Friday, August 17, 2012

Government Institutions

I never liked school.  In fact, I hated it.  I hated the cinderblock walls and the anesthetic flickering fluorescent lights.  I resented being controlled by bells, marched and herded and prodded, scolded and knuckled by stern-faced old women with harsh, pack-a-day voices.

I thank God my kids do not hate it as much as I did, and I only write this with the confidence that nobody in my family reads this blog.

My new favoritest writer, Rhonda Robinson scores another hit with her funny and true article, Five Ways Public Schools Prepare Us For Prison Life

Here is her list:

Lesson #5. Intimidation and Violence Make You Important
Lesson #4 Powerful Cliques Rule
Lesson #3: Violent Insurrection Is the Only Agent for Change
Lesson #2: Only the Government Can Keep You Safe
Lesson #1 Accept Your Sentence


Public schools are progressive institutions from a progressive era, designed to hammer us all into good little servants of the state. It's time to tear down the Bastille and build a 21st century model.

And this is not an attack on teachers.  Almost every one I've interacted with outside the school environment agrees with me.  They hate the system.   It is sclerotic, over-bureaucratized and hostile to real innovation.  

If we want to compete in the 21st Century, we need to fire the army of desk-sitting, money-sucking educrats, decommission the department of education and let the entrepreneurial young teachers take over.

53 comments:

jez said...

I don't know about the particular systemic problems in American schools, but here are my conclusions about schools in general: in every school there are only 2 or 3 worthwhile teachers. Most teachers will annoy you, waste your time, maybe actually harm you.

The trick is to concentrate on the 2 or 3 who can help you, inspire you and prepare you for life, while keeping out of the others' ways.

The problem is, every child at a given school would nominate a different 2 or 3 teachers.

Always On Watch said...

I left teaching in the public system back in 1977, when I was ordered to pass the star football player -- never mind his dismal average AND his cutting the midterm exam. I refused to pass him. I knew the consequences -- I would be riffed (reduction in force).

I may not earn much by working with groups of homeschoolers, but my conscience is clear.

Bunkerville said...

Sadly, I can recall about two decent teachers that were memorable. Unless one is fortunate enough to be raised in a family that values education, one is more than likely doomed to failure.

conservativesonfire said...

The education ththe children of elites get is so very, very different from what the children who attend public schools get. The elites want it that way. The children of elites are prepared to be the leaders of tommorow. The public schools prepare their students to be followers. It irritates the wjen a commoner succeeds in spite of the public school system.

Yamba de pukin honeyant, bruz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yamba de pukin honeyant, bruz said...

Well, welcome to the new America, to the ignorant Left’s post-racial America.
Where the gullible Black Liberals thought that electing a black president would make them happier than a Michael Vick pound pup, but instead most are now madder than Whoopi Goldberg’s blind date.

In an America where black achievement can be seen and heard everywhere, Just look at how far people like Jeremy Wright, Cornel West, Emanuel Cleaver, and King Samir Shabazz have come. People that you hadn’t even heard of pre-Barack Obama days. Andre Carson and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus are crying foul, saying that the Tea Party wants to take America back to the ‘60’s. Don’t believe your lying eyes showcasing black achievement all over America, because black people are being oppressed. By the Tea Party who wants black people “hanging from trees.” Just ask the fools like Whoopi Goldberg, or Danny Glover, or Spike Lee, and Morgan Freeman.
When the radical left hates the president and throw out all kinds of claims at his policies it’s just fine and dandy. But when the rights hates a president because of his radical policies, then he’s automatically branded a RACIST!

Steve said...

It's quite obvious you hated education.
Fire the teachers!
Eliminate education!
That is the cry of an uneducated man.

Jack Camwell said...

Silver,
Public schools today are nothing like they were when you went to school, and I actually think that's part of the problem.

My education experience is different from most people's because my mom scraped and worked her ass off to send me and my 2 brothers to Catholic school for all 12 years of our education.

We had to wear uniforms (once in high school we had to conform to a dress code rather than a uniform), and the rules were pretty strict. Yes, it was restrictive. Yes we always felt that little flame of rebellion in us, but ultimately it was a GOOD thing.

It is precisely that structure that helped my brothers and me to gain a good sense of discipline. My middle brother is a bit of a dumbass, but that's just because he's naturally dumb, but my youngest brother is in his last year in college. He does quite well for himself.

The difference between public and private education is expectations: my mom expected us to do our best to excel because she was paying for it. Another difference is in the style of teaching and the content. Catholic schools, at least here in Columbus, focus on a classical curriculum and teaching style.

I've said this before, that many public high schools have little posters that say "Here are the advantages to geting your high school diploma." The question is: why should you not drop out? In a Catholic school, the question from day 1--I'm talking 1st grade--is not whether or not you will graduate highschool, because that is a given. The question is "what college will you go to and what will you study?"

It's all about expectations, and until we raise the expectations placed upon our kids, no amount of restructuring will do any bit of good. I've said many times before that American education is failing primarily because of a cultural problem. The current system we have is so screwed and ridiculous because they're trying to counter-act the cultural problem.

If you have a leaky faucet, you don't go get draino to make sure the sink is unclogged. You fix the leak.

Mustang said...

First of all, who said anything about competing in the 21st Century? Secondly, many of our government institutions are doing a fine job. For instance, were it not for our prisons, there would be far fewer converts to Islam and recidivism would be just another useless word. Were it not for our taxpayer-funded universities, dyed-in-the wool communist professors would have nowhere to go in the morning. And finally, we should thank our public schools for introducing our children to homosexual lifestyles, drugs, teenaged sex, and revisionist history. I’m just thankful that none of our children can read, write, or do simple math … what a disaster that would be!

Ducky's here said...

I enjoyed school. I had good and bad teachers and learned from all of them.

English teachers were the worst for some reason. It seems they hated literature. Remember my junior year in High School when the English teacher (and football coach) went off on William Carlos Williams' Red Wheelbarrow. Convinced me to go out and find real literature because these folks weren't very good guides.

But I remember a great ancient history teacher. Very good art and mathematics teachers. I was poor at languages but I still managed to gain something from French class thanks to a good teacher.

College was fantastic. I have no complaints. Other then a few real dipsticks the failures were mine.

Always On Watch said...

Duck,
I had pretty much the same experience in education.

Shaw Kenawe said...
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Shaw Kenawe said...

Same deal with me, Ducky.

I actually liked school and enjoyed most of the courses I took there and while at college.

I remember two different English teachers: one in junior high and one in high school with two different methods of teaching Shakespeare:

The junior high teacher sat on the edge of his desk and, while reading from Romeo and Juliet, looked up now and then to tell some wiseacre to "SHUT UP! AND SIDDOWN!" in between some of Shakespeare's most poignant verses.

The high school English teacher let us students read the various parts in Macbeth. That made the story come alive; we couldn't wait to see how the drama played out. Hamlet was even better.

Will's been a life-long favorite.

BTW, education should be ongoing all through one's life. It should never stop after earning a degree.

Jersey McJones said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
viburnum said...

Ducky: "I enjoyed school. I had good and bad teachers and learned from all of them.

Same here. I liked English though. Sophomore year of high school was a blast because the English teacher skipped over the de rigeur Dickens or what ever it was, and had us read Claude Brown's Manchild in the Promised Land. Pretty bold move for the time. Got her butt in a sling with the school board, and sparked student walkouts in support.

Those were the days ! LOL

Hack said...

Steve, Silverfiddle said absolutely nothing about firing teachers or eliminating education. Most of the liberals who comment on these threads regularly, such as Shaw and Ducky, I usually disagree with, but at least they are informed. You are just a complete idiot.

viburnum said...

Steve: "It's quite obvious you hated education.
Fire the teachers!
Eliminate education!
That is the cry of an uneducated man."

It's quite obvious you weren't paying attention.
Commit Hasty Generalizations
Ignite straw men!
Post ad hominem attacks!
That is the cry of a man educated beyond his capacity!!!

FreeThinke said...

"we need to fire the army of desk-sitting, money-sucking educrats, decommission the department of education and let the entrepreneurial young teachers take over."

What do you think of the idea of paying all this dangerous deadwood a generous salary equal to their present level of over-compensation in exchange for their promise to STAY HIME and BUTT OUT of public affairs?

At present thy are not only WASTING our money, they are DESTROYING US with their cockamamie POLICIES.

~ FreeThinke

viburnum said...

JMJ: "What the fuck is a "entrepreneurial young teacher"???"

The kind who believe they should be paid for results not for warming the chair in the front of the room

jez said...

"entrepreneurial" has become a synonym for "good".

viburnum said...

jez: "entrepreneurial" has become a synonym for "good".

And for "evil" as well on this side of the pond. Depends on who's campaign they're funding.

Silverfiddle said...

Jersey: I've spoken with many teachers who have good ideas, but they don't fit the master plan.

And clean it up. I'm tired you grubby red vulgarians coming in here and slinging the F-word around

Ducky's here said...

viburnum, I assume you measure teacher achievement strictly through standardized testing, correct?
There haven't been any problems with that method.

And we have a large number of chartered schools in operation. When do we see these "entrepreneurial"(LMAO) innovations. Other than longer hours and self selection of students what have they produced?

Now go give Michelle Rhee a big kiss.

viburnum said...

Yes, I'd measure teacher performance by student achievement, and the three R's damn well ought to come first.

"Why Johnny Can't Read" was published when both of us were still in diapers. Has education in this country gotten better or worse since then?

Ducky's here said...

Can we really say that faced with a lot of kids that don't see any future in school, parent(s?) who isn't involved and doesn't have a book at home that teachers are the point of failure?

I believe that the desire here is to privatize what is worth privatizing in public education and let the rest wither. The right, whether the realize it or not, is once again supporting profit over public good.

FreeThinke said...

If bullshit were electricity, Canardo would be a powerhouse.

~ FreeThinke

Ducky's here said...

"Why Johnny Can't Read" was a freaking hack job.

Try Jeanne Chall's "Learning to Read: The Great Debate". She uses solid research and only slightly favors phonics over whole world.
The reasons that students don't develop as readers have a lot more to do with the growing visual culture than the instruction method which has been found to be relatively neutral if the teacher is familiar with it and accepts it.

I'm not sure if Rudolph Flesch was a Randoid but his unsupported theories about phonics were a favorite hobby horse of the witch.

Ducky's here said...

Nice ad hominem, Freethinker.

Got anything substantive.

viburnum said...

The desire is to educate children. If the system is failing them why preserve it? Attach the money to the kid instead of the buildings and let competition do a better job. What public good is coming out of schools with 15% dropout rates and many "graduates" who are functionally illiterate?

viburnum said...

My mention of 'Johnny' was not an endorsement, but to illustrate how long we've recognized there was a problem and how little we've done to fix it.

Ducky's here said...

Why do you assume that the schools which are receiving no support in poor neighborhoods and do an excellent job in most cases can solve this issue on their own?

Natsuo (夏男) said...

I'm always happy when I get students who were either home schooled or went to a private school. Those students make up the bulk of my students who can actually construct a coherent sentence, think logically, and read at an adult level. The kids coming out of public high schools are typically skilled only in emoting and texting during class.

My 8th grader (charter school) sat in on one of my classes this summer and couldn't help laughing at how dumb some of the students were. (And this is at a large Pac-12 R1 university.)

viburnum said...

Because they'd be cut free of the system that is depriving them of support and let them do it for themselves.

What kind of education could you buy for the average kid in Boston for the 18K + a year they're spending?

Kid said...

Schools need to be subject to local funding, scrutiny, and accountability.

Teachers need to be well paid and non-union and accountable to their community, primarily parents.

The rest takes care of itself according to the principles of capitalism. If the school does a good job, the community grows and the school continues to get excellent funding. Go the other way and families move to where the good school are and the failures fail.

Teachers try teaching democrat love (or republican love) and they hopefully get the boot from the local parent-teacher groups who would be empowered to make school decisions.

Though I do believe schools should be patriotic. We're not the greatest country (or were) because of some randomness.

Parochial schools can exist like they do now and parents are free choose those communities and schools like they are now.

Problem solved.

Dept of Ed ceases to exist.

Mustang said...

I agree with Kid.

State Boards of Education are bastions of mind-numbing progressivism; the only thing worse than this is the Department of Education in Washington, DC. And these people are a patently dishonest group. Imagine spending upwards of $30 million annually to test students on their knowledge, making sure that a gerbil could pass the test … and then at the conclusion, when the SBOE doesn’t like the fact that there are too many failures, they make adjustments to psychometric data so that failed students pass and parents are made to feel good about how Johnny is on his way to becoming a scholar. It is a very expensive sham.

At the local level, teachers are teaching students how to answer questions on the state mandated tests; they are not teaching their students how to reason, apply what they know, or analyze information. Our conclusion must be that we need to start over with public education. I think every school should be a private institution; get government out of the education business because they aren’t qualified to be there. Next, work on the mind set among teachers who have the highest turnover rate of all professionals. There is a reason for this. In reality, teachers are little more than day care attendants for kids who ought to be in reform school. They demand high salaries, but insist that no one should hold them accountable. It is hard to find fault with this when half of their class population give care less about their academic subjects. These kids will not read, will not turn in their homework, cannot pass a test … and school officials cover for them because if they don’t, they will lose their administrative jobs. This is particularly true for star athletes beginning in middle school.

There are some students who deserve the post-secondary collegiate track; we should vector most to vocational training so that when they become adults, they actually have income earning skills. How do we determine this? Test all children at the end of middle school for intelligence, aptitude, and interest. Based on this data, school officials then work with parents and students to establish an educational pathway. Make sure that nothing is ever set in concrete —kids can always change their minds. Even vocational students, once graduated from high school, can attend university. Why force a child to read the Iliad, when they would much rather be reading an electronic blueprint?

Kid said...

ustang, Thanks. And/or let's look at it this way. The federal Dept of Ed is 30+ years old and education has gotten exponentially worse and more expensive since it was initiated.

When do libtards realize that something is a failure and try something else. Answer: Never. They double, triple, and quadruple down on stupid and their only idea to solve the problem they created is to throw more money at it and put thieves in charge until there ain't no more money left.

That's what we've been doing in America in earnest the last 3.5 years. Pedal to the metal. Maximum spending for negative results. It can't continue another 4 years. It's down to simple math now.

J.O.B. said...

We can not hold teachers accountable for what these kids do once they leave the home.
I went to both Catholic and public High Schools.
I send my daughter to Catholic school. I do not think that she'll get a better 3rd grade education than at a public school.
But if a parent pays $4800 a year for school, on top of their property tax funded public school, guess what. That parent will pay attention to their child's development.

J.O.B. said...

Meant to say, We can not hold teachers accountable for what these kids do once they leave school.

Another thought. At my Daughter's school, along with other Catholic schools in Chicago, you have to book time slots for parent/teacher conferences. I have two friends who teach in public schools. One of them is lucky if she sees parent(s) of five kids in three hours.
The other? 4
Parental involvement is key, let us never forget that these people are teachers. NOT babysitters.

Always On Watch said...

Mustang said: At the local level, teachers are teaching students how to answer questions on the state mandated tests; they are not teaching their students how to reason, apply what they know, or analyze information.

I rarely test my literature students, and they are not required to take the state-mandated tests although they usually do have to take an achievement test of some kind to make sure that students aren't being unschooled. Students tell me that these tests are a joke -- no challenge, way too easy.

My students do a lot of writing, revising, rewriting, and engage in a lot of classroom discussion. And the questions we discuss are rarely questions about plot; rather, they are open-ended questions about character, motivation, outcomes, etc. Sometimes I just sit back and let the fur fly! I will say, however, that the so-called discussion questions provided in the teacher's manual are pathetic; therefore, I come up with my own questions much of the time.

I frequently test my grammar and foreign language students. Both grammar and foreign language require memorization, of course. But the thrust of those courses is what is today called "critical thinking."

I also teach SAT Verbal Prep, which is all about working the test. What a scam the SAT's have become! Sheesh. If you don't believe me, take an SAT; there are free sample questions online.

Always On Watch said...

BTW, homeschooling class such as I teach are the ultimate in local control. If I can't show to the parents that I can "do more" than they, they bail on the courses. This method promotes real education.

Always On Watch said...

Kid,
I have 100% turnout for back to school night when I taught in private schools. Barely 10% when I taught in public schools back in 1973-1977.

FreeThinke said...

"The education ththe children of elites get is so very, very different from what the children who attend public schools get. The elites want it that way. The children of elites are prepared to be the leaders of tommorow. The public schools prepare their students to be followers. It irritates the wjen a commoner succeeds in spite of the public school system."

I'm sorry, COF, but that sounds like the sort of envious, resentful attitude normally cultivated and promoted by liberals, who are forever addicted to agitating for change and lobbying to get things fixed that are not in fact broken.

I admit to being out of touch with the field of education. I got out of teaching in the mid-nineteen-seventies, but I have eyes and ears, and what they tell me about the decline in standards -- really the dissolution of standards -- all across the board is depressing at best.

Elementary education should devote itself to teaching "The Three R's" and an OBJECTIVE study of World history that brings about an ADMIRING awareness of the POSITIVE aspects of what the ancient Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Greeks, the Romans accomplished, the roots and development of what-ultimately-became Europe and Britain, the Age of Exploration, Conquest and Colonization, and American history emphasizing a good working knowledge of the leading lights of the Colonial Period and what they stood for, the Declaration of Independence, the Revolution, the Constitution, and the Civil War.

We covered ALL of that when I was in a very good PUBLIC Elementary School back in the 1940's and early '50's. It was presented in such an intriguing, entertaining fashion as to capture our imagination and make us want to learn more.

I LOVED school. It was exciting, enlivening, and encouraging.

But that was before politically-motivated, liberal Agendamania took over and started to fill young minds with horse shit.

We had it. We lost it. We may never regain it.

Progressivism has wrought havoc on Civilization.

~ FreeThinke

Z said...

FT "But that was before politically-motivated, liberal Agendamania took over and started to fill young minds with horse shit."

And that was also before liberals convinced parents that their children needed to EXPRESS THEMSELVES no matter what, that ESTEEM is the most important thing and who are those teachers to tell their precious child to SIT DOWN?. We were told our teacher was the authority figure and, brother, we took him or her as an authority person.
And yes, some teachers have sex with their kids (let me just head the libs here off at the pass...we GET THAT) but most don't. And the good teachers are leaving because they don't want to have to tell a bunch of kids in pajamas and slippers "Please move out of the stairwell, I can't get by" and be attacked for it because THE KIDS weren't good and ready to move.

Education has almost NOTHING to do with money. Did you need a computer when you were in school? How much more did YOU learn than our kids who can't read in high school? Pretty darned well, huh, FT? Me, too. And no, to head the libs off, I'm not suggesting we go back to pre-computer days any more than I'm saying we should go back to precolumbian days.

PARENTS ARE THE IMPORTANT THING. Until they start getting respect again, and actually DESERVE IT, and until they tell their kids to behave OR ELSE and the OR ELSE has some teeth, we're DONE. How can teachers TEACH in schools of no respect or discipline?

The reason foreign countries do better is their kids aren't ruined...not completely anyway.

Can we blame Republicans for letting their kids run amuck or...? maybe not :-) I believe it's those Republicans who 'get it' and are home schooling if they can. They want THEIR KIDS to learn, they recognize the discipline in schools is shot to hell and that who can LEARN under those conditions? RIGHT?
AND they have seen the textbooks and how left they lean. They figure reading's more important than GREEN and GAY AGENDA taught to little ones (in the guise of anti-bullying), too.

SELF ESTEEM is suddenly more important than READING and it's usually a self esteem taken to the idiocy of "no more scoring in sports" "nobody who didn't win can attend the awards ceremonies" etc etc.

sorry to write so much; this is a subject that REALLY touches my heart and I don't see our schools improving again. Ever.

Thersites said...

You can't push with a rope.

Always On Watch said...

Liberal Agendamania is a perfect term!

Ed Bonderenka said...

Z: "
PARENTS ARE THE IMPORTANT THING." Reminds me of when my wife and I discovered that my son had been skipping High School and intercepting the calls on the machine.
We took him to the principals office and invited his mom to participate.
It was there that she volunteered that she knew how he felt because she could stand school and skipped whenever she could.
That was a big help. He left us and moved in with her and dropped out.
He eventually came back (but how and why is another story).

Z said...

Ed, I hope that'll be another BLOG at your place!
WHat a mother! ???

Leticia said...

I used to hate school as well and the stupid cliques. You had to be a part of one to fit in, I chose to hang out with the metal heads, torn jeans, heavy metal, and so forth. However, since I was so short, people tended to pick on me, so I became friends with the toughest leaders in gangs. They had my back! Hee...hee..

Today, I honestly wished I had paid more attention in class than worrying what I would be doing after class.

A lot of changes have been done in the school system, but I am glad to say, that living in the bible belt has not allowed some progressive books to be taught. Trust me I would know about it.

Jersey McJones said...

Growing up, I attended quite a few schools. My family moved around a lot. I attended more than half a dozen public primary schools, and more than a few after.

Most of these schools were good schools. Most of the teachers were considerate, compassionate, sincerely good teachers.

They should not be concerned with the day to day business of finances in order to do their job.

I think you cons have this all wrong.

They need to do their jobs, with the understanding that they are responsible for your kids when you're at work.

That's a tall order, and it requires laws and regulations to make that happen.

Be careful what you wish for.

JMJ

Z said...

JMJ "That's a tall order, and it requires laws and regulations to make that happen."

Of course teachers have to do their jobs, who's said otherwise here?

You mention "Laws and Regulations" We going to pass laws to make badly raised kids sit quietly and respect their teachers and LEARN?

beamish said...

You remove cancer. You don't "reform" or "replace" it.

Get rid of public schools. Period.

FreeThinke said...

For a long time the public schools were very good. I know, because I'm old enough to remember.

My parents never had the benefit of going to college, but they spoke and wrote better English than most students in graduate school do today.

My mother was the daughter of immigrants who came here not knowing the language. My father was forced to quit school after the eighth grade. Now, how do you suppose they became so accomplished in communications skills that both of them made today's college students look pathetic in comparison?

The answer, my friends, is blown' in the wind.

It was the Warren Court's 1954 decision in Brown v. The Board of Education that fouled up American Public Education to a fare thee well.

The Truth may be brutal. The Truth often hurts, but facing it is the only way to free ourselves from the Yoke of Self-Destruction we've been laboring under by JUDICIAL FIAT for almost SIXTY YEARS.

Whatever gains may have been made in the area of Civil Rights have been offset and outweighed by the terrible terrible LOSSES our society as suffered since The Supreme Court became a Judicial Oligarchy over-riding the Will of the People and castrating congress time and time again.

You HATE to hear it, I know, but it is the TRUTH.

~ FreeThinke

Always On Watch said...

Some other problems that plague the public system:

1. English as a Second Language programs

2. Special education. Damned costly! Some of these children are "basket cases" and will never be educated. They need training in ADL's. And some of these compromised children will never learn any ADL's to speak of.

3. Race-based special programs

4. Gifted and Talented programs. Sure, those students are a joy to teach. But many of them would do just fine without all the money being thrown in the direction of those programs. And some of the prospective GT parents! They lobby for their children's inclusion into GT programs and drive the standards down. It's a mess.

The end result of the above is that average kids are neglected.