“The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas

Monday, June 02, 2008

Sink or swim

Here's some predictable news from our dreadful public school system....

The Council Bluffs Community School District in Council Bluffs Iowa is recommending a novel approach to the grading of homework. If a student does not turn in his or her assignments, the grade will be a 50 instead of a big fat zero. So in other words, if a kid doesn’t do squat and turns in absolutely nothing, then he or she automatically earns 50 points.

This idea has already caught on with lots of schools across the country and the rationale that Council Bluffs uses is pretty much the same; that is to prevent a bad grade from doing irreparable harm.

The educational leadership loves this idea because all of a sudden, a whole bunch of flunkies can expend a minimal amount of effort to pass a class. The slackers love it because their apathy and laziness is handsomely rewarded. And some parents like it because they are already so detached from their child’s abysmal academic performance that all of these second chances mean that they still don’t have to get involved in their education.

The teachers and administrators that endorse such a disastrous program are the most awful examples of educators I can think of. What kinds of employees might these shiftless slackers become after graduation? Their dumb-asses will never succeed in college, so high school is their last chance to learn about success and failure. And the lazy teachers just keep passing them along. You could understand if they were jocks or something. Passing along the star quarterback who is a failure in the classroom, still helps out the football program. That I get, but passing a slack-jawed, desk drooler who doesn't contribute anywhere else doesn't do any thing but harm the kid in the long run.

Nothing motivates like the humiliation and embarrassment of failure in front of one's peers. And it just might be the kick-in-the-pants the parents need to finally pull him out of high-school and enroll him in cosmetology, Roto-Rooter, or bookie classes. After all, the rest of us will always need somebody to cut our hair, plunge our toilets, or take our bets.


Kevin said...

One homework assignment isnt going to kill your grade. This is a terrible idea. It teaches children that even if they don't do anything, they still get half credit. I mean, if the kid shows that he knows the material, and does really well on the test, then sure, thats not such a bad idea, but don't just automatically give him a 50. I swear, my generation and the generations to come is going to be the dumbest group of individuals.

freedom2learn said...

Dreadful public schools.... I'm curious... what would anyone think the biggest difference between a public school and a catholic (or any private) school would be?
I asked our district's assistant principal - who came from a catholic school - and she said.... attendance - not an answer I expected.

Kevin said...

Education in general has become pitiful. Other than science and math classes, where the material isn't subjective, i didn't hardly learn anything i couldn't have figured out on my own. History and English classes have become a joke. If you don't think like the teacher, it is difficult to do well. I felt like i learned more at home from my parents than i did from my teachers at school.

Ed said...

I think the biggest difference is the insidious teachers' union. Private school teachers usually don't belong to the union. The teachers' union, like all labor unions, is bent on job preservation, salary preservation, no background checks, reward for laziness and incompetence, impossible to fire teachers, politically correct curriculum, and a demand for ever increasing amounts of tax-payer money despite utter failure to produce competitive students.

freedom2learn said...

I kinda think public education should work like the welfare system. If you can't afford to educate your child otherwise, then apply for a free government education.

Kevin said...

Well Freedom, the problem with that idea is that people that live in nice suburbs in a way pay for it, through taxes, and the education is still something to be laughed at.

freedom2learn said...

The people in the nice suburbs already pay for it. If there were fewer people in the PS system they should be paying less.

Ed said...

The problem with the PS system is the same problem as with any government program, there's no incentive to produce a quality product because there's no competition. Americans expect public education as if it's a birth-right, and in theory I agree with that. As a nation we should be insisting that every child have access to top-drawer learning.

Fine, take the tax money that the federal government spends on each child on average---that's $9,138/student/year, and give a voucher to parents for each student and let the parents take that money to whatever school they choose.

Within 1 year, the US would have the best public education system in the world. That competitioin would force schools to offer the best curricula in order to attract the most students. Some schools would be forced to close and others would immediately open in that district to get that money.

Competition, it's a beautiful thing.

Too bad the insidious teachers' union, with it's strangle-hold on liberals in Washington, won't allow it because they, like all lazy government workers, are deathly afraid of competition.

freedom2learn said...

I agree, competition would improve things. I think we will see a national curriculum before that though. That way everyone is the same level of dumb and that would eliminate the choice. Wouldn't it?

I'm not sure about the vouchers. I think it would be better, but if the government is giving you money for your child's education and you choose a private school, won't the government have worked its way into our private schools as well. The money surely wouldn't be without strings. If we had more tax money back in our pockets in the first place, we wouldn't need the voucher as badly.

Ed said...

Good points all, freedom. For vouchers to work, there would certainly have to be a no-strings guarantee. The less government involvment in education, the better.

I read an article yesterday about a movement to phase out history, social studies, and government classes, and phase in civic responsibility, living green, and cultural studies classes for middle schoolers in the US. There's your national curriculum in a nutshell.

Finally, if they instituted the FairTax, we would keep literally ALL our money and could spend it any way we like. You're right, that would be the best solution for all parents.

Kevin said...

Why can't you two be the ones on capitol hill arguing. I feel like the ideas you two come up with are always the first ones that get tossed out up there.

I have an offtopic question. What do labor unions do that actually benefits America?

freedom2learn said...

Ed, I think they have already phased those things out - unofficially. And since we stupid people (public school patrons) haven't protested they must plan on making it official.
The reading books my kids have used are saturated with multi-cultural and increasingly "green" dogma. I had a social studies teacher tell me it was "än unimportant subject" when I expressed concern about my son's grade.
Until I began homeschooling my middle child, I didn't realize how messed up the public school curriculum is. And then the teachers have the nerve to tell me what how messed up my kid will be because I took him out of there. Funny huh?

I'm amazed that for all of your remarks about public education you haven't had teachers on here defending it - or parents who can afford private school justifying their use of public school.

Kevin said...

Freedom, let me tell as someone who has recently endured this public education, homeschooling was a good idea. It gives you the opportunity to instil the values you wish your child to learn into your child. Public education has become less about children learning and more about brainwashing. So many kids nowadays don't know what they want, and its those same kids who will one day decide who runs this country. I had a teacher in high school try and tell me that Richard Nixon was the worse president America has ever had simply because of Watergate. Are you kidding me? What about Jimmy Carter? If scandal makes a president bad, why wasn't good ole' Bill in that list. These are the kinds of things the public education will teach your child if your child doesn't learn to think for themselves first.

Ed said...

freedom, there are in my opinion pockets of quality teaching within the public system, however; for the most part you are correct, political correctness, multiculturalism, green dogma, and self esteem are the primary concerns of public education. There are several public systems in the suburbs of Birmingham which are surprisingly excellent. They give even-handed treatement to US History, Social Studies, and Government classes. There may be green and PC distractions around but that's going to be the case with life in general.

My son's US history book actually acknowledged that the Civil War was not primarily about slavery, but about textile commerce, tariffs, and States' rights of secession.

Despite my generalizations, not ALL public education is dreadful, but a majority I think is.

Of the people who can afford private schooling, many of them are liberals who are more concerned with their kids' self esteem, belief in global warming, and sexual liberation than they are in actual learning. I wish some teachers would challenge me here. I'd love the debate.