Skip to comments.A Bold Way to Save Education in America
Posted on 12/02/2011 5:15:24 AM PST by 1010RD
The American tradition of public education began in one-room school houses when frontier farm families hired dedicated teachers to teach their children.
When I attended public schools in the 1950s, I received an excellent education. American schools were rated the best in the world. Those schools prepared me for Caltech, and Caltech prepared me for a wonderful life in science. I owe my career and accomplishments to the great start I received in the public schools.
Those public schools were locally controlled and locally funded. Teachers and parents worked together on the content of curriculum, student discipline, and all aspects of school life. In addition to being academic institutions, public schools became centers of sports competition, social events, and other aspects of community life.
Unfortunately, our public schools are no longer locally controlled. They are largely controlled by federal and state agencies and special interests empowered by government. Local school boards still meet, but the most important decisions are out of their hands.
As local control diminished, so did the academic quality of our schools. U.S. schools are now rated as among the worst in the developed world. This is more than a tragedy it is child abuse.
When 50 million American children in whose hands the fate of our nation rests receive poor quality elementary academic educations, the future of our country is in serious jeopardy. The federally and state controlled public schools that are ruining our childrens educations should be abolished and replaced by the locally-controlled public schools that served our children so well in the past. No school should be permitted to ruin the life of a single student.
A vast federal bureaucracy and numerous special interest organizations it empowers now stand between our students and our teachers. It should be eliminated. All aspects of a students upbringing are the responsibility of the students parents and any professional whom the parents wish to engage. Together, they should provide the student with the best possible academic opportunities. This effort must not be imperiled by those who use education for their own purposes, rather than for the students best interest.
Americans have responded to the deterioration of their schools by providing more and more tax money, but more money has not worked. Much of the money never reaches the students or the teachers. It funds a literal army of non-teachers, administrators, and federal, state, and local bureaucrats who generally spend their time making life miserable for the teachers and interfering with their efforts to teach.
Tax funding for Oregon schools is now, on average, about $10,000 per student year. Suppose that one of our thousands of great teachers were to be given 30 students, a check for $300,000, and asked to teach those students for nine months. Do you think the teacher would have sufficient resources? (Some schools receive less than the average of $10,000, but even $200,000 would suffice for this example.)
The teacher could rent the best room in town, hire an assistant, raise her own salary, buy everything the students need, fully fund all extracurricular activities, and have money left over. The teacher could, of course, do this more efficiently in a school with other teachers. This single teacher example illustrates, however, that education resources are sufficient if the resources go directly to the classroom.
The local school board would assure that resources do go to the classroom and provide sufficient supervision, which need not cost much. Following World War II, my uncle taught school in Iowa. In addition to teaching a full load of classes, he was given a few dollars extra to be the superintendant of schools.
I have been an educator all my life. Starting with earning a little money for college by tutoring students in high school, I eventually became a faculty member at the University of California at San Diego, teaching chemistry to 300 undergraduates each year and supervising graduate students. Currently, our family business provides curricula, books, and teaching aids to approximately 60,000 home schooled students in the U.S.
In the 1950s when our schools were under local control, there was almost no home schooling in America because there was no need for it. Now, millions of American children are being home schooled because their parents want better educations for them than are provided in the academically inferior schools that are under federal, state, and special interest political control.
Not even nuclear war could abolish American public education. It is an integral part of our way of life. However, American schools must be returned to local control. The federal Department of Education should be closed, and education returned entirely to the states and the people as the Constitution specifies. The states and localities can collect the needed taxes. No increase in overall taxes would be needed.
Local control is close to the parents, where real concern for the student lies. Also, local control places our school districts in competition with each other for academic excellence, so students benefit.
Improvement of our public schools cannot wait. It cannot be neglected in hopes that they will gradually improve over the coming decades. The 50 million children in these schools now will not have a second chance at some future date.
Beyond high school, the U.S. system of private and public universities is also functioning below its potential because of political control. Oregon State University, located in Oregon District 4, serves as an example. This university receives more than $250 million in federal research dollars each year, including approximately $30 million as direct earmark funding from incumbent Congressmen during the last congressional session. By comparison, OSU private funding for research is now less than $6 million.
Is it any surprise, therefore, that in the 2010 election, OSU facilities and personnel were mobilized in favor of the incumbent Congressional candidate in District 4 and against the challenger? OSU courses often contain partisan political content, even science courses with no logical political purpose. OSU has become a very partisan political institution, which can lead to reprehensible injustices to students, as evidenced by my own family.
By contrast, the California Institute of Technology receives only about half of its funds from political sources. The other half is supported by income from Caltechs endowment, which mitigates the effect of outside political influence.
Oregon State University and the University of Oregon (also in Oregon District 4) are very important institutions. Both universities would, however, be much better off if they were not completely dependent upon politicians for their immediate existence. Very large independent endowments should be built for both universities. These could be built with both public and private funds, but then be administered by the universities without political control.
Public education, from first grade to the university levels should be as independent of federal and state political influence as possible.
Homeschool list ping. He’s running for Congress in Oregon’s 4th District.
Oregon ping list, that’s you correct?
How about this?
Besides the FACT that the US K-12 system has become an expensive/costly assembly line, I am sure that the implimentation of ‘teaching to test’ or the fact that unionized teachers and tenure have had absolutely nothing to do with our education system being so fraked huh, Dr. Robinson?
I have college freshman students, year after year, who have no clue how to write a sentence let alone a paragraph and fail miserably at understanding concepts that they should have had or did have in middle or high school. Care to explain that one to me, as well as many of my university collegues throughout the US? =.=
I hope he wins. He understands key points very well. One of the most important points he makes is the following:
“Teachers and parents worked together on the content of curriculum, student discipline, and all aspects of school life. In addition to being academic institutions, public schools became centers of sports competition, social events, and other aspects of community life.”
This is missing to a GREAT extent in our present culture. ONE of the reasons it is missing has to do with the breakdown of the family. And many political activists have been responsible for advocating policies that further damage families.
Of course, we must all share in the blame ... because, as a nation, we began to ignore God and His Wisdom. I am encouraged to see that this economic/political crisis has been a catalyst for several people to realize this...and begin to remedy it....for themselves as individuals AND their families. The family is the most crucial building block for any healthy society. Sound education springs from healthy families.
Well, for decades we’ve known what doesn’t work, but politicians and their political allies keep the system in place because it pays...them.
In Illinois we’ve got teacher ‘certifications’. So someone with a decade of experience in their craft couldn’t teach it to anyone, until they get a teaching certificate. How much more stupid can the system get?
Don't stop there. The STATE department of education should likewise be closed. Return the control of education to local school boards. 99% of the money spent by taxpayers outside of the local school district on state and federal educrats is a complete and total waste.
Excellent! Thanks for the ping.
I tried to get on the Oregon state board to prop the guy, but couldn’t figure it out...
This guy really sounds like the real deal. His ACHIEVEMENTS speak to that as well.
Communist Goals (1963)
Congressional Record—Appendix, pp. A34-A35
17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations. Put the party line in textbooks.
I went to school BEFORE TEACHER UNIONS.
“Both universities would, however, be much better off if they were not completely dependent upon politicians for their immediate existence.”
Don’t think Oregon is completely dependent - they got the Nike guy...
I could tell, from their sucky unis and atrocious b-ball floor.
Dr. Art Robinson has a great homeschooling program and I hope he wins in his bid for Congress. However, his understanding of the history of public education is not correct. By the 1950’s public schools were already seriously compromised along the road to statism by Dewey’s theories. Every school teacher was trained in his methodology and curriculum was planned accordingly. The elites had already decided in the late 19th century to socialize the education system and began their program in teacher training. The fact that not every school district was yet reorganized is not a true reflection of how socialized the education had already become.
In the 50’s the elites had already institutionalized kindergarten with its goal of removing phonetic reading instruction and delaying reading instruction until lst grade. History was being changed to social studies. Memorization of math facts, indeed any facts, was being challenged and limited. Grading of students had already been accomplished so that children were grouped according to age and not ability, as had been done in the one room schoolhouse. High school was also now mandatory in the 50’s whereas in 1900 most students had finished high school level material by the “8th level.” If you doubt that, just skim one of the original McGuffey readers designed for the last class of elementary school. It’s reading on what is now in the 21st century reserved for the advanced classes of high school.
A great book to read on this subject is: JOHN DEWEY AND THE DECLINE OF AMERICAN EDUCATION: HOW THE PATRON SAINT OF SCHOOLS HAS CORRUPTED TEACHING AND LEARNING by Henry T. Edmondson III.
Couldn't agree more. Our school just spent who-knows-how-much on a set of iPads for the kids. Half of them will be broken in 2 years and they'll all be obsolete in 4. Meanwhile, we are on a rationing system for xerox copies and white paper. Does this make ANY sense? Not to me....
>>Is it any surprise, therefore, that in the 2010 election, OSU facilities and personnel were mobilized in favor of the incumbent Congressional candidate in District 4 and against the challenger? OSU courses often contain partisan political content, even science courses with no logical political purpose. OSU has become a very partisan political institution, which can lead to reprehensible injustices to students, as evidenced by my own family.
This is the guy whose three children were expelled from OSU because he ran against Fazio in 2010, correct? The outrage where OSU stole their work and gave credit for it to more favored socialist students?
As local control diminished, so did the academic quality of our schools. U.S. schools are now rated as among the worst in the developed world. This is more than a tragedy - it is child abuse.
It's one of the planks of the Communist Manifesto. It's not an accident that control has shifted away from localities, and to a central agency.
The trick is to have the people think they have control; and for that all that is necessary is create some sort of false or trivial conflict, then declare the people get to choose by voting.
He needs to go study the roots of the government schooling movement in this country (and others). It may have looked nice in the 50s. He may have gotten a good education. But the seed was planted in poisonous ground and even then the motives of the people behind “public” schooling - not the teachers, but the administrators and visionaries - has been incompatible with a traditional conservative American viewpoint.
If the schools next door started producing world class graduates better than what I could do at home I still wouldn’t put my daughter there, because I disagree with institutional Prussian-style schooling.
Of interest to any homeschoolers in OR.
>>Of course, we must all share in the blame ...<<
Nope, I don’t share the blame nor will I take the blame and the sooner that conservatives learn this the better.
The people fighting to get your kids are doing just that, fighting. Tooth and nail. Tons of conservative parents felt wonderfully self-righteous sending their kids to the belly of the beast to fight this. It’s failed.
Others have rationalized sending kids there while singing, not my school. Sorry, you’re wrong. All it takes is one substitute teacher to wreck your kid. While the school apologizes for letting a sub tell your precious little one what “Golden Showers” are, you are cleaning up the pieces of your child’s innocence. Or unteaching the Green movement, anti-Christianity, etc.
Get your kids OUT of public schools. Starve the beast. Those who have put kids through school, please get on the school boards or at least attend the meetings. Help us.
I’m not going to take the blame, but I’ll take the ball. Time to get serious. Public schools are broken and a generation of kids is left by the side of the road while we experiment with fixes.