Thursday, July 7, 2011

ATLANTA CHEATING AND THE FALLACY OF PUBLIC EDUCATION

The cheating scandal in the Atlanta public schools is the tip of an ugly iceberg that is public education in this country.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/shocking-details-of-atlanta-cheating-scandal/2011/07/06/gIQAQPhY2H_blog.html

I lay the blame for our sorry lack of performance as a nation at the feet of teachers’ unions, schools of education nationwide, government interference, and social engineering.  My opinions are not meant to offend, though I know they will.  And it’s not my intent to tar and feather any single group, though I know it will seem so.  And I’m sure there will be those who will produce facts to prove me wrong.  As I have said – these are my opinions – what I have come to believe from my limited experience in the field of education.

First of all, secondary schools and government involvement …. funded by taxpayer dollars and government contributions…. They are the root of our problem.  Schools are rated based on the success or failure of their students.  If the students can’t get into college, the blame is at the feet of the local school teachers.  This is NOT a funding problem – this is a curriculum problem.  At one time, more money was spent per student in the District of Columbia than in any other school district – and the failure/dropout rate was near the top of the charts nationwide.  A Catholic school can take 1/3 of the funding and turn out kids with skills for higher education.  More money does NOT equal success.

The government takes our tax dollars and doles the money out based on a formula that is obscene.  The more kids you have eligible for free/reduced lunch, the more money the school gets.  I personally know people making over $80,000 with two children, both of whom are qualified for reduced lunch.  I’m not debating the benefits of feeding kids in school – that’s for another day.  I am saying – is there a parent who cannot make a PB&J for their child?  This is one of many examples of parents abdicating parental responsibility to government.  But I digress. 

When a school accepts government dollars, they must accept government rules.  What to teach, when to teach it, what NOT to teach, and WHO can teach it.  And how to SCORE what’s been taught.  This is the heart of the problem. 

My parents taught me how to diagram a sentence.  I had never heard of it in school.  It’s fun, and you learn the parts of speech and how to construct a sentence.  I did math drills at home, designed by my parents because my homework assignments were a joke.  I did algebra in my sleep. I got math and science workbooks under the Christmas tree.  I read and gave oral book reports during family time in the evening.  TV was a treat.  I scored 1520 on the SAT.  My time in the classroom all through secondary school was filled with busy work and listening to my teachers try to maintain discipline.  Being an army brat, I knew about discipline.  You were given a task – you did it.  I knew I was in school to learn but my parents knew they had to be proactive and they were.  I was never allowed to take ‘toe art’ classes.  Frankly, public schooling was a waste of time but rather than complete home schooling, my parents wanted me to be exposed to a multi-cultural world and the socialization that comes with it.  And socialization is about all public school is good for.  Very little learning goes on.  Today’s kids are NOT taught to think, they are NOT taught to deal with disappointment (i.e. losing a soccer game), they are NOT taught to spell; they are not taught to write.  The rise in the use of computers has completely eliminated the teaching of English and grammar skills. 

And finally…. Schools of education in the United States are ALWAYS the easiest program to get into.  They accept high school student in the B/C range.  They graduate ‘teachers’ who meet the lowest entrance requirements coming into college.  When you have this, you have the less intelligent of the pool becoming teachers…. and teaching our children, who then become the next generation of less intelligent teachers.

There is a quote from H. L. Mencken:  Those who can -- do. Those who can't -- teach. 

Couple this with the teachers’ unions, who make it damn near impossible to remove bad teachers from school systems and we have the dumbing down of generation after generation. 

UNIONS INSPIRE MEDIOCRITY. 

I would love to know I cannot be fired, no matter how badly I perform my job.  In my opinion, this is criminal and the injustice is borne by the American taxpayer, American students, and American parents.

Schools administer end of year testing….. a total joke and an insult to the intelligence of any parent.  THEY TEACH THE TESTS!  Kids have to ‘pass’ to advance…. The Atlanta cheating scandal is one of many in this nation…. but one that’s come to light.  Schools are rated based on pass-rates.  So teachers teach the tests……. And if the class hasn’t LEARNED…. which in today’s world is common – teachers are forced to manipulate results.  And kids are advanced.  But the next year – the schools have to again manipulate results – YOU CAN’T REGRESS IN YOUR SCORES – OMG – YOU JUST CAN’T‼!  So again, kids’ scores are altered or kids are given ways to cheat…. and the school gets kudos and the kids move on.  This is CRIMINAL!  Any teacher or administrator involved in manipulation of grades and test results should be removed from the education system – PERMANENTLY!  And parents should revolt against school system who is not educating their children.

And before anyone kraps a pie plate…… I am NOT tagging all teachers as incompetent and mediocre.  There are indeed teachers out there who have the intelligence and the desire to teach – and the love of watching students learn.  But they are in the minority.


Not a right wing website.  We are failing as a nation and failing internationally.  This is indeed a wake-up call to all parents. 

You are paying for your children’s education.  What are you getting for your money?  Think back about what YOU learned in school.  Is your child getting the same quality of instruction?  Are they learning the basics to get them ahead in the world?  Or are they learning that Heather Has Two Mommies?  Can they put a condom on a cucumber?  Can they go to the office and get free condoms?  Can they solve a math word problem?  Do they know how to classify an animal by kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species?  Do they know the history of this country – why it was formed and what our founding fathers died for?  Do they know the three branches of government and the responsibilities of each?  Do they know that pi is?  Can they find the square root of a number without a calculator?  Do they know how to locate a book in a library?  Have they ever BEEN in a library?  Can they fill out a job application?

American education is a disgrace and parents should be outraged.  The mess in Atlanta is ugly and it’s going to get uglier.


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