Monday, December 3, 2007

Who's Working for the Children?

"The State...has a vested interest in promoting attitudes that would tend to make us skeptical of our own abilities, fearful of the motives of others, and emotionally dependent upon external authorities for purpose and direction in our lives."
-- Butler D. Shaffer, from Americans for Limited Government. Mar 15, 06

Everybody involved in public school – board members, administrators, teachers, social workers, coaches, etc. – all say they do it for the children. But do they really? The fact is that they work for the government in order to benefit themselves. They do what the government wants them to do. They all work according to the rules and methods that the government sets. They do not work for the kids.

The teachers have union negotiators to do their bidding at contract time. In my town the union bargains for smaller classes (less workload) and has trimmed the teaching day down to five periods out of an eight-period day. If that ever gets down to four, the teachers will only teach half a day, or ninety work days per year. Thus, taxpayers must pay more and more even though the teachers do less and less.

Administrators, by law, are not allowed to have a union, but they have an “association” that does virtually the same things a union does. The result is that the members continue to get huge raises while limiting their responsibilities and liabilities. Does that help the students or the community? And the psychiatrists...does their labeling and drugging help the children? Never.

Superintendents pretend to work for the community. Ours even claims to have a “plan,” and yet he gets his orders from the State Dept. of Ed., and they get them from the federal DOE. Administrators have little tie to their town.

Do the political parties do anything for children? No. They use the children and the schools as pawns in their games. For example, last year’s flap over junk-food sales. The issue is a political football that has little to do with children’s health or doing the right thing. It’s about money and power.

Let me ask, are any of the politicians themselves personally interested in the welfare of children (or anyone else) except when they can appear to be benefactors, giving away other people’s money? No. They are always seeking angles that will help them to get re-elected – a newspaper article or photo holding hands with the elderly sick, or prize-winning children and such. Do they help the children? No. They welcome cash money from the teachers unions. That’s who they work for.

The PTA is required by its own rules to obey the wishes of the teacher unions. (How nuts is that!) Thus, the PTA’s hands are tied even when union wishes are against the interests of the children, as they usually are. Thus, many well-meaning parents are effectively silenced on school policies.

The PTO waves a banner that says, “Gee, the schools don’t have enough money, so let’s all bake cookies to create the appearance of helping the schools. The PTO may offer parents ways to feel “involved,” but it has no effect on how the schools educate or treat the children.

Over the years, local school boards have approved all the bad programs such as whole language, fuzzy math, junk-food-for-profit, child-drugging, tenure, annual pay raises for mediocrity, etc., but have no constructive ideas. In fact, they seldom even discuss schooling or learning. The board is merely a front for deceptive, failing, and corrupt practices. They act as though bad schools are what the public wants.

Here’s an email from a friend: “Hotshot lawyers and others who find their way onto school boards believe that it is a high moral obligation on their part to implement the system that is handed to them. They never step back and ask,‘Is this system good?’ or, ‘Is the system fundamentally corrupt?’ Never having addressed those questions, they congratulate themselves for being supporters of "education." But they are the blind leading the blind.”

That leaves the parents. Do you work for your children? I heard of a man who called his son, “Sir.” When asked why he used that name for the boy, the man said simply, “Because I work for him.”

Ned Vare is an architectural designer, artist and author, a former private school teacher, rancher, businessman, elected official.

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