Posted by: Jim E | March 10, 2013

Schools: The 3 R’s…Or Diversity, Gender, Lifestyle, Racial Politics…

I have been out of the school business for 13 years, so I hesitate to talk about this topic, changes happen so quickly…but what is happening is so upsetting and even frightening in public School bus and kidseducation today and especially urban districts…this has been going on for decades, but like I was told when we moved to Arkansas and was planting bushes in the yard and how fast they grow…the first year they walk, the next year they run and the following year they gallop…well, I guess we are in the galloping stage at this point as far as education is concerned…it is moving nearer the abyss as time goes on…

Just this last week the Little Rock school district hired its fourth superintendent of schools in the 5 years we have lived here…not unlike many urban schools across the country, it is musical chairs as far as the superintendent position is concerned…they come in and do certain things and the teachers have to put up with the changes and additions to their work load…and then the superintendents leave or are fired…leaving the damage and debris behind…and go to another urban school district somewhere and do it all over again…with, of course, a very nice monetary reward for being Schoolshere…

Most, I would say all, but I don’t know for sure…but most urban districts of any size are run by very liberal school boards and city councils and mayors…and have been in control of those districts for generations…at least 50 years or more…and the same politics have run them right into the ground…they are mostly broke, close to insolvency…but are still run by the same leadership…it is the reason why open-enrollment, private, charter and home schooling is booming…some would say it is “white flight” but not so…most urban schools find minority students/parents are trying to “get out” as fast and as hard as they can too…but many are trapped for various reasons…most urban schools are dropping enrollment every year…and they hire consultants to run surveys to find out why…I sit amazed when I hear or read that…they know why…but they think with a few minor physical changes people will come running back…

Parents/students want a safe place to go to school…and they also want a school that teaches them to read, write and do math…they know that education is the way ahead…it doesn’t take a Schools Charter schoolsdegree in rocket science to know what the problem is…parents/students who want an education know that when kids go to “bad schools”…there is the pressure is to skip school or not do the assignments or hassle students who do care…and parents/students watch as “good kids” who want to go to school and learn, are harassed and threatened in various ways to conform with the crowd…kids who want nothing to do with gangs or drugs and other negative behaviors are pushed by peer pressure…to join in…it breaks their parents hearts..mine too…

  Just this week there were headlines that 80% of graduates of New York public schools can’t read…and that is those going to a community college…in Philadelphia they are closing 27 schools, parents are upset but the students aren’t there to fill them…they need to close them to save money to keep the rest open…it isn’t because there students aren’t living there…but they have gone to charter schools, private schools and home schooling…why?…because of the same reasons…the schools are in poor shape…they are not safe…and they can’t get an education there…because of those reasons…and this is true all over the large cities in America…the question is, what do we do?…

Schools good teachersWell, we can blame teachers…that is always a favorite…and a straw-man…most teachers would give anything to find a classroom full of students who want to learn…but what they get are many kids who are there for anything but to learn and to do the work necessary to learn…but there are always some who will learn…and the teachers always help them to do the best they can…I remember a story of a boy who was a troublemaker…and one of his teachers told him, “I have heard all the stories about you. But I  don’t believe a word of it.”…with that teacher, that boy thrived and turned his life around…it happens all the time…but it is hard in a school that cares more about politics than the 3 R’s…

In these districts they have decided that politics of various liberal beliefs take precedence over the 3 R’s…in other words they have decided that teaching a particular agenda is more important than education…in fact that kind of education short-circuits the amount of time on history, math, reading, literature, writing and the arts…in those areas traditional education is forgotten almost entirely…for example, the history of this country takes a back seat to the history of  the 60’s, or feminism, homosexuality and racial politics…forgetting people and things that made our country what it is…but schools that do have a traditional educational program are filled with students who want that kind of education…because usually it comes with a safe School Disciplineenvironment and an emphasis on learning and achieving…

I remember when I was still working…the superintendent came to our school for an event and commented how well-behaved and yet open our kids were at this assembly…the school of 3,000 kids were in the field-house for the event…of course this didn’t and doesn’t happen by accident…we worked very hard everyday to have that kind of behavior…the kids all knew what we expected and were reminded of it all the time…in word and deed…did we have a prison-like atmosphere?…absolutely not…in fact we prided ourselves in how we treated kids with love and respect…and told them so…we wanted a “school atmosphere”…a place where “teachers could teach and students could learn”…

School kids in high schoolAnd as I told the superintendent that day, “There can be no achievement without discipline.”…I believe that today…that is what a school environment should be…a learning environment…it’s what all schools need…it isn’t easy, it’s hard work…but I know it can be done because we did it…both administrators and staff…committed to kids learning…students behaving as students should…because they will not learn without it…and most urban schools prove my point…and unless there is a turnaround in curriculum that educates rather than indoctrinates…and high expectations of behaviors and attitudes, public schools, especially in urban settings, will be a thing of the past…instead of educating, they will be housing kids for 12 years…for those parents/students who do not want to learn and want to live off the rest of society…not a pleasing picture…but true… 

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