The American Public School System is a Failure
Depending upon your perspective, perhaps!
A Commentary by: J. D. Longstreet
I was enroute to someplace, or other a few mornings ago, when I had to stop my truck for a school bus to load some reluctant students.
As I sat, waiting on those youngsters to board, I thought how unfortunate they are. They were being transported, "free", to a "free" public school for a "free" education. Of course, that depends on how, exactly, you define "free". But a "free education" is for another article another time. I am more interested... no... maybe the word should be... "concerned", or even "troubled"... by the quality of the education or children are receiving in our existing school public school system today in America.
For the few short minutes I sat there, I thought back to an article I wrote some years ago about this very thing. Later, when I returned to my office, I rambled through my files until I discovered it, read it through, and saw that nothing much had changed. So, I have decided to post it here today.
This piece was written back in March of 2005. Now that I have two grand kids in the system I speak of here, believe me when I tell you I am very troubled by the quality of the education I am afraid they will receive.
Here is what I wrote back in 2005:
The American Public School System Is A Failure And Should Be Trashed!
By: J. D. Longstreet
The Public Schools system of the US has crashed and burned! No longer are our children the best educated in the world. Now our scholars rank among the less well educated even among a few of the third world countries. This is a shame we have brought upon ourselves by inviting the Federal Government and the Unions into our schools.
One-room schoolhouses turned out scholars of unequaled accomplishment when compared to today’s graduates. A high school education, just 50 years ago, is the equivalent of a college degree today. Our Public School teachers are barely qualified to teach. But, they have a Union to see that they are paid well, whether the can teach or not! Oh, you thought teachers unions were for the welfare of the students??? Surely you jest!
Our local school boards have gorged themselves from the federal trough at the expense of local control of the curriculum and the rules and regulations.
Pupils are not challenged by the courses they study and fall short of goals set by the federal Government. So, the schools are now “teaching the tests”. Indoctrinate the students in the questions and answers on the test in hopes of attaining the sought after number of students passing the tests. A well-rounded education is lost to the efforts to make a good showing on the tests.
Students are forced to remain in school even though they have no interest in what is being taught and are a distraction to that handful of youngsters who really do want to learn.
Self-esteem is the number one course of study. Our students are dumb as fence posts but, by golly, they think highly of themselves! They can’t read their diplomas but they sure do feel good about it!
So what do we do about it?
Take back our schools for a start. Refuse federal money and all the strings that go with it. If we have to teach school, again, in one-room school buildings, then so be it.
Test the teachers. If they have no business in a classroom, see to it that they are removed.
Make school voluntary. If a student does not want to be there, then don’t make them. This will allow those students who do wish an education to get one without the continuous interruptions by the bored kids who’d rather be someplace else.
Discipline? Yes. Expulsion. Period. Expel troublemakers for a few days, a few weeks, or a full school year, or even forever, depending on the infraction. Make school a serious business again. We owe an environment, suitable for learning, to those students who are there for the purpose of learning and making a better life for themselves, their families, and for our society.
We can take our schools back. We have to want to do so and we have to be ready to make the sacrifices necessary to insure our children a good education, not the pitiful excuse for an education they are getting now.
One of a parent’s primary obligations, as a parent, is to see that their children have a shot at the brass ring in life. The first, and most fundamental, step in that process is a solid education.
Government vouchers were killed by the teachers unions because they rightly understood that the public school system would crumble, and collapse, as parents pulled their children out of those near useless institutions and placed them in private schools where they, the parents, had some say, and some control, over the quality of education their kids were getting.
The public school system is near collapse right now. I don’t think a collapse of the US Public Education System would be a bad thing, actually. When an institution is so badly damaged, and no longer serves it’s primary purpose, it should be trashed and a new institution begun in its place. We desperately need to create an institution to educate our kids.
Parents, we owe our kids that! We owe them a chance to make the best of their talents. We owe them a shot at a good, solid, education. Get them out of the public schools and into a private, or parochial, school where there are qualified teachers who still have an incentive to teach our kids, the will to teach our kids, and the desire to teach our kids.
The public school system in America is a failure. It should be put out of its misery.
J. D. Longstreet