Friday, April 29, 2011

The Sorry State of Education in America

The Sorry State of Education in America
J. D. Longstreet

I was somewhat busy yesterday, along with many other Tar Heels, dodging our second attack of tornadoes in less than a month.  As a result, I had little time to think and write a commentary suitable for publication. But, as I continue to be troubled by the state of our public education system in the US, I decided to re-submit to the editors an article written back in 2005 that addresses my concerns about the horrible state of public education in the US.
Even though this piece was written six years ago, it could have been written today. 

A great disservice is being done our youngsters today and until the parents of our kids decide enough is enough -- and demand an overhaul of the American public
education system -- that disservice will continue and we will continue to produce graduates who simply do not measure up to the graduates of education systems around the world. It places America at a distinct disadvantage in, well, everything.  It is, in fact, a matter of national security, let alone national survival.

Here now is the commentary I wrote six years ago.  I hope it will stir parents to evaluate the quality of their child’s education in the existing public education system of America and pledge to take action on the behalf of their children’s future -- and the future of America.

Please – read on.

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.
Having a small percentage of illiterate Americans is preferable to an entire population of semi-illiterates!

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.

In my opinion, 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, that it 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

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