Monday, January 9, 2012


This began as a comment over at Small Holding, in a post about suburban reclamation, with an education sidenote. I decided, however, that this needed addressed.

Education, as dispensed from the public school system, has become not only a joke, but a dirty joke. Excepting a short stint in a private christian school, all of my primary education was completed in a small, rural public school. Most of my LEARNING however, came during time spent reading, or was imparted during work hours; to be frank, I learned things because I wanted to learn them. When I did not want to learn, there was no teaching me. Elementary school, I believe, should be mostly spent engendering a hunger for knowledge. Even so, I'd like to stress that, although its a poor craftsman that blames the tools, you cannot give positive results without appropriate tools.

This is where I'm going to go off the tracks a bit. I'm having a hard time discerning incompetence and apathy from enemy action. I'm serious here. Somehow, the role of instruction has been shifted outside the home, while at the same time, undercutting the ability to instruct of the persons to whom that responsibility is given. Teachers make do with some of the lowest salaries in the nation, yet we spend more money per student on education than ever. Where does the money go? And how is it possible to spend so much for such dismal results? Could this be a concerted effort to ruin our youth? And, if so, by whom?

I'm going to throw in a true story. My niece goes to the same rural grade school I, both my siblings, and my father attended. This was the first year they didn't teach history in the 3rd grade. Got that NO THIRD GRADE HISTORY. Why? They didn't pass the mandated tests, so the school is not qualified... the PUBLIC school. Their math books are photocopies in a ring binder. Why? They had to spend their entire budget on administering testing so they could be qualified to HAVE math classes, thus there was no remaining budget for TEACHING THE CLASS THEY WERE NOW QUALIFIED TO TEACH. All children left behind. Somehow, with no doubt (or is there?) the best of intentions, the weight of testing and texts has now consumed such a portion of the education budget that there is no time, energy or funding for educating.

My sister has resolved to treat her daughter's school as day care, and ensure her education by other methods. I tried to explain civil unrest to her, but she wasn't interested yet. One day, she will be...

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