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The Real Reason Why Johnny Can’t Read

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Posted on October 12 2010 9:00 am
Devoted to his lovely wife 30 years, father of two who grew up exceeding his wildest expectations, B.A. Psychology, M. Ed. Counseling, former busboy, journeyman, Church's Chicken cook, purified ice and water salesman, Coca-Cola serviceman, certified public school educator, CCNA, CCNP, Senior Network Admin for a large school district in south Texas

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It is news to no one that our educational system sucks.  American students are consistently out-performed by students in other countries year after year.

Why?

Liberals, progressives, socialists, communists, “compassionate” conservatives (i.e., neocons, RINOs, liberal Republicans) , teacher unions, and other leftist groups would like you to believe that it is some combination of bad schools, teachers, and financing.  The solution, as they see it, is to engage in a game of Three Card Monty where students are shuffled from schools that are “failing” them, to schools that will allow them to “succeed” –as though success is a magical elixir of brick, mortar, and fairy dust that is present in some schools and absent in others.

In our leftist-controlled educational system, the onus of responsibility for academic achievement rests primarily with the teacher and not the student.  Thus, teachers in Houston can actually be fired if their students perform poorly on standardized tests.  Such policies have the effect of putting the student in charge of the classroom, holding the teacher hostage to student performance on a test.  Implicit in this new “accountability” is the notion that teachers, at least in Houston, are not sufficiently motivated to teach their students what they need to know.   Threatening teachers with loss of their jobs if their students do not achieve some arbitrary standard of success while simultaneously coddling disruptive, lazy, and otherwise apathetic students is a surefire recipe for disaster.   Despite Hollywood’s best efforts to convey otherwise, teachers are not miracle workers.  I have known and worked with many teachers throughout my professional life, and very few could have been catagorized as “bad” teachers.  I realize this is anecdotal and proves nothing, but I have a hard time believing that a majority of teachers go to work everyday with the express purpose of turning their students into societal failures.

Does our educational system suck because we don’t throw enough money at it?  According to the National Center for Education Statistics we are currently spending over $10,000 per student every year.  Multiply that by the number of students in a typical classroom - say, 25 - and you get $250,000.  Are we to believe that a quarter of a million dollars is insufficient to adequately teach 25 students over the course of 180 instructional days?  That comes out to about $1,400 a day.  I think I could find a way to adequately teach 25 students on a hell of a lot less than $1,400 a day.

Part of the problem with our educational system has to do with leftist infiltration of our colleges and universities.  Forty years ago, no one would have guessed that a terrorist would escape justice on a technicality, become a university professor, and write books on pedagogy with a decidedly radical leftist slant that would actually be purchased by colleges and universities that offer degrees in education.  Teacher’s unions like the National Educational Association (NEA) can be blamed for promoting the work of radicals and encouraging teachers to engage in activities of dubious merit.  Political correctness,  a Twilight Zone of strange and seemingly arbitrary mores and rules, also contributes to the deterioration of our educational system.  It is forbidden to engage in prayer (especially Christian prayer) in public schools, but  perfectly acceptable to teach 5th graders that sexual intercourse can include vaginal, anal, and oral penetration.  Strange times, indeed.

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