I have had a half-dozen posts perculating in my brain this past week or two, and never set down into journal form, so expect a spattering over the next couple-three days as I get around to finally purging them. The first, though, and possibly second most important (of what I am thinking about now) is about education. Huntsville Times, a couple of days ago, had a column about how we should discourage drop outs. Today's lead story is about how our school systems (in Alabama) are going to go through another round of cuts. I'm sure these two things are pretty much national in scope. They show the premiere problem facing our schools: this idea that it is somehow an inalienable right, so inalienable that is actionable not to attend, and once they attend it is better to do anything, absolutely anything, rather than allow them not continue to attending.
Is there a bigger waste of increasingly limited state resources than to force warm bodies into seats they do not wish to occupy? We pay teachers to teach entire "d sections" of students barely coasting along in a system they do not like; a system that returns the favor by not liking them. Principals do not want them there, teachers do not, but most importantly, they do not want to be there. They are bored with the system and they lash out. The only good it does for them to fill the halls is a portion of federal money is given over for their occupation (as I understand it) and their parents get free baby-care.
On most things, I identify myself as a moderate, but this is not true. Moderate implies that I am neutral in the Dungeons & Dragons sense of the word, torn between some policies that our supposed political poles offer: the Democrats and the Republicans. This, of course, is false. Not only are they basically the same party (both have increased spending and government control, while claiming that only the other does so) but I think it is long past the time where we need to stop thinking in terms of them. This is for another post, besides to say that I am a "Pragmatist". I often claim the name of my political party is the "Grey" party, but in reality, had I to pick an actual name, it would likely be the American Pragmatist Party and one question asked for every policy is: how does this directly benefit the American people so much as to justify a change in their lifestyle and a use of their tax money? If the benefit given to them is not equal, or greater, then why not let them deal without it? In terms of education, these are some of the ideas that come to my mind:
I am not sure how beneficial any of this is, or if people would go for or act like trying to bandage our broken tax-sink of a system is the real answer. Almost of my teacher friends say apathy is growing steadily, that budget problems are increasing, and describe fighting for funding to for real teaching as opposed to text-book recital...so, honestly, it seems like something would have to be done. But the first thing that has to be done is to stop treating schools like "free" baby-sitters, to stop diluting the diploma so that everyone can, and must have one, and to stop tying teachers and administrator hands behind their back when it comes to keeping discipline and enacting education. Not everyone is going to teach the same way, and it's a big disservice to force good teachers to act mediocre so that bad teachers, whose jobs are assured by tenure, can wing it half the time.
Si Vales, Valeo
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Written by Doug Bolden
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