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Author Topic: Education problems exposed here!  (Read 4508 times)


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Education problems exposed here!
« on: May 02, 2003, 09:17:37 am »

I receive a lot of this kind of information from a great source in southern Arizona.  Read through this post and see for yourself why the FSP is absolutely necessary for our children!!

Suggest you go to this web site and post a note that they should check out The new Federal Curriculum and the NGO Center for Civic Education that developed the standards for the program and any other information/comments you have on our education system.  The news people have cracked the door a little on the education issue, we need to push them to open it real wide and get all the information to the people.
Education in Disorder
Americans are almost unanimous: Public schools are awful.

Friday, May 2, 2003 12:01 a.m. EDT
What with Americans being such an opinionated people, it isn't often that an issue of public policy ever arrives at the steady state of national agreement. Even as skulls were brought up from Saddam's torture chambers, e-mails still rolled in from the war's opponents to reargue the wrongness of the effort. So imagine how surprising it was to discover this past week that there is one subject about which the people of this country are in about as much agreement as statistical science ever achieves: America's public schools. They are widely and deeply regarded as awful.

Public Agenda, a New York-based nonprofit that does opinion surveys on a range of issues, compiled an analysis of a decade of polling on public education, and news reports about the study were eye-catching. Mainly the message was that while accountability matters in the public mind, what really upsets people is the generalized disorderliness in public schools. Having opinions of my own on what caused many schools to shift from being temples of learning to temples for having-fun-with-my-friends, I thought the Public Agenda report, "Where We Are Now," deserved a closer look.

Please join me for a tour of the second circle of hell. George Bush has a plan of action called No Child Left Behind, but if Saddam's weapons of mass destruction were sufficient reason to invade Iraq, he should now send in the Marines to occupy and reconstruct the nation's dysfunctional public schools.

Teachers, principals, parents, employers, college professors and students all have a uniformly low opinion of what's going on in our schools. Unless bracketed, the language here is taken largely from the study's own wording of questions and results:
Some 71% of respondents believe most public-school students do the bare minimum to get by; 83% of teachers say parents who fail to set limits and create structure at home are a serious problem, and 81% think parents who refuse to hold their kids accountable for behavior or academic performance are a serious problem. Of teachers, 43% say they spend more time keeping order than teaching. Instead of more pay (12%), 86% of teachers said they'd rather have a school where student behavior and parental support were better.

Some 61% of African-American parents think inner-city kids should be expected to achieve the same standards as wealthier kids. Priorities: 82% of African-American parents think the biggest priority is raising academic standards; 8% want more focus on diversity and integration. Nearly all parents, 92%, think you should have to pass a standardized test to be promoted--and, if you fail, you should have to go to summer school or repeat the grade.

Teachers would prefer: A school where student behavior and parental support were significantly better 86%
A school that paid a significantly higher salary 12%
Don't know 2%
Note: Teachers with five years or less experience
Source: Public Agenda
Employers who think local public schools are doing a good or excellent job: 42%. Some 59% of college professors rate public schools as fair or poor. Professors who say a high-school diploma means students have learned the basics: 31%. [In the 1970s, a friend who began teaching at the University of Texas told me most of his freshmen thought they were A students; "they're not."] Only 47% of professors and 41% of employers think public-school graduates have the skills to succeed in the work world. About 74% of employers and professors think public-school graduates' writing skills are fair or poor; same number for grammar and spelling. About 64% say graduates' basic math is fair or poor; 69% of employers feel personal organization is fair or poor.

Only 19% of teachers say parental involvement is strong in their school [parental involvement is one of the established keys to a successful school]; 87% of teachers think parents ought to limit their kids' TV time or should check their homework [clearly the inference is most parents do neither].

Disrespect is pandemic.

Of all Americans surveyed, 9% say, "The kids I see in public are respectful toward adults." Only 18% of teachers and 30% of students say, "Students treat each other with respect in my high school;" 19% of students say, "In my high school, most students treat teachers with respect." Americans who feel their schools have a serious discipline problem: 76%.

Any stairwell of public-school hell we've left off the tour? Oh yes, we've left off the politics from hell.

Asked why talented teachers quit, school superintendents say: low pay and prestige--5%; politics and bureaucracy--81%. Sixty-seven percent of principals wish they were able to reward good teachers and remove bad ones [that is, they can't do either now]. Over 80% of principals and superintendents say they have more new mandates and responsibilities than they can handle. Eighty-four percent of superintendents say they spend too much time on special ed., and 50% say they spend too much on legal issues and litigation.

A wag might ask: If we're so stupid, how come the U.S. earned an A in technology and human performance in Iraq? Short answer: The armed services don't let stupid people enlist anymore. The Army now provides its own education, which is largely what most employers do as well today. A job is now a re-education camp for many public-school grads.
How the schools got this way--how respect for teachers died, disorder rose, basic learning fell, bureaucracy rose, why the best teachers quit, parents stopped caring and why professors think freshmen are academically delusional--is a subject for another column and maybe another lifetime (it takes more than one paragraph to explain how Supreme Court justices with high IQs render legal decisions reflecting no common sense).

But for now, amid the overwhelming agreement found in the Public Agenda surveys, I have one small, recurring question: Tell me again why we're supposed to think charter schools and school choice are bad ideas.

Mr. Henninger is deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page. His column appears Fridays in the Journal and on

Here is a link that tells it all!



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Re:Education problems exposed here!
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2003, 06:43:48 pm »

I am somewhat dubious of articles like this, because of the doulbespeak in the area of education. " Parental support" is a mantra in education, but it does not mean what you and I would think it means.  "Parental support" to most educators means that parents do what the schools dictact, no questions asked.  No checking out curriculum, no asking questions, no opting children out of inappropriate lessons, no thinking for yourself or encouraging your children to do likewise.

Yes, classrooms are often disruptive, and students disrespectful.  Students are taught there is no right or wrong-- everything is gray, so to speak.  Things like cognative dissonance are used to scramble children's thinking-- who do you believe, your parents at home, or school authorities?  Youth are taught that they are the saviors of the earth, and that everything about former American generations are bad.  You get the picture... and people expect kids to be okay in such an atmosphere without guidance?  Ever heard of teachers being facilitators-- they "guide" kids to come to their own conclusions instead of teaching.  I am not talking about unschooling here.  That is a different concept altogether.  And parents are blind to so much of it-- respect for school environments and teachers has become so engrained into today's American dispotion, that parents often do not see what is exactly going on, or do not want to.  It is sad but true.


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Re:Education problems exposed here!
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2003, 05:04:46 pm »

Since I go to a private school...due to the public schools in New Orleans being the standard for bad in the US...I can speak on how private schools, in my frame of experience, are not much better.  

Respect wise, be certain that there is no difference in most private schools.  Parents don't teach respect anymore.  

Academicly, yes, private schools are very likely to be better, but the atmosphere of disrespect has very much ravaged academics.

As far as meeting standards and red tape goes, I've noticed that private schools are worse.  At my school, at least, diversity is paramount.  I cannot tell you how they hold that up on a pedastal for all to see...even though the board of my school has not a single member who doesn't belong to a discriminatory country club.  This overwhelming concern with political correctness has pushed things to the limits, creating classrooms where you freedom of speech is taken away, but you can't do anything because it's not a public school.  

Personally, I was suspended for a week because of a website I made.  Fortunatly, even a private school cannot mar your permanent record because of free speech, and so that little tiff was resolved with a lawyer.  Most other such offences, however, are not illegal to punish at private schools.

In any case, while I do advocate private schools over public, be very aware that neither solution will magicly fix the system.  The solution does lie with parental involvement...Not necessarily directly with the school, but just with children.  Hopefully by reducing the parents reliance on public schools, and by increasing the number of private schools, we will finally see everyone going where they belong.


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Re:Education problems exposed here!
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2003, 03:09:53 pm »

I agree that parental involvment is key to more successful education.  Many parents drop their kids off at school, pick them up and not much more.  I think it comes down to taking responsibility.  The last couple of generations have grown up with the idea that educating is the government's responsibility.  It's not hard to see how parents developed this sense of uninvolvement.  It is also true that while schools and their environs say that greater parent structure and discipline would help education the schools and their environs limit what the parents can do/say with respect to school.  Discipline used to be easier at school but as time has passed and more lawsuits won schools have fewer options to control behavior.  Now, I'm not an advocate of the dunce cap or physical discipline but rather I think that in this age of wanting to protect self-esteem some of us are not making demands of our children which could lead to better behavior.  Anyway, that's a whole other topic  ...
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