If a prize were awarded for the worst policy idea, one that would waste billions in some futile quest for the impossible, the indisputable winner would be uplifting the academic bottom by fixing their “bad schools.” It is a seductive idea that never seems to die despite repeated failures; it even seduces free-market conservatives infatuated with school choice remedies. What can possibly explain such stupidity?
Let’s start with the underlying “logic” of this doomed quest—the belief that low-IQ, academically unmotivated youngsters prone to classroom disorder attending schools disinclined to impose discipline can achieve reading and mathematical proficiency by tinkering with school environments. Moreover, that these troubled youngsters already attend well-financed schools with perfectly adequate facilities, small classes, state-certified teachers, ample pedagogical specialists and everything else that physically defines a “good school” is hardly acknowledged. Nor is there any past evidence that this fix-the-environment approach, everything from unscrewing chairs from the floor to cutting-edge technology, has ever moved the academic proficiency needle.
But hope springs eternal and the fantasy’s latest installment was President Obama’s $7 billion dollar failed School Improvement Grants Program whose aim, according to Arne Duncan Obama’s Secretary of Education from 2009 to 2016, was to “turn around” 1000 schools per year over five years (according to the DOE rhetoric, this initiative was to “…implement innovative, effective, ambitious, comprehensive, and locally driven strategies”). Alas, whether calibrated by test scores, graduation rates or college enrollment, nothing helped. And keep in mind that the multi-billion dollar nostrum has been around since the George W. Bush era though the Obama administration significantly increased funding.
The following column by Alan Caruba was originally published by Kettle Moraine Publications on August 29, 2010, however it won’t be long before the end of summer, and the victims of the Fed-ucation Holocaust will be returning to the den once more. Alan’s words are as direct and point-on as they were so many years ago. ~ J.B.
The Blood-Sucking Educator
As the nation’s children return to elementary and secondary schools, it is increasingly essential that their parents and communities coast to coast realize how poorly served they are and how their learning environment is increasingly tainted by a socialist agenda.
Our nation’s schools have long been factories of boredom, centers of academic incompetence. High school graduation rates have been in a fairly steady decline. At its peak in 1969, the rate was 77 percent. By 2007 it was 68.8 percent.
In mid-August, The Wall Street Journal reported that “New data show that fewer than 25% of 2010 graduates who took the ACT college-entrance exam possessed the academic skills necessary to pass entry-level courses, despite modest gains in college-readiness among U.S. high school students in the last few years.”
What caught my eye was a quote from Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, a nonpartisan research organization in Washington, who said that “if our kids aren’t dropping out physically, they are dropping out mentally.” Continue reading
If one compiled a list of massive cultural engineering projects, America’s effort to close race-related academic achievement gaps would be the most ambitious. For over a half century we have spent tens of billions, devised scores of remediation schemes, and pursued legal solutions galore, all to no avail. Even conservatives normally hostile to social engineering have joined the quest.
What makes this enterprise remarkable is that every single putative nostrum entails zero effort by the students themselves as if those targeted lacked any agency for academic uplift. To use bizarre phraseology, this is passivity on steroids. This is not to suggest that if math-challenged junior got religion and buckled down he could master stochastic calculus; rather, in places like Baltimore where schools spend an average of $16,000 per student and barely any can meet minimal English and math standards, room exists for improvement . Continue reading
There’s a good reason why some college departments are riddled with social justice ideologues, and others are not. It’s because these beliefs are completely illogical, so they can only thrive in subjects that are open to interpretation. So if you went to college and took a class for liberal arts, gender studies, or sociology, you’re far more likely to run into politically correct nonsense than if you took a class in say, astrophysics. It’s hard to insert emotionally charged drivel into a subject that is relatively cut and dry. Continue reading
What does an expert in learning think about how to learn math (and other things for that matter)?
In an interview published in a recent Wall Street Journal, Oakley did not have good words for the permissivist way math is taught in the United States and offered a blunt assessment of U.S. education in general. Continue reading
Across ethnicities and economic status, girls outperform boys on English in standardized tests
Three of four African-American boys in California classrooms failed to meet reading and writing standards on the most recent round of testing, according to data obtained from the state Department of Education and analyzed by CALmatters.
More than half of black boys scored in the lowest category on the English portion of the test, trailing their female counterparts. The disparity reflects a stubbornly persistent gender gap in reading and writing scores that stretches across ethnic groups. Continue reading
How did we get here at this existential crossroads? Ask the communist agitators, school indoctrinators, Hollywood, and community organizers whom parents entrust their children to every day
How did our society get where we are today? Where did this profound hatred, disrespect for authority, for the rule of law, disdain for their own country, utter laziness, entitlement, anarchy, and anti-Americanism come from, especially in the younger generations who shape the future of our country?
There is no simplistic answer. The default answer is always horrible parenting or lack thereof. Parents spend less and less time with their progeny as the government takes over their education at a very early age, or are in need of behavioral reeducation themselves. Older fathers with pony tails and mothers going through menopause are raising terror children who have never been spanked or made to behave like normal, rational human beings. They scream in restaurants and public places at hours when they should be in bed while the parents try to talk to them in a calm voice to the exasperation of everyone around them, trying to enjoy themselves while celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, interrupted by howling brats. Continue reading
Read Full Story: Canada TOO???
There are some subjects one thinks would be immune from the input of social justice warriors. While social studies are ripe for their meddling—as are literature and even science these days—a subject like math should be resistant to their tampering. Well, one would think that.
Unfortunately, a report at Campus Reform shows that such an assumption would be wrong.
“Teaching Social Justice through Secondary Mathematics” is a six-week online course designed by Teach for America and offered through EdX, which provides free online classes from top universities such as Harvard University, MIT, and Columbia University. Continue reading
Netflix’s recent announcement that it would be producing a second season of Thirteen Reasons Why has raised new questions about the disastrous state of the US public school system and its effects on the economy.
“Hey, it’s Hannah Baker,” says the show’s protagonist, played by a stunning Katherine Langford in the opening episode. “Get settled in. Because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended.”
The Thirteen Reasons’ portrait of how a stifling, bureaucratic system progressively cuts this teenage girl to pieces, eventually driving her to death, provides a dramatized, insightful reflection on (another) emerging lost generation. Continue reading
Six schools in Baltimore have exactly zero students who are proficient in math and English.
WBFF reports Project Baltimore led an investigation and discovered five Baltimore City high schools, along with one middle school, do not have any students who scored high enough to be deemed “proficient” in math and English on state testing.
The schools that did not have a single proficient student are Booker T. Washington Middle School, Frederick Douglass High School, Achievement Academy at Harbor City, New Era Academy, Excel Academy at Francis M. Wood High, and New Hope Academy. Continue reading
Over the years, as most who read my stuff will testify, I have followed what goes on in the vaunted, so-called “halls of education” in this country, particularly when those halls are located in public school buildings. Some pretty far-out things have happened in this country in the name of public education, but what I am about to comment on here may be the most expensive.
I came across a blog spot yesterday that had an article on it datelined May 25, 2017. The headline asked this question: “Why Does the Chicago Public School System have $9 Billion Dept With Only 381,000 Students?” When I first read it I couldn’t believe I hadn’t misread it. I thought it should have been $9 million, so I went back and reread it. It was $9 billion. Simply amazing! The article started off: “Chicago public schools will look to borrow $900 million in the coming weeks adding to the district’s $9 billion dept–but it remains unclear if anyone will actually give them all the money. The loans are $500 million more than Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office announced last week when a financial rescue plan was outlined….District officials told board members Wednesday that the district would likely ‘just run out of money’ if it didn’t take out these loans.” Continue reading
Once again, Metropolis Café returns to its roots – the ‘Village of the Damned’ so to speak. Shortly after The Federal Observer went on-line in July of 2001, we began receiving columns from the author of the following post – Carl Worden. Although what follows was originally posted in March of 2010 – the message remains – the Public Fool System is STILL a Rip-Off. ~ J.B.
Carl F. Worden
If a manufacturer produces sub-standard or unsafe products, as in the current Toyota debacle, you can take your sub-standard or unsafe product back for repair or a complete refund, but when a public school district produces sub-standard students, there is seemingly no recourse. You cannot send your kid back to school, even if s/he cannot read comprehensively or perform basic math. Further, there is no means to recoup the property taxes the parents paid to support the public school system their failing child attended. Continue reading
It is common sense knowledge that facilities do not produce well educated students. The one room schoolhouse with outhouses for toilets produced much better educated students than today’s Taj Mahal’s. Why?
Example in the 5/23/17 TR article “School to hire Consultant”.
We are told by School Board member Talicia Richardson the usual educanto newspeak designed to say a lot and explain nothing. “We are making a great decision to MOVE FORWARD”.
Halsey Junior High School (P.S. 85, Brooklyn, N.Y,)
“Progressive Education” came to my school when I was a student at Halsey Junior High School in the 1940s (P.S. 85, Brooklyn, N.Y,). Principal Stella Sweeting was thrilled as a little girl getting a doll house for Christmas, but the rest of us, teachers included, thought this “experiment” in schooling was silly. Oh, it was fun to cut classes and paint murals in the hallways – the brainstorm of class buddy Bob and I that, to our surprise, was approved.
Such “official cheating” didn’t faze those with A’s and B’s in their subjects – we’d catch up later (in high school maybe?) – but what of the students who might stumble from such sliding and find it difficult to overcome the challenges ahead? While this loosening of educational standards at Halsey was, in a word, pleasant, most of my teachers took a dim view of a theory of education that not only ditched authority and tradition but dismissed academic achievement as well – the stance of early 20th Century Marxist education reformers with a mission to prepare America for a socialist future. Why did the “progress” they envisioned in their “progressive” educational method of indoctrination include dumbing? Continue reading
Schools have always been devoted to passing knowledge forward to the next generation. Not now.
The Education Establishment treats knowledge as if it were a toxic spill that must be kept away from students. Board up the windows; tape the doors; wrap the buildings in three-mil. plastic.
This might sound comical or far-fetched. But I assure you that the Progressives in charge of our schools are methodical about using any pretext to minimize contamination by knowledge. Everyone should wonder why. Continue reading
A retired college professor confirms what many Americans already believe: universities have abandoned the concept of being a marketplace of ideas.
Common Core Standards Test
Speaking on American Family Radio earlier this week, Dr. Carol M. Swain said campuses used to be places with opposing views and debates.
“Opposing sides came together, people listened, and the person with the best arguments and the best data and ideas would be the most persuasive – and people would leave the debate forum probably thinking differently than when they entered because they would have heard more sides,” said Swain, who had been a professor of political science and professor of law at Vanderbilt University since 1999.
“[But] I think the universities today have a viewpoint, and they’re very much into indoctrination; and when students arrive, they teach them what to think, not how to think critically.”
It’s the public schools that are failing, more than the job market. Last summer set an all-time record of 5.9 million unfilled jobs. Manufacturing job openings were at the highest level in years, with 300,000 new jobs becoming available each month.
A Wall Street Journal interview with the CEO of United Technologies, Greg Hayes — who famously caved to Trump and kept the Indiana Carrier plant in the U.S. — has some surprising information about jobs and American workers. His company has jobs for machinists, with only a high-school degree required, that pay $100K a year. The jobs are going begging. Applicants cannot read or do math.
“I’ve got thousands of job openings.”
Do you really?
I’m sure it’s a different list of “behinds” for your child, but they’re there nonetheless, and the pressure to make sure your child isn’t behind the other kids weighs on you like a ton of bricks. We all want our kids to show up to kindergarten like an old, learned professor: “Ah yes, the alphabet.”
I came across the article quoted above the day I started and finished Thomas Sowell’s brief and accessible volume Late-Talking Children, a largely anecdotal text based on a parents group he started after writing about his own son who didn’t talk until nearly four years of age. When public school teachers tried to label his son (“classify” in contemporary terms) Sowell put his foot down, and thank God he did. His son’s success story (childhood late talker to successful computer scientist) along with many others in the book written in 1997 support the growing backlash against public education, in particular what we’re doing with kids under 6 years old. Continue reading
Here’s a pop quiz for all you students at every level. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in school today or if you’re simply a student of life (as we all should be until we die). Since Jimmy Carter brought us the Department of Education, what has been the positive impact it’s had on our students, teachers, parents, or communities?
It’s somewhat of a trick question because no matter what positive impact you recall hearing about or seeing on Wikipedia, there are more negatives that have come out of every action the department has taken and every decree they’ve made. I won’t bore you with statistics or point to individual instances of complete failure to improve the quality or efficiency of education in America. Either you see the clear dysfunction in our schools today or you don’t. Nothing I say will change your mind. Continue reading