Education in America is a freaking joke
I need you to sit down and take note
As a teacher I can explain to you firsthand
The foolishness on which I must expand
About the career I’ve chosen
About what’s got me groanin’
Questioning the choices I’ve made
That’s brought me to this day
Where I have to explain
The craziness in which I am daily forced to partake

And I say again,
education in America is a freaking joke
I don’t mean to rain on or take away your hope
I just wanted to give you some insight
To explain to you this plight
About a system that no longer works
About a system plagued with anger, frustration, and hurt

In order to so-called “compete” with other nations
We’ve sacrificed the very essence of education
Because it’s all a sick, twisted game
Where teachers are always the ones left to blame
Teachers are rated on test scores
So now their lesson content has become a bore
Testing is seen as the only way to understand
The brilliance inside of a boy or girl’s head
The kids don’t respond because they know it’s no longer about them
The system’s not set up for them to win                                                                                                                                                     It serves to just further divide
A nation that seems set to commit suicide
No child left behind
Has left most of them struggling to find
A place where they belong, to fit in
A place where they, too, can feel like they can win

And what about the parents
Why isn’t this problem apparent
That their lack of participation
Only adds to the devastation
Why do they get to sit back with fingers pointed
And not realize how much they contribute to this disjointed
And broken system that makes no sense
How long will this insanity persist?

Come on America
When will we get it right?
When we will we stand up and fight?
We need to make the classroom a place
Where children have the chance to be great
To see what makes them special and unique
Without constant fear of a harsh and judgmental critique
Let’s teach them the lessons and values that they really need
Now just how to pick between answer choices A ,B ,C, and D
Help them to discover the talents they possess
Show them how to turn that into success
Help them to compete with themselves
Not just constantly compare them to someone else
Give the teachers creative freedom
And trust that they have enough wisdom
To guide their students to the next level
Without the stupid tools you use to measure
How “effective” they are when do what they do
And by the way,
Why don’t you let them do what you hired them to do?

None of us got in this to teach kids how to test
We got into it to make our students the best
Versions of themselves they can possibly be
Showing them all that they can possibly achieve
If someone would just believe
In them and inspire them to dream
Not just worry whether they’re a level 1, 2, or 3.
Give teachers back the control
Sit back and just watch what will unfold
The knowledge that will be shared
Kids who will know that there’s someone who cares
Laughter and discussion, giving and taking
Future leaders and thinkers we will be making.

I pray that one day I will wake up from this nightmare
Before I’ve decided that it’s more than I can bare
Before I give up like so many before me
Before I decide that teaching isn’t my destiny
I’m gripping as hard as I can to this hope
Don’t want to give up, don’t want to have to go
No longer do I want to feel like it’s so,
That education in America
is just
a freaking joke.

Michelle D. Robinson
December 19, 2017

Click here to see me read the poem aloud.

1 comment on “Education in America is a Freaking Joke (poem)”

  1. WOW! Tell us how you really feel!
    Parent, admin, and the district just don’t get it. But, there are those hardworking parents and administrators like your Mrs. Williams across the street from Silver Lakes. I pray that we as a nation will wake up and hold all stake holders responsible for the education of our children and not just the teacher before all the good teachers burn-out and leave the field. Hang in there!

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