Goodbye Barry - Welcome Home AMERICA!

Monday, September 28, 2009

OMG!! I Find Myself Agreeing With Obama... But Only On ONE Issue!

The AP headline reads, "More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation", which is an excellent idea. Especially since it has no impact whatsoever on ME! I am on a permanent "summer vacation", having completed my requirement to spend seven hours per day in our public "education" system decades ago.

As I matured, and - hopefully - gained in wisdom, I have come to appreciate that which I learned under the tutelage of Miss Pease (my 1st grade teacher and first love), Mr. Robert Twitty (my 7th grade science teacher and assistant principal), and Ms. Clark (my 9th grade speech and drama teacher). After completing elementary school I was not a particularly responsive student during the rest of my basic education. (As I recall, I attended 5 different schools, and at the time took some satisfaction in "holding out" on the system. It was undoubtedly true that the only person I was hurting by coasting was myself... but, like most teenagers, I was the smartest person I knew. Also like most teenagers, I lacked sound judgment, which I demonstrated by "cheating the system" out of being dazzled by my genius.)

In the mid-1960's there developed an educational philosophy of augmenting (which immediately became replacing) increase of student knowledge with increasing feelings of self-worth... and this was before anybody had even heard of Dr. Phil. For a child to be labeled a failure was damaging to his/her ego, and was to be avoided at all costs!


This is approximately the time when we replaced the grade of "F", for failure, with the grade of "U" for unsatisfactory. It was considered less blunt and less damning than the word previously used to describe a students inability - or lack of desire - to master the subject matter presented in our schools. Simultaneously, we began lowering our grading standards so as not to damage the ego of those who otherwise would be labeled as failures. The curriculum was also modified to support that end - replacing established and accepted facts with easier to remember information, and eliminating the less pleasant elements of history that some may find offensive.

As a result, the United States has slipped from world leadership in education, to somewhere around number three or four in science and mathematics. We have even dropped in our functional literacy rate... we have young people graduating from high school who can't read their diploma easily! What do we excel in? Texting, cell phone usage, XBox, PSP, long-boarding and substance abuse! These "abilities" are all absolutely worthless in the workplace.


We DO need longer hours and more days in our public education system... but ONLY if the system focuses on appropriate education, rather than political indoctrination. We need to insure that those students who wish to succeed in the real world master the basic lessons of elementary school before going on to middle or junior high school. Restore the schools ability to "hold back" a student who hasn't acquired the necessary skills to proceed to the next grade or level, and find alternative education for those who are less academically inclined - technical training. We need more workers than we need supervisors and managers - get those who are more "hands on" oriented prepared to enter the workforce at an acceptable entry level. Those who are neither academically or technically inclined will find plenty of work at McDonald's or Wal-Mart... or in politics!

On the other hand, students do need some free time to recharge. Sitting in a classroom all year long, for eight to ten hours a day, and then having homework would not be conducive to the good mental health of students. Children need some time to interact with their family members and peers to develop social skills. An eight hour class day, six days a week, for forty-six weeks with limited homework during the school year would probably be sufficient for us to recover the human resources we have crippled during the past fifty years... by 2040.

We do not need to be Draconian in educating our children, but we do need to return to the basics, restore a higher standard, and require our system to provide more student motivation.

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