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WILLIAMS: A public education system that cheats our children
Question of the Day
Anything just given away is worth nothing. America’s public education system has become the quintessence of that idea — a “free” system that produces unprepared and overly entitled youths worth little to nothing to the future of America.
High-minded progressives see public education as something to be protected from private competition and the ravages of better, more innovative systems, not just from domestic competitors independent of the decayed U.S. institution, but also those from abroad.
In my previous column, I spared teachers from my ire, but they are not without fault. However, I feel most teachers are the whipping boys of education reformers, especially among the right.
In public education, teachers are not specialists in their fields unless they are coming to it as a second career. Typically, mathematicians do not teach trigonometry, nor do those with English literature degrees teach high school English. The vast majority of teachers are education majors with a subject-matter certification.
An education degree confirms general knowledge of a broad range of topics. It is the equivalent of Googling for knowledge, because the first page of hits on biology, particularly Wikipedia, probably tells you as much as or more than many public school biology teachers know.
You also get to learn the “more important” issues such as integrating special-ed children, improving self-esteem, and teaching to the lowest denominator.
Furthermore, as public education teaching does not pay the greatest salary, you tend to get teachers of lower quality coming out of inferior schools. Honestly, why would you want to pay more money for schooling, earn less, and put up with all the garbage that teachers have to endure these days, if you had the opportunity to make big bucks as a computer programmer, lawyer, doctor or venture capitalist?
That is not to say there are not plenty of smart, qualified and exceptional teachers. But there is no denying the brain-drain in education can be directly correlated to higher earning potential in other fields.
Qualifiers aside, the result of such inadequately prepared educators is that the smart children tend to go unchallenged and get bored, in turn becoming a disruption in class and being inadvertently tossed into the dustbin of “what might have been.”
So the generalist enters the unruly classroom focused on trying to maintain order, insuring that the dumber and less motivated children are catered to over the ones with true potential. Teaching itself has now become geared toward training pupils how to answer standardized-test questions, rather than developing the students’ understanding of the how and why.
And no longer is discipline taught or enforced in the classroom. Rather, an elaborate system of bribes has been introduced to keep students on task. The result: Businesses now have to offer more and more incentives beyond a paycheck just to keep employees motivated to do the most basic tasks.
No wonder our children are falling behind.
But we also have the problem of how the purpose of high school has evolved over the decades. No longer is the point to produce citizens who are literate and have basic skills in order to be productive tax-paying Americans, capable of furthering the American ideals they learned to cherish without feeling entitled to the six-figure job.
Now the goal is to usher through children to reach the goal of college. At some point college became a holy grail, a right and the only way to succeed in America.
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By Mark Davis
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