Skip to comments.Public School Isn't Like I Remember It
Posted on 02/28/2002 4:32:57 AM PST by Stand Watch Listen
Public schools seem to be obsessed with requiring students to fill out nosy questionnaires. The latest outrage, entitled "How Am I?", asked 55 intrusive questions of New Jersey 7th and 8th graders.
Here are a few of the nosy questions. Have you ever driven a car after drinking alcohol, or ridden with a driver who seemed impaired? Are there guns in your home or the homes of your friends?
Are you engaging in risky sexual behavior (multiple partners, no protection from STDs or unwanted pregnancy)? Do you often think you are stupid, worthless, unlovable?
If you drink, do you drink intending to get drunk? Have you used any kind of drugs? Have you ever made choices while under the influence of drugs or alcohol that you later regretted?
Do you hang around with a crowd that smokes, drinks, or uses drugs? Do you have a parent, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, or uncle who is an alcoholic, is significantly overweight, or developed colon cancer?
The teacher told the students to put their names on the questionnaire and to graph their responses to indicate their levels of risky behavior. The students received a score on the questionnaire to be applied to their class grades.
Whatever happened to our Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and our Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination? Did anyone read these kids their Miranda rights?
No wonder New Jersey just passed a new law requiring the state's public schools to obtain written parental consent before administering surveys requiring students to reveal personal information. Parents should check up and see if their schools are obeying the law.
California public schools seem to be trying to show us how far they have gone to downgrade Christianity. Some schools are teaching an intensive, three-week course in Islam that is not merely history or a course "about" religion; it is behavior modification and role-playing.
Study handouts include a history of Islam and its founder, Mohammed, 25 Islamic terms, 20 proverbs, Islam's Five Pillars of Faith, and 10 key Islamic prophets and disciples. The students are required to wear a robe during class, adopt a Muslim name, and stage their own jihad or holy war in a dice game.
When parents complained and the press discovered this course, the school principal said it "reflects California (educational) standards that meet state requirements." The Houghton-Mifflin textbook, "Across the Centuries," is state approved and used throughout California.
The news media reported that this textbook presents Islam in a positive manner, while mentioning Christianity briefly and negatively. Events such as the Inquisition and Salem witch-hunts are highlighted in bold black type, while no negatives appear in the textbook about Islam's wars, massacres, and cruelties against Christians and other non-Muslims.
The miraculous events leading up to the holy book of Islam, the Koran, are presented as factual. References to the miracles of Christianity are downgraded by disclaimers.
All across the country, the public school policy called Zero Tolerance has become downright ridiculous. In North Carolina, a pre-school called Kids Gym Schoolhouse recently had five points deducted from its high rating because plastic soldiers were found in the play area.
A state evaluator wrote that the figures reflect stereotyping and violence and can be potentially dangerous if children use them to act out violent themes. The owner of the preschool called the evaluation "absurd," saying "it doesn't make any sense at all."
In Irvington, New Jersey, two eight-year-old boys who pointed paper guns at classmates were charged with "making terrorist threats." A judge ultimately dismissed their case, but the incident may remain on court records until the boys are 18.
A seven-year-old first grader in the Edgewood Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas, was banished to an alternative school for troubled students when he was caught bringing a pocket knife to school. For the first three days of his eleven-day punishment, he was the only first grader at a facility among older students guilty of serious offenses.
After graduating last June, a 19-year-old New Jersey student sued his school district because of a three-day suspension he had received in March after being branded a "racist." His offense was wearing a T-shirt from Wal-Mart emblazoned with comedian Jeff Foxworthy's "Top 10 Reasons You Might Be a Redneck Sports Fan."
According to a 2000 study by the Justice Policy Institute, a project of the non-profit Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, zero-tolerance policies have led to a doubling of student suspensions and expulsions since the mid 1970s. I wonder how many of those punishments were based on trying to make boys behave like girls.
* Edna Kleinmeyer who didn't just teach English: She imbued us with a love of language I carry to this day;
* Charlie Kluckholn, the tough old wrestling coach who taught chemistry and gave me some of the best advise I ever heard;
* Charles Huffman, my homeroom teacher who helped me over a very rough spot in my life;
* Franklin Jefferis, a "lowly" shop teacher, whose love of a job well done was wordlessly communicated to his kids in thousands of subtle ways. Mr. Jefferis died soon after I graduated. One October night, I visited him alone -- at the funeral home and wept as I thanked him one last time.
But the current GS are radically different from the system through which I passed 50 years ago. Know that my concern and hostility are NOT directed at those who still TEACH -- really teach, really want the best EDUCATION for the kids, want to prepare them academically for the future.
Those feelings are reserved for SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS who have socialist/collectivist agendas or quietly acquiesce to the agendas imposed on them from above. They know that what is going on is wrong, but say nothing lest they jeopardize their careers. Author Thomas Sowell calls these folks "the anointed." And as the title of his book on the subject, "The Vision of The Anointed," indicates, they HAVE a vision! That it is NOT the PARENTS vision is of no concern to them.
When my kids were still in the GS, my wife and I were quite active. The Principal of their elementary school chose me to represent the school in something called the LSAC (Local School Advisory Committee) program. I attended several meetings held at the County Board of Education headquarters. I came away from the VERY FIRST of those meetings with these impressions:
1. Those folks DID NOT speak English. Through tight little smirks clearly indicative of the low esteem, indeed, contempt, they had for the uninformed and ignorant gaggle of parents arrayed before them, they spoke in buzz words and technobabble code only they comprehended. At one point -- to the visible relief of the other parents -- I stopped one womans presentation and asked for a translation of what she'd said. She was NOT pleased!
2. They DID NOT want parents involved! Cookie sales and PTA? OK. Serious criticism of a course or textbook? Verboten! Your option was private or parochial school. There very little home schooling then.
3. Most of these people MAY have once been educators. They were now bureaucrats guarding their turf.
4. Many of those administrative folks were making over $50K and, though I looked for signs of it, I saw little evidence of anything resembling work. And this was 20 years ago when the average classroom teacher earned less than $25K.
5. There were WAY too many administrators in the GS. It is a perfect opportunity to provide make-work sinecures for anointed members of the educational fraternity. Four years as an Air Force instructor taught me how to spot the signs.
Heres the bottom line: Simply hurling more money into the black hole of the GS WILL NOT WORK. Most of that money will NEVER get to the classroom or into the pockets of DESERVING teachers who actually TEACH. And teach what any sensible human being REGARDLESS of race, faith or ethnicity -- instinctively understands to be correct, morally defensible material.
Bush is right about one thing: We need accountability! Perhaps you recall Clintons asinine plan to send 100,000 PAID Americorps volunteers into the grade schools to TEACH KIDS TO READ. Why hadnt their PREVIOUS teachers OR THEIR PARENTS! -- taught them to perform that rather basic skill???
Think about what you just read as YOUR local government schools continue to raise YOUR property taxes.
Stop Public School at Eighth Grade
Whats the big deal about the new airport security screeners not being required to have a high school education? For years our public schools have not required a high school education to receive a high school diploma. The piece of paper (diploma) means nothing if a useful education doesnt come with it.
A recent article in the Sun-Sentinel (56 percent of ninth-graders dont finish school, Jan. 18) stated what we pretty well all suspected: more than 50 percent of Floridas ninth-graders do not finish high school. We also know that the average high school graduate functions on about an eighth-grade level.
A friend who teaches General Education Development told me it is estimated that 85 out of 100 recent high school graduates could not pass all five parts of the GED examination (English, math, science, social studies and literature) the first time, and some not at all. Its not that the GED is so difficult; its just that one has to be able to read and think to pass the test. Are we getting our moneys worth?
Lets be honest, our public school system, especially at the high school level, has become a baby-sitting institution. To save money, why dont we end a students public tax-supported education at the eighth grade? Thats where most graduates function anyway. Those students who are motivated and able confirmed through fair and reasonable testing should be allowed to continue their education, or study for the GED, at public expense.
The money that we could save by eliminating this expensive baby-sitting service could be used to reduce the class size for kindergarten through eighth grades and hopefully, improve the overall reading, writing and math skills of all our students. I think that those who are motivated (or get motivated) will find the tax-paying public more than willing to finance their high school, college and even graduate school education.
I for one am grateful that our state and national leaders are pushing for more accountability from our schools, teachers and ultimately the students. Frankly, I dont think that we are presently getting our moneys worth. What do you think?
WILLIAM BILL MOORE
Since Floridas education system has been horrendous for the 25 years weve lived here, the current crop of parents were non-educated in the same schools that are turning out semi-illiterates. These parents themselves lack the reading and reasoning skills needed to oversee their childs education; the result is babysitting on a massive scale, with liberal indoctrination thrown in to insure the downward death spiral of public education. A dumbed-down populace is a liberal candy store.
I think running down the street screaming might be appropriate. However, if you have children in school they might (will) be questioned about mom or dad's behavior.
You'd be surprised what happens then......gossip among the teachers. Trouble is some kids have vivid imaginations that spring into use when they can't think of anything interesting to write about, especially if they just watched TV all weekend.
Exactly. I know a fellow who filled out one of these questionaires when he was in high school. (Didn't have 'em when I was in) He told me that most kids made up what they thought would be the "coolest" answers. It was a sort of a contest to see who could say they were doing the most drugs, or their parents were, how many sexual partners they had been with, etc. One would think that the powers that be would recognize this and know that the results were highly tainted. But, one would also think that such questionaires would never be foisted upon school kids. At least not in a free society, anyway.
Launched from the parking lot of John Hardin?