One Thing Remains the Same for Four Generations

February/22/2014 8:23AM
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As we look back on the past 100 years, much has changed in this country. We’ve been through the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, the technology revolution, and we are trying to prosper in a global marketplace.

Throughout all of that, one thing remains constant. The way we educate our kids. The school year is the same. The school day is the same. Kids have one teacher each year  until junior high, then go to different classes. Kids start in kindergarten and finish as seniors. Every school has good teachers and bad teachers. The kids know which is which.

Sure there are subtle differences. But, for the most part, only the students get measured. Where efforts have been made to measure teachers, they cheat. They go back and re-do student test scores to maintain their pay and job security.

We have thrown money at the education process. We pay more per student than any country in the world. But we test poorly against the world.

How can everything else we  do in this country change dramatically, yet, how we teach kids remain static? How is it possible for one key institution insulate itself from the impact of failure and we watch as they maintain status quo.

Most changes have been subtraction, not addition. Kids today can’t read or write cursive. They can’t do basic math functions.

Can anyone explain how this has happened and will likely continue for another generation?

Who has brought change? Charter schools have a far better track record with student test scores. Where non-public, non-governmental schools have been allowed, they out-perform the public sector. The head of the Arizona public school system recently recommended kids go to charter schools. He was mis-quoted, of course.

What is the business model for public schools. It’s the US Post Office. It’s Amtrak. It’s Freddie and Fannie. It’s anything the government tries to run. It’s throw money at failures and overpay union employees who don’t have accountability for performance and make excuses for failure. The same chain of command exists for all of the above. The president is the CEO, but he refuses to be responsible. Next comes some cabinet flunky like Arnie Duncan, the Secretary of Education who failed in the same job in Chicago but got the big job because he plays basketball with Obama. Then there’s the local Superintendent of Schools who spends like a drunken sailor and panders to the school board, which is made up of people who can’t hold a job with accountability. They suck up to the superintendent.

Got the picture. It’s you again. You watch and know it’s wrong, but feel you can’t change it. Send your kids into the world ill-prepared for the global competition and watch them fail. You let it happen. Go right to the mirror and explain to yourself why you pay such high property taxes to watch your kids test at the twentieth percentile against other countries with a different educational model.

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