K-12: The Schools You Deserve

Jun 12, 2019 by

Thomas Jefferson declared: “The government you elect is the government you deserve.” Wouldn’t the same go for a school system? If you select it, you must deserve it.

Plato said an early version of what would later be attributed to Edmund Burke: ”The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” Albert Einstein put it this way: “The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.”

 In  education, we have a startling amount of tolerating and encouraging.

What part is our responsibility? If we allow left-wing social engineers to take over our country and dumb down our children, maybe we are substantially to blame. It might not be accurate to say we select these people. But we do put up with them. A third party observing us might well conclude we prefer it this way.
 Jefferson’s quote seem to suggest a cosmic morality or karmic reality that will inevitably reward or punish us. I think with the education people, the logic is a lot sloppier. They’re like a second cousin, not a very attractive person, and he shows up at your door and asks if he can stay the night. His car is broken down. A month later he is still there. You didn’t do anything to deserve this. But you did accept him in your house for a day. You never made him leave. That’s what education officials have somehow achieved. We’re supposed to believe their ruinous  presence is normal, is good for us, and good for children. All of which is dubious. These education commissars are arguably a costly drag on the country.

   Maybe he’s not even a real cousin, merely abusing the claimed relationship. Maybe it’s like Six Degrees of Separation where a stranger tangles you up in lies. Remember that movie? Here’s the story: “An affluent New York couple find their lives touched, intruded upon, and compelled by a mysterious young black man who is never quite who he says he is.” That would be actor Will Smith. 

In short, he is a lot like the entire Education Establishment and its behavior toward this country for the last hundred years. Claiming to know all about education. No, they apparently don’t. Claiming to be concerned about your children. No, not much at all. Claiming to care about this great country. Yes, they care about transforming it fundamentally, just as Obama promised to do. 

We are never sure what Will Smith is up to. But we suspect he is hanging around to take advantage of us. If we don’t ask him to leave, then it’s our fault.

All that’s required for evil men to succeed is that good men do nothing. This seems to be the essence of our problem. Not enough people did something. Not enough people said, I’m mad as hell and I’m not taking it anymore. The rough figure is that the US has 50 million functional illiterates. Maybe if all the young people were completely illiterate, the older people might start to get angry. 
What actually would it take? 

Yes, that is the vital question: what would awaken the American people? As it is now, we drift along in a slumber. The media are silent. The Ivy League universities are silent. The foundations are silent. The frog in the not-quite-boiling water is silent.
 When we stand back and observe our Education Establishment, we are dumbfounded by their audacity. Imagine that John Dewey and colleagues would think of taking over the ed schools in order to take over the country. That they would render children unable to read (this is my conclusion) as a passport to a socialist paradise. They are indeed saucy baggage. They deserve a big dose of contempt.

There can be few more useless human beings than those who prattle on about educational advancement while the children are mugged into silence. Almost as bad are the good citizens who allow them to prattle on.

So much of what we call educational theory is nothing but marketing. They make up some new mumbo-jumbo such as New Math; and they say this is the ultimate method, just what your kids need. Everything the education professors come up with is presented to the public in this amazing end-of-history language. Finally, they claim, true education is at last triumphant. That’s how we got Sight-words, Reform Math, Constructivism, and much more.

Five years later all the kids are a little dumber. But the parents are somehow kept in line. Which brings us back to the punchline. If good people do nothing, bad people will prevail. That is the story of public school education in the 20th century. There has been a lot of prevailing going on.

The Education Establishment’s great triumph is to make themselves appear safe, not too threatening, somehow not prime players. All their bad theories and methods somehow turn up on their own, unlucky accidents. There is the big mistake that Americans make.
  The Education Establishment controls what goes on in K-12 classrooms. Give these people credit, and then give them blame and punishment. If we don’t, then we deserve the schools we end up with.

Bruce Deitrick Price’s new book is “Saving K-12 – What happened to our public schools? How do we fix them?”

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1 Comment

  1. Mr. Price needs to admit that public schools cannot be fixed.

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