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Education Reform – Get Over It

June 9, 2011

I’ve been hearing a lot of talk lately about a desire by parents to send their kids to private schools, as apparently, they feel that the education their kids could receive at a private school would be better than that of a public school. The only problem for many of these parents is that they can’t afford private school – and so enters the government.

It would seem that the government felt that the solution is to give “vouchers” to some poor kids to send them to private school. Of course, that opened the door to criticisms of those who “get in”, and those who don’t “get in”. So, in the infinite wisdom of government, the solution proposed is to offer any parent a voucher that wants one, and to force private schools to accept the students, (forgetting that they are not setup to accept that many kids). As if the idiocy of this all is not bad enough, there is then discussion that if a private school is to accept government money, then it must fall in line with all those government regulations regarding schools, so that they are just like public schools – educational systems governed by crippling ideologies to the point that they suck all over the USA.

In case you didn’t get that, let me rephrase that for you:
1) Private schools are seen as better at teaching kids.
2) Some less wealthy people got jealous and want good education for their kids too, a kind of education that presumably, public schools are incapable of providing.
3) The government screwed around with voucher systems, but couldn’t make everybody happy, so,-
4) They want to screw up private schools so that nobody is happy.

Got it – make sense to you?

See, the problem is not private schools or getting more kids in to private schools, its fixing public schools. How do we do that, you ask? Simple – ditch the 40 years of ideological bullshit that has crippled America’s education system.

Bullshit ideology #1 – We must celebrate diversity by making everyone feel/be exactly the same. You idiot ideologists need to get it through your thick skulls that not everyone is the same. One person may be left brain dominant and another right brain dominant; One person may learn best one way, and another may learn best another way; There will be those who excel in one subject, a few subjects, all subjects, or no subjects. To insist that everyone should be taught the exact same way, the exact same materials, and to reach the exact same goal, is nothing more than ideological bullshit that inflicts upon our children a guaranteed level of mediocrity.

Fifty years ago, there were kids that performed very well. They ended up in the “smart” kids classes. There were those who performed average, and there were those that went to “special” classes to work on more basic levels of education. So what’s wrong with that? “Dumbing” down the smart kids to the same level of the “less smart” kids does nothing more than dumb down America. The one size fits all approach does not work…get over it.

Bullshit ideology #2 – We must bus kids all over the place so that integration happens. Been doing this for 40 years, and yet, segregation still primarily exists, not from some evil invisible force, but by choice of residents of neighborhoods. All it has managed to do is cost tax payers more money and effectually stifle extracurricular after school activities because its a transportation nightmare. Prior to busing, kids would hang out after school to engage in school related activities. There was a sense of community with your classmates. Not now. Now, kids are mindlessly shuffled from one location to another, transporting them from one doorway to another. The only sense of community after school comes from “seat mates” on the bus. Busing doesn’t work…get over it.

Bullshit ideology #3 – Teacher evaluations are unfair. Most every person remembers one teacher that was either a total goof off or seemed to actually hate kids. Not all teachers are good teachers, and not all teachers deserve to keep their jobs. In every school is a front office that contains desks and chairs for people called “administrators”. It is their job to get off their duffs and evaluate teacher performances to either get rid of the ones that don’t belong in the job, to guide those that could use a little help, or to stay the hell out of the way of the ones that are creative and actually inspire their students. Not all teachers are the same…get over it.

Bullshit ideology #4 – We must not discipline unruly kids or move them someplace where they won’t interfere with the education of other kids. In that I actually personally know several teachers, it has become clear that over the years, parents and their children have become more and more apathetic about education. Fine, so be it. It is not up to the government and school officials to get kid’s parents to give a crap. It’s time to face the harsh reality that our country has many parents who either don’t have the time, or won’t tear themselves away from the TV long enough to support the schools attempts to get their child to focus on education. Their future is likely bleak, but keeping them in a classroom with other kids that would otherwise learn something, only serves to deny a better education to a greater percentage. Here is the only time I would be in favor of busing – bus the unruly kids off to the same school where they will not interfere with the education of others. Perhaps if the parents of these kids have instilled some anti-social ideology in to their heads, having them in one location might just allow some teacher to come along and reach out to them. In the mean time, everyone else gets to learn at school instead of wasting time listening to a handful of brats run their mouths whilst they run amok. Some kids will be lost causes…get over it.

As well intentioned as these ideologies were, it is time to recognize their shortcomings and replace them with realistic policies that actually work. Recognize that kids differ in how they learn, how fast they learn, and how much they learn. Recognize that some kids will excel,  so give them opportunities to excel. Recognize that some kids will succeed by not expecting them to live up to the same standards as other kids, or in the same subjects. Let kids and teachers discover what works for them, and allow them to use those methods.

We need good leadership – teach leadership to some.
We need good scientists – teach science to others.
We need good engineers – teach creativity to those with such propensity.
Just don’t expect that teaching everyone the same subjects the same way at the same speed is going to create excellence in any area. That’s what private schools have figured out. So rather than displacing what works in private schools, displace those in public school systems who refuse to concede ineffective ideology. Fire them if they refuse to give up ideological blindness for reality, and if they complain, just tell them not to worry, you are treating all such individuals the same, so, just get over it.

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