Parents have expressed their dissatisfaction with the schools for years, but they often seem not to know why they are bad. My "job," over several years of writing letters to newspapers and a recent column in my local paper, has been to inform the public of the reasons for the poor quality of the schools. In short, the schools are exactly the way they are intended to be: poor.
The reasons for dissatisfaction are many. Every facet of the schools is an easy target for criticism, from the teaching methods to the lunch services, from teacher certification to the elimination of recess, from homework to the teacher unions. If parents ran the schools, they would look nothing like the state-run disaster we are all forced to pay for with our taxes.
There is no such thing as "local control"
The problem is not "other people's" schools or "big city" schools. All the government-run schools are owned and run by the same people: government employees working in state and federal departments of "education." Those agencies totally control everyone's local public school systems. Thus, the public schools are uniform, and mediocre, everywhere...yes, even in "good" districts.
Yes, I know there are "local" school boards and administrators, but they decide only trivial details of their local schools. The major planning -- the big picture (curricula, rules, etc.) -- is designed and directed by the state education departments, which in turn are directed by Washington. Meanwhile, work rules that govern teachers are written by their unions with virtually no negotiating by local residents.
"The School Wars" -- articles listed in their own section -- describe the constant battle between parents and the schools. The two are always at odds because the purpose of the school system is the opposite of what most parents want. Parents want, and expect, their children to be given the tools of education -- the basic skills and knowledge that they need in order to have productive, meaningful and fulfilling lives.
However, the school system is designed for a different purpose: to turn out a "workforce" -- a mass of docile, dependent workers who will work in the largely government-controlled "workplace" of America. For that purpose, the schools are designed to train, or indoctrinate the children instead of educate them.
Thus, to me, the public school system is gradually destroying the very fabric of our country. It has been doing it for over one hundred years, and it is on purpose. If the schools were intended to be different from what they are, they would be. But unfortunately, the federal Commission that investigated public schools back in 1980 got it right:
"If a foreign power had imposed on us the mediocre school system we have, we would have considered it an act of war.
But as it is, we have imposed it upon ourselves."
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