Everyone knows that we must “drain the swamp” to get our nation back on track. Corrupt and self-serving Washington, DC insiders have colluded with big business, big media, and big education to lock themselves to the trough at the expense of working Americans.
The incoming administration is already setting up its swamp-draining apparatus, and there is optimism in the air. Trump has shown that he will take his case straight to the American people, bypassing the corrupt news organizations. And he is bringing outsiders to the Beltway who have little patience for the Machiavellian status quo.
I’m confident that reforms can be made, and quickly, in our federal government. But that only solves part of the problem.
Our American education system, from kindergarten through college, has been churning out brainwashed dumb-bots for decades, and our collective IQ is dropping like Wile E. Coyote from an Arizona cliff.
Now, if that statement made you spit coffee on your lap, good. We need to wake up.
You may be thinking that there are some schools with problems, but your local school is just fine. “Our teachers are nice and the kids are polite. The football team wins most of their games and 95% of our graduates go to college.”
Here’s an exercise for you – you can do this intellectually if not physically. Grab an average high-school sophomore from your local school district. Can he find Egypt on a globe? Can she make change? Can he calculate percentage in his head? Can she name the first three American presidents? Could he change a tire? Could she bake a cake? Do they know who fought in World War II and why?
I’ll bet you could do or answer all, or most, of the above when you were 15. Your parents could. So could your grandparents. Trust me, your grandfather could calculate gas mileage in his head. Your son probably doesn’t know what gas mileage is. If your sophomore can pass the above test, he or she is part of a very tiny minority in this country.
You might say, “Yes, but my sophomore can operate a smart phone. And she is very socially aware.” Okay. Try using her anti-bullying training to jump-start her car when the battery is dead. See if his gender-identity sensitivity classes can help him prepare a simple tax return.
Today’s students spend as much time, or more, being “educated” as you did. But the quality and quantity of knowledge they obtain is not even close. There are only so many hours in a day, and in a childhood. I call the waste of our students’ precious time “educational rape.”
When faced with the question “How can we improve education?” the knee-jerk answer is “School Choice!” Unfortunately, if the choices are all designed and staffed by the same people who screwed up the traditional schools, the results might be even worse. I have to tell you, I have visited many ballyhooed “choice” schools that were more politically-correct indoctrination centers than the schools they replaced. And I didn’t find even their “star” students to be very well-prepared for success in the real world, be that college or career.
So how do we drain the school sewers? Honestly, it can’t be done from Washington, DC. Schools must be designed, organized, and operated by states and local districts, because presidents and congressmen and bureaucrats in Washington, DC can’t see what is happening on the ground in Billings or Topeka or Charlotte. Our new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, should agree that most functions of the federal Dept. of Education should be eliminated. We still need to ensure fair treatment of special needs and at-risk students. This is a case where federal mandates are in order, and they must be aligned with federal funds. But most curricular and methods decisions should be made locally, with local funding.
Competition from school choice is great. Participation by private employers – awesome. Private and religious schools? Home schooling? Excellent. Vouchers? Yes. Still, until and unless we parents get involved in our local schools, driving the educational process as active patrons and school board trustees, it will be more of the same.
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
Somebody once told me the world is gonna roll me
I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed
She was looking kind of dumb with her finger and her thumb
In the shape of an “L” on her forehead