Monday, November 23, 2009

Reeducating the Educators

I've been a teacher for a long time.
I genuinely like most of my students.
Students that I do not like are generally troublemakers, gangsters or overly spoiled.
I do my best to teach all of them in spite of themselves.
So reading this article was disturbing on many levels.

First, for all those who vilify public education, public education is what sets us apart from other nations. While we appear to have students not as well equipped, please understand that public schools do not have the luxury of denying students access to an education for any reason. Private schools can pick and choose their students, public schools must deal with kids who are often not ready for school and not supported at home.

Having said that, I feel that our nation is only as good as the schools we create. That inner city schools suffer poor testing results and high failure rates has more to do with the environment surrounding the schools than the schools themselves. It is difficult to teach in a warzone. That's what many of our urban schools have become. Because no parents are present or care enough to enforce rules, limits and goals, students are free to party, act as criminals and generally make the process of education difficult for every teacher and every student. Unfortunately there are those within powerful positions in society that would rather spend time blaming teachers than looking in the mirror. When I see almost every week another story about a parent threatening to sue the schools over dress codes, "unfairness" or other parental excuses, it is clear where the lack of achievement comes from.

So I was truly alarmed when I read this article. This article refers to a type of gross and obvious indoctrination that should be opposed by any member of any faculty that values free speech. Instead of teaching teachers how to reach students, how to handle problems, how to adapt lessons for maximum learning, this university is indulging in a type of self-serving political exercise that will not only drive away many intelligent students, but which could also fill schools with doctrinaire repositories that are far more concerned with spouting social justice than in teaching multiplication. This is absolutely NOT what our schools need. Yet this is a program closely allied with the goals of the Obama Administration. I have to wonder if they plan on systematically removing older teachers such as myself only to replace them with ideologues that will implement "change" as a matter of political elimination.

Scary, indeed. Read the story.

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