporate culture and how it sucked people’s souls from their bodies.

    The intent of this post is going to be in the same vein but will focus on why I left the United States’ public school system. Yes, it could be considered a “rant” of sorts but I’m allowed to do that from time to time. It ain’t all rainbows and unicorns all the time, folks. Just note that this is not a rant on current U.S. public school personnel, as they are doing the best job they can with the resources they are given.

    I will start with the big picture items:

    Now, I’ve been out of the U.S. for four years and I don’t watch much TV but do I even have to mention the situation in Wisconsin? There are many good articles about that and how teacher’s livelihood is being threatened. Please Google “Wisconsin” and “collective bargaining” and see what comes up.

    Those teachers that were protesting should consider going overseas.

    School boards… so, let me get this straight… someone who once sat in a classroom is going to tell me how I should do my job. To the doctors out there, do I diagnose patients for you? To the lawyers, do I tell you how to write legal briefs? To the business people, yes, schools have budgets but our costs affect your children but you are in no position to say that things should be cut.

    Currently, a large recurring problem in the United States education system is the cutting of valuable sports and arts programs. Isn’t getting up in front of people and speaking to a large group of people a very valuable skill (hint: drama)? I know the nation needs engineers but not everybody is a math and science student. Did members of Congress read Daniel Pink’s book called “A Whole New Mind”? Maybe they should. Do members of Congress read anything at all that pertains to ordinary people?

    Basically, it says how jobs like accounting and law, even medical jobs are being outsourced to places like India. So what will emerge is an economy that relies more heavily on the creative people. He gives the example of how Target hired an architecture professor from Princeton to design a $5 toilet brush.

    Reason… people want their everyday, ordinary things to be prettier and the creative types will fill those roles. This pertains to cars, chairs, houses, toasters, cell phones and not just for toilet brush market.

    Considering the disconcerting and rather unsettling state of education in America, how could I possibly be expected to stay – or work – or live – in such a tense and unstable environment? And the fact that my government is seemingly doing very little to change things makes my decision to work in education overseas that much easier for me.

    Not to mention that Greenspan and Bernanke’s fiscal policy flooded the economy with more money, thereby making my small paycheck worth less and less each day.

    Recently, I read an article from “”, about working overseas, in which the author discusses how our ancestors came to America because of opportunity; opportunity for a better life, a more secure life, democracy and so on and so forth. I love this article.

    Ironically, opportunity is the very reason I left the U.S. and synchronously, its public school system.

    What opportunity could that be?

    Well, since you ask… the opportunity for a better life… for ME.

    I chased opportunities. Better opportunities.

    And now for the small picture items…

    At first, I chased the money because I needed to. While working in the U.S. public school system, I had a mountain of student loan debt that was not getting anywhere close to being paid off.

    I admit it… I know now I was foolish for taking out those loans. Like many other hopeful college students, I hoped for a greater salary and increased earnings but that was not the result for me.

    It wasn’t always this way. When I got into the profession after working on Wall St., I had ambitions to make a difference in the hallways, cafeterias, athletic fields and class trips of American schools. But over time, the soul got sucked out of me for a variety of reasons.


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