Why Public Education Reform In America Is So Important

We Need A Public Education System That Benefits All, And It Should Take Precedence Over Private Schools

A plea to all congressmen, congresswomen, governors and anyone who could listen — don't worry about offering breaks and funding to various charter schools. Shore up your school districts instead.

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I am the product of the public education system. I will admit that with no ounce of shame and all of my dignity intact. Sure, we deal with the rigors of the system with the subpar lunches, the teachers inundating our backpacks with homework and the innumerable moments where we found ourselves unsure of what was to do next. And yet, it was worth it for many of us.

However, many kids do not have the same access to proper education in many locations. This can extend across many cities (Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit) and many of the big cities have struggled for years.

Many of the brightest students have been sucked into more prestigious, more private institutions inside or outside of their cities, leaving many school districts with poorer results as a result.

We lag behind most major nations in various metrics. The solution? There are many ideas. But there is far more to this issue than meets the eye.

First, let's just establish how dire the situation is and how we are not really poised for much change anytime soon. The United States, for all its blustering about greatness and exceptionalism in the states, ranks 14th out of all education systems in the world. The PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) ranked the United States 38th out of 71 in math and 24th in science.

We are the greatest in the world? Fine, we allure people to attend our institutions — if they are our universities.

These have also suffered and had some very obvious, stark declines over the past decade. Our ability to properly educate our children has not just stagnated, it has ended with many declines across the board. It is alarming.

Now, there have been many previous solutions proposed over the years. One previously advanced was the concept of establishing more private schools outside of the public system, as well as homeschooling to exercise greater local control over students. Needless to say, this is caused by a lot of sentiments from various religious individuals who feel that God has exited the school system due to decisions to remove school mandated prayer and creationism from public schools, as well as not funding private religious schools.

From experience, I learned the world was created in six days and that women were made from the rib of Adam.

How does that benefit our students? To contradict science in such a fashion? To indoctrinate children without giving them the freedom to actually consider what they'd prefer?

There are some other options that have been floated as a result of this objection. One particularly attractive option has always been the idea of having charter schools publicly funded, operating outside of the confines of the public school district, providing students with other schools beyond the public schools. Charter schools, however, have their issues including accountability, program content and their true purpose.

A great example of this is ECOT, a school in Columbus, Ohio.

This school operated for years without any significant oversight from the state. This school took over 180 million taxpayer dollars from the state. And yet, the performances at the school were below average, to say the least. Only 39% of their students graduated in 2014. Now, there was a remarkably high enrollment at this school, which makes their numbers look better. However, this masks the greater issue.

Charter schools are worried about their bottom line and the investment they put into the institution first. That is paramount for them.

What solutions are there? We need to improve so much of our system. Better funding for our schools, better pay for our teachers, making a community that cooperates and coordinates with all educational institutions. We need to work on a lot as a society to reinforce our system. This would even include better funding for supplies, school buildings and cultural changes.

Not suffocating kids with homework and preventing standardized tests from being the main gatekeeper for higher education.

Many kids are being suffocated by this system, and we have suffered a stark decline as a result. From cuts to education, mediocrity being awarded and special interests hijacking the education system, we need an education system that works for everyone — for the kids in the suburbs, the kids in the rural areas and the kids in the big cities.

We need a reboot and a revitalization of our public education system. We have seen it work in nations like China, Finland and many others. It'll take more than funding — a cultural change is in order. With both, we can create a public education system that benefits all students in all places in our great nation.

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Why Nursing School Is Different Than Any Other Major

Because most other majors can't kill someone accidentally by adding wrong.
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College is hard. Between studying for numerous amounts of tests and balancing eating, working out, maintaining a social life, and somehow not breaking your bank account, it’s no wonder a common conversation among students is “how many mental breakdowns did you have this week?” Every major will pose its own challenges; that’s truth. Nursing school, however, is a special kind of tough that only other nursing majors can understand.

SEE ALSO: Quit Bashing Radford University

Nurses are the backbone and unsung hero of healthcare. Their job is to advocate for the patient, collaborate care among all other healthcare team members, carry out physician orders, recognize and report patient progress (or lack thereof), run interference for the patient with any unwanted visitors, research and validate evidence based practice, all while maintaining a certain aurora of confidence for patients and their loved ones that “everything will be okay” and “I’ve got this under control”. If that sounds like a lot; that’s because it is. The majority of skills that we learn that make good nurses cannot actually be taught in theory classes. It’s the hours of actual practice and a certain knack for caring for people- all people- that makes a good nurse great. The countless, unrelenting hours that are spent on the floor in clinical humble us, we know that we’re not great yet, but we’re trying.

Our professors expect us to be humble as well. Nurses do not seek gold stars for their actions, instead the precedence that is set for us to that we “do the right thing because it is the right thing to do”. Most nursing programs grading scales are different. To us, a failing grade isn’t actually getting a 69 or lower, it’s an 80. And that makes sense; no one would want a nurse who only understand 70% of what is happening in the body. We have to understand the normal body response, what happens when things go wrong, why it happens the way it does, and how to properly intervene. We want to learn, it interests us, and we know that the long theory classes and the hard days on the floor are just to make us better. However, any triumph, anytime you do well, whatever small victory that may feel like for you, it just what is supposed to happen- it’s what is expected, and we still have much to learn.

I look back on my decision to take on nursing school, and I often find myself questioning: why? There are so many other majors out there that offer job security, or that help people, or would challenge me just as much. But, when I think of being a nurse- it’s what fulfills me. There’s something that the title holds that makes me feel complete (and that same fact is going to resonate with anyone who wants to love their job). I wouldn’t change the decision I made for anything, I love what I am learning to do and I feel that it’s part of what makes me who I am. The other students who I have met through nursing school are some of the most amazing people I have ever come into contact with, and the professors have helped me understand so much more about myself than I thought possible.

Nursing is treating and understanding the human response. Meaning that it’s not just the disease process, or the action of the medication, or the care that we provide, but that nurses treat the way in which people deal, react, feel, and cope with good news, bad news, terrible procedures, hospital stays and being completely dependent on other people. And the fact of the matter is that all people are different. There is no one magic treatment that will always work for every patient. In addition to course work, the clinical hours, the passion and drive to want to be a nurse, and the difficulty that comes with any medical profession, we have to understand each individual patient, as people and not their illness. And, in order to do that so much self discovery goes on each day to recognize where you are and how you are coping with everything coming your way.

What is taught in nursing school goes far beyond just textbook information or step by step procedures. We have to learn, and quickly, how to help and connect with people on a level which most struggle to accomplish in a lifetime. It's a different kind of instruction, and it either takes place quickly or not at all. The quality of nurse you become depends on it. Nursing school is different, not harder or better than any other school, just different.

SEE ALSO: Stop Putting Down Radford University



Cover Image Credit: stocksnap.io

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Body Image Lessons That I Didn't Learn From A Professor

What I realized about body image my freshman year of college

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Girls usually struggle with self image in general. But the game changes when it's time to go to college. When you are constantly surrounded by your peers, you begin to compare all of the little things they do to you. You compare their bodies to yours. You try to figure out what they are doing that you're not. Or vice versa, why they don't have to do anything to look the way they do. But by the end of my first year, I realized that I would never be happy with myself if I kept thinking this way. So I recorded some realizations I had throughout the year that helped me to improve my body image.

My body is, and never will be the same as any other girl... and that's okay

Different sized and shaped strawberries

https://picjumbo.com/strawberries-with-yellow-background/

It can be so easy in college to compare your body to the girls that surround you. Like the one's live with and you see on a daily basis. There is no point in comparing apples to oranges, so why would you compare your body to a girl who was made completely different? So what you can't fit into her party pants, you can rock another pair just as well.

What works for her, might not work for me

Daily Planner

https://kaboompics.com/photo/9447/planners-organizers-in-bed-women-s-home-office

With different body types, comes different food and exercise needs. Some girls don't need to work out or eat healthy to keep a slim frame. Some girls are naturally muscular. Your routine needs to be catered to you, and there is no need to analyze what someone else eats or does to try to attain their stature. You have to do what feels right for YOUR body to have a good self image.

Don't spend too much time on istagram

https://stocksnap.io/photo/JUC6R3PPLE

Obviously social media effects our body image because of how easily and frequently photos are edited and then presented for the most likes. So if there is a certain account that always makes you feel bad when you see their content, unfollow, and take that aspect out of your life. However, because social media is unavoidable you can't completely escape all the provoking images. So when scrolling, think positively about those who's pictures you see, don't compare, and be aware of the previous lessons.

It's okay for your body to fluctuate

https://pixabay.com/photos/scale-diet-fat-health-tape-weight-403585/

The weight and look of your body can easily fluctuate, It's just natural. And in the same way your life fluctuates, your body may follow along and thats not a big deal! In exam season, there might not be enough time to go to the gym everyday. Or during the holidays there might be an increase of indulgence in treats. But its all okay as long as your getting things done or enjoying life. The only time it becomes an issue if the fluctuations turn unhealthy.

Cut out the negativity

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If a friend is constantly complaining to you about their body, it can trigger distress in you, and set you back. So if someone else's body image issues are interfering with you mentally, you need to call them out on their B.S. or stop allowing them say those things in front of you.

Wear clothes that you feel comfortable in

https://cdn.cliqueinc.com/cache/posts/216319/-2084176-1487185433.700x0c.jpg

If you wear things that you feel comfortable in, then you wont constantly be thinking about how your stomach, legs, or arms look throughout the day. Wear something that you are confident in, even if it means wearing leggings every day of the week!

I'm not a little kid anymore, therefore my body is not going to look like one

https://unsplash.com/photos/sGSBkfK1hJU

Curves and changes that come after high school can take anyone by surprise, but it's supposed to happen. You can't really be mad at biology...you can only find the beauty in it.

Everyone has their own insecurities

https://jimsomerville.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/girl-looking-in-mirror.jpg?w=640

Even if someone has your ideal body, odds are they still despise theirs. I have met friends in college that are stick skinny, yet are self conscious about it. I know curvy girls that are very insecure. And even an "average" body type has a thousand things that they nit-pick about themselves. No one has their dream body and never will, which is why I had to learn to love the little things about mine.

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