Skip to comments.The Truth About Education?? You Canít Handle The Truth
Posted on 02/29/2012 1:09:37 PM PST by BruceDeitrickPrice
Our Education Establishment, in plain sight, is doing a second-rate job. Who, we should ask, is in charge of this train wreck, and what motivates them?
First, lets add up the evidence. The fifty million functional illiterates. The one million dyslexics. The poor performance against international competition, despite our huge budgets. The ignorance of average Americans about basic geographical, historical, and scientific information. SAT scores slide; kids cannot multiply and divide; students reach college not knowing what six times seven is. About 65% of the children in fourth and eighth grades are reading at a level below proficient, that is, they are in some sense illiterate.
Thats a dismal record. In any other field, the people in charge would be fired, disqualified, disbarred, drummed out of office, or indicted.
In 1953, Professor Arthur Bestor wrote a book called Educational Wastelands -- the Retreat From Learning in Our Public Schools. Our educrats have been doing a lousy job for more than 60 years--thats well chronicled. Explaining why they persist in doing a bad job is the hard part.
You can play all the evidence back and forth in your mind for a year; I predict you will finally come down to four possible explanations. All unpleasant to contemplate. But lets try.
First, these people are less than competent. Education is not a field known for recruiting brainiacs, not since 1950. Now it seems to be an intellectual backwater. The main recurrent image is a large school of slow fish drifting from fad to fad.
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Third, we are always told to follow the money. In this case its important to note that ordinary minds can make an excellent living in education. They have titles, credentials, prestige. All they need do is agree with their superiors.
Fourth, they are subversives deliberately trying to undermine our society. Recall that in the 1930s, John Dewey and his progressive educators announced that public schools must be transformed, so the country could be transformed. Thats code for creating a socialist country, no matter how few people want it.
Which of the four explanations is best? Well, humans are usually driven by a messy mix of motives. When we are talking about the lower and middle levels of the Education Establishment, I can imagine those people being propelled by all four motivations.
However, as we consider the top level of the Education Establishment, the smartest people, dont we have to assume much greater awareness? There is so much obvious decay, so much intellectual decline, so many dreadful statistics. Surely, the top-tier people have to know exactly what theyre doing and why.
One distinctive thing about the field of education is that the elite people rarely confess or write tell-all memoirs. Further, the media dont do much investigative journalism. You almost never see, in a newspaper, any in-depth analysis explaining educational failure. So we have to use our intuition and solve this mystery as best we can. If my deductions arent correct, the Washington Post should put Woodward and Bernstein on the case, thereby returning to their glory days. If they can still find their way back.
I tend to suspect the top people cant be driven primarily by incompetence, love of theory, or money. Doesnt there have to be ideological commitment? Remember, millions of kids are being damaged, year after year, decade after decade. This is no job for weekend warriors. You have to be a hardcore change agent. Recall that these elite educators embraced Whole Word in 1931; in 1955, Flesch explained why it didnt work. But here we are 50 years later and the schools are still churning out millions of citizens who cant read. Dwell on that. These education commissars decided to keep pushing a clunker no matter what. How many people have that kind of will and discipline?
So Im seeing, at least at the pinnacle, a small group of dedicated fanatics. Perhaps, as we look at the entire field of education, there are only five or ten people who actually know what is going on and make the big decisions. Maybe at the top there is only one guy who really knows.
Maybe the question we should be asking about the Education Establishment is precisely this: who is the person actually pulling the strings? Who is Jabba the Hutt? He, as you may remember from Star Wars, is an intergalactic crime lord and all-around bad boy. Of course, thats just my personal image of a guy who could deliberately create millions of functional illiterates.
Now, many foolish state legislators have accepted Obamas bribes to sign on to Common Core Curriculum. All this means is that Jabba the Hutt and his crew will have more power than ever, if thats possible.
Each of these top professors has mentored one or two dozen Ph.D. candidates. I imagine the top guys putting the word out to their loyal lieutenants, and they to theirs. The word could be passed down through a phone tree in an hour. Message: support Plan X. And the next thing you know, Plan X flows out into all the schools. Because Jabba the Hutt said so.
So I suspect serious scheming at the top, perhaps overseen by a godfather or two. Malfeasance and conspiracy are the perennial themes. Otherwise, the relentless tide of bad stats that we see could never have been achieved.
Is this too harsh a vision? Well, when people are incompetent for so long, its altogether fitting and proper to harbor dark thoughts about them.
Heres more bad news. Even as the public is generally cowed and confused, the groups and forces that should be protecting the society are passive. Remarkably, business and the military now, like the media and academia before them, dont seem to try very hard. A phenomenon that strikes me as more and more alarming.
What is the way out? Mainly, we shouldnt listen to the people presiding over our educational decline. Lets oppose them or at the least ignore them.
Meanwhile, lets learn from what the best in the field do. Every city has three reservoirs of educational knowledge: people in charge of the good private schools; managers of the best parochial schools; and homeschoolng parents (these people have to teach all day; my impression is that they wont waste time on methods that dont work).
So my goal here is to drive a wedge between ordinary citizens, and the ideologues who are mismanaging public education. Ignore the latter. Copy only what the best schools do.
Lets create public schools that will take each child as far as each one can go. Skip the indoctrination. Stop the busy-work. Put the education back in education. Itll be a beautiful thing. CODA: Its very important that VIPs in every town become involved in the Education Wars. I created a short video on YouTube titled Are you a community leader? Do you want to help local schools? Its aimed at business execs, doctors, lawyers, stock brokers, real estate moguls, all the people who need to step up. [youtube.com/watch?v=WWQUHRAMFbQ ]
--------------------------------------------------------- Bruce Deitrick Price is an author, artist, and education reformer. He founded Improve-Education.org in 2005.
Wrong. The entire public school structure in America needs to be razed and the ground sown with salt so it can never return.
Second-rate? It’s not even THAT good!
My niece is more concerned with her newest app. I keep telling her that friends and apps are great, but at the end of the day they aren’t going to pay your bills.
Education <> Intelligence
I went to a rural public school but was lucky enough to have teachers who were there out of a love for teaching. It made a big difference.
“Fourth, they are subversives deliberately trying to undermine our society. Recall that in the 1930s, John Dewey and his progressive educators announced that public schools must be transformed, so the country could be transformed. Thats code for creating a socialist country, no matter how few people want it.”
IMHO I think they are succeeding with their agenda better than anyone could have imagined! The low scores are proof.
The truth is to educate we have to segregate, mainly segregate those showing academic potential from those that... have other talents. It would also help to segregate boys and girls. But then we wouldn’t have equally poor outcomes. No fair!
Busy parents are often unable to tell if their child has developed a reading problem, especially if teachers reassure them that Johnny is doing fine (does she even know?).
So here are the symptoms.
1. He guesses constantly. He confuses a and the.
2. He can usually sound out the first letter and the last letter but the middle of the word is a mystery.
3. He looks at the pictures first and does a lot of his guesswork based on the pictures.
4. A word list to memorize appears in his homework, sometimes with instructions for him to call out the words as quickly as possible. (Speed is stressed rather than accuracy.)
5. If little books come home for him to read, they contain a high volume of irregular words that are difficult to sound out. (Phonetic readers have very few irregular words.)
6. If you suspect your child is failing to learn to read, research the Internet and find a compatible phonics program to help you teach him. Or hire someone to tutor him. Reading is the most important thing he will ever learn in school and his future depends on it.
The nazis and their like minded predecessors did the same and ended up with a little gestapo agent in every home.
In 2010, Barack Obama called for fixing the public education system by giving us the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and Race to the Top,
which he said would fix the education system already fixed by the 2001 GW Bush and Ted Kennedy legislation called No Child Left Behind,
which was supposed to fix a system supposedly already fixed by a 1994 piece of federal legislation called Goals 2000,
which was supposed to fix a system already fixed by America 2000,
which was a 1991 response during the Bush administration to a 1983 federal report on education called A Nation at Risk,
which was published a full four years after Jimmy Carter first fixed the nations public school system by establishing a cabinet-level Department of Education in 1979.
This is key. Those who control the unions control education. Any teacher the union likes cannot be gotten rid of. Any teacher the union dislikes will not be retained. Any teacher who does not follow the party line will not be liked by the union.
The first step is to eliminate the teachers unions. Wisconsin has done a good deal to accomplish this.
Another step is to eliminate the Federal Dept of Education.
People in my area who are my age remember Mr Goodman who came to all the elementary schools and told bible stories.
Second rate?! That good, huh? /sarc
Public Schools are Teaching What???
A short clip from Bradlee Deans documentary called, My War, about what is really going on in the public school system.
It’s funny because it’s true.
When you read some of the tripe on the NEA website, you get confirmation that this is very pervasive in the system. They even have Rules for Radicals on their recommended reading list.
Good suggestions. Thank you.
You cannot blame the 1 million dyslexics on the education industry. Dyslexia is born, not created. Three of my four children are dyslexic to varying degrees (the most academically successful child being the most dyslexic one) ... and it’s not the school’s fault ... it’s mine. I gave it to them. I have it too.
“However, as we consider the top level of the Education Establishment, the smartest people, dont we have to assume much greater awareness? There is so much obvious decay, so much intellectual decline, so many dreadful statistics. Surely, the top-tier people have to know exactly what theyre doing and why.”
Educational policy is actually not set by people in education, for the most part. It is set partially by politicians and lawyers, and the other part by people who have meaningless desk jobs where they do not have any contact with students. It is often based on research some of these people did as grad students or as their dissertation. That research is mostly verbiage either based on surveys which students do not take seriously or rubbish that name-drops some behavioral theorist forty-six times a paragraph.
As far as Common Core, I say the hell with it. Each state should decide what they intend regarding education- preferably by allowing it to be handled at the local level, as Newt Gingrich said.
An excellent video. I recommend it.
Thanks to everyone for the many smart comments.
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