Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Education in America

Right now, I could write about politics every day as so many things are upsetting to me. My gosh who are we as a people? Do we really want to leave behind the weak? Is Social Darwinism what Republicans truly want? And don't even get me started on Democrats. Did they expect two years of Obama would fix everything? Will they really stay home in November to show him! Are they bored with no 'show'?

Get it straight, the ones we hurt the worst, when we vote out good leaders for someone who claims, like Christine O'Donnell, I am you, it's us we are hurting. O'Donnell who cannot pay her bills without donations, who might even have fudged how she used those donations, who has chosen Christianity as the religion that can do the most for her, who claims god is running her campaign while he can't seem to run her life, a possibly very nice lady; but one who seems ineffectual at everything she does except maybe run for office, that woman thinks she's everybody out there and that people should vote for what I would call losers as who wants somebody who actually gets an education they don't have to lie about?

Of ALL the things (and there are plenty) that the right is doing right now that worries me the most, that actually comes closest to infuriating me, it is their take on public education which many of them apparently would decimate if they could. Why would that be?

They began this with their usual say one thing and mean another--  No Child Left Behind. What that really meant was a lot of money for testing services and no real comprehension of what learning is about. Teachers hated it. Those who like to take tests loved it. Did it do anything to really educate students to be thinkers, to have basic knowledge? Who would know.

The emphasis now is to condemn teachers for the failures in these tests. Education crisis why testing and firing teachers doesn't work. Not to say there are not bad teachers but how are they evaluated? Is it when a child whose parents don't encourage them to study, where there is no support at home, when that child fails and it then is the teachers' fault? How many kids don't try enough in high school because they know they have no chance to go anywhere after it unless they agree to fight a war in a foreign land and risk being killed over there? For a lot of young people, that's their only hope to go beyond high school.

In Oregon, one of our university deans figures the cost of one year of tuition will go up to $27,000 a year in not that distant future. Who in the middle class can afford that? So is it any surprise that many kids give up before they even finish high school?

There is blame in what has gone wrong in education for the left too. How many lefties looked the other way when schools began to teach cultural rules in class time instead of say basic reading, writing and arithmetic? When schools took time out of an already packed day for teaching cultural goals, they began a path that seemed good to some but in reality opened a door to different cultural norms being taught-- like say creationism rather than the facts of science.

Teach the basics-- mathematics, history, English, time-proven literature, science, and if we manage to do that, we did a good job. We won't for every student. Some just won't care and they'd be better off taking a class in plumbing but we have to try to a certain level anyway. This country is based on an educated populace voting wisely. Giving up in the schools, means giving up on those voters.

At one time deportment was taught by example and on the playground and school bus. Kindness was dealt by examples when say a student was bullied, by how the teacher treated the students. Today they try to have classes in what is bullying but it takes precious class time and worse doesn't work when it's not led by example, when the schools have lost control. At one time being sent to the Vice-principal's office was a scary possibility. Now it is toothless. If the schools have no real authority, if parents don't exercise theirs, is it any surprise so many students are in trouble.

Here's the thing, there are lots of children, the majority still getting a good education up through the twelfth grade but what comes next? If we don't see college as a part of the whole educational thread, where do the kids go who got that high school diploma but cannot find a job without more training? Does anybody care? Not Republicans for sure as their view is either they educated their kids and it's somebody else's problem now or else they never had kids and could care less about any collective we. They ignore the fact that most of them benefited from a public education being available because this is all about them now and what's best for 'them'. To fix public education, they would offer destruction of it. Sounds typical of how they see any collective action that benefits more than themselves.

I know at least some of the schools are doing a good job based on having grandchildren in public schools. The option to letting the rest go is dooming the future of our country. It will yield an increasingly easily led population with no clue of their country's history and tricked by slick advertising of poorly animated paranormal wolves.

The thing Bush said about no child left behind sounded as good as clean air initiative or patriot act. The problem was, like the others, it never meant that!


Kay Dennison said...

This is one of your best posts ever!!!! I've more or less said most of what you've written many times -- only not so well.

My buddy Joe who's about 80 now says, "Hell! I'm a high school drop out and I was one of the dumb kids when I was in school and I still know more than a lot of college graduates today. And I can read and do math." He's one up on a lot of kids today who are college graduates.

I'm still with Obama and will remain so because the alternatives are too frightening. I'm working for my Congressman who's running against a Republican whose stance is in lockstep with the Teabaggers.

I was a liberal before it became a dirty word. I grew up in a blue collar union family, My dad was president of his local of The Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen and we didn't cross picket lines in an era when workers hit the streets when injustice occurred.

That said, I was taught to vote for the man -- not the party. I think that this year I will be voting with the first straight ticket ever in my life. I'm not doing it blindly -- what I see from the GOP terrifies me and I can't risk these nut cases getting elected. That Faux News has such a following is a prime example that our education has failed us.

I want schools that teach critical thinking and exact discipline on offenders. I fear for this country's future because a poorly educated populace means a poorly run government. And that, my friend, will lead to our ruin.
What you have said here is so important that I wish everyone in the country could read it and even, better understand it. Sigh.

Parapluie said...

I am with you Rain and Kay. I am also fearful of new American Heritage classes at the college level. They make the stands of the right wingers look scholastically sound. I fear they will not teach critical thinking. This is a big turn around from my parent's day after World War I when college freshman took courses in thinking logically.

TaraDharma said...

according to many republicans, the weak are only weak because of their laziness, and we will not support their laziness!! There is no sense of societal responsibility and obligation...which leads into their view of the public school system. Penny wise and pound foolish - that's the conservative wing of that party.

And while Joe and many others may denigrate today's college education, I say that's a crock. It's a knee jerk response to the complexities of education and our modern life.

If only we as a nation would commit to education in all ways, we could heal the wounds that are bringing it down. To pay a teacher 40k a year is a crime -- to put kids in classes with 30 other students is a recipe for failure. We give lip service to education, but we are not invested. It's a national, and local, and personal, disgrace.