As an educator for many years, I have had the privilege to work with some of the best men and women, dedicated people who genuinely want to train young minds to think about and achieve their dreams. But through these years, I have seen more and more teachers leaving the profession and entering the business world. Don’t jump to conclusions: pay is not the issue. Bureaucratic hands have clogged the system of education so badly that the thought of fixing the problem has become a dull and lifeless conversation . . . or a platform for a politician to claim that he has the answers.
Data driven curriculum is a cancer in the American education system. Technology has become more of a hindrance than a help. Classes are dumbed down and molded to the slowest student’s needs and failing a student is not an option for teachers. For example, if a person visits the dentist and finds out that a cavity has been spotted, no one would think of blaming the dentist for the person not brushing. The dentist told the patient what to do to avoid problems. It is in the hands of the patient. In education a trend has developed to blame the teacher for a student’s lack of work ethic; all the while, more tracking paperwork and data is “requested” from the teacher to see what he is not doing that hinders the failing student from passing and being successful. Data is broken down by race and gender and socioeconomic standing to find a pattern that determines what is teachable to the middle of the crowd.
Spending is not a problem in the United States. The thirst to spend, for whatever reason, cannot be quenched. We have no other solution to problems. Need foreign aide? Sure, why not? No jobs? We’ll just extend unemployment checks for another three months. No insurance? We’ll provide a form of socialized medicine that has failed in every place it’s ever been implemented. American students are far below other countries around the world? Just kick in another billion and buy iPads for all of our students. Ask any secondary student about Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Many of them have no idea about how he satirized the future where technology will replace much of everyday human activity. Wouldn’t that be a Brave discussion in the classroom? New buildings, technology, and a grayed curriculum is not the answer . . . but we keep hooking our fingers in our coat lapels and saying what a good system we have. Wait. It needs to be fixed? Oh, here’s another billion dollars and a new and improved curriculum that is gender, racially,socially, and intellectually neutral (Administrators, please don’t forget that the attached data forms need to filled out by your teachers quarterly, so that the state and federal government can track the awesome progress).
The erosion of education has obviously not been overnight. For example, in the 1990s a hard shift happened. School-to-work programs broke out nation wide to serve a more diverse student population and meet the needs of those who would rather work on academics for half of the school day and learn a trade the other half, because after all, no one needs much book knowledge in the trade field (tongue planted firmly in cheek). Again, we pat ourselves on the back and thought we had thought of something that had been already implemented:
. . . the populist state will have to put general scholastic instruction into a shortened form, including the very essentials. Outside of that, opportunity must be offered
for thorough, specialized scholarly training. It is enough if the individual person is given a store of general knowledge in broad outline, receiving a thorough detailed and specialized
training only in the field which will be his in later life . . .The shortening of the schedule and of the number of classes thus attained would be used for the benefit of the development of the body, the character, of will and resolution . . .
There should be a sharp distinction between general and specialized knowledge. As the latter threatens, especially today, to sink more and more into service of Mammon,
general cultivation, at least so far as its more idealistic approach is concerned, must be preserved as a counter-weight. Here too the principle must be incessantly pounded in that industry and technology, trade and commerce can flourish only so long as an idealistically minded national community provides the necessary conditions. These conditions are founded not on materialistic egoism, but on self-denying readiness for sacrifice. —Mein Kampf, Adolph Hitler
While we sleep, American children are being consumed by mindless programs and government intervention. Common sense and creativity and individuality are on the brink of extinction. In an attempt to become stronger in the fields of math and science, our nation has become soft. The government knows what is best for you and your children. Just relax. And while you relax as a family, watch some television and let it soak in that a brainless Kardashian is better than the gorgeous words of Steinbeck or powerful strokes of Monet. Should you need reminding again . . . it’s simple: don’t think.