FACTS AND FICTIONS: Who is to blame for America’s failing schools?

The most recent national study shows an education system that hasn’t improved in spite of high-level government attention and vastly increased funding. The only bright spot is the performance of charter schools. There is a message there. Increased funding and government hands-on programs and the imposition of national goals do not result in improved student performance.

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Is it the teachers’ fault? I don’t think so. Teacher ranks are not filled with stupid cast-offs who just can’t do anything but teach. Anyone who has stood in front of a class knows teaching is hard work that takes constant dedication and an ability to identify with student needs each and every day. Would more pay and benefits attract better teachers? Again, I think not. American students are quite capable of excelling in any international ranking system. Let’s rule out the problems of teachers who can’t teach and students who can’t learn.

I have heard people blame the Teacher’s Union. Why is that? I don’t remember the Teacher’s Union claiming they would improve student national scores. Like all unions, their concern was and is with the members of their union. They have improved teacher pay, working conditions, and benefits. Who does the Teacher’s Union negotiate with? No one owns our educational system. Therefore, they do not have to bargain with owners as do the steel or auto worker unions with the owners of their industry.  Like all public service unions, they do not negotiate with people who have financial skin in the game. That is a problem. But it is not central to the failure of our public education system in America.

Why do charter schools have a better record of educating our children? Are the teachers better? Do charter schools have more resources, better school building, teaching materials? Better pay and benefits for teachers? Again, the answer is no!

We, the parents of the children, are the problem. We have allowed the centralization virus to run rampant in America’s educational system. The reason, I believe, charter schools have better records is because they do not have so many regulations that govern how teachers teach in our public schools. Charter school teachers have far more flexibility in designing teaching programs that motivate students to learn. Charter schools can promote teachers based on merit, not longevity. They can also fire teachers who are not meeting their local standards.

Whether on a local, county, state, or national level, we have allowed the centralization process in our public schools to grow to the point it is unmanageable. More power must be given to local school systems, especially to the teachers. Let the teachers teach.

It is my top priority to develop captivating stories that people will want to read and talk about. But I also want my stories to give readers a deeper understanding of issues that may — and possibly already have — invaded their world. There is truth within every fiction if you know where to look. All of my stories, and the characters within them, are based on actual events and people. Like I have always said since my days in the CIA, were I permitted to talk or write about real-world intelligence activities, no one would believe the tales. I resort to fiction, hoping the readers can read between the lines.
Blog: factsandfictions.com | Twitter: @factsfictions80

2 Comments

Filed under centralization, education

2 responses to “FACTS AND FICTIONS: Who is to blame for America’s failing schools?

  1. John Nugent

    Dear Barry: From a graduate business school perspective, today many business school professors have never held a senior level business position. Rather, they have just moved from degree to degree to teaching, with little to no real world senior business experience. Hence many students today receive a business education that often lacks an education in how businesses work and compete (real world context). Moreover, the principal accreditor for business schools in the U.S., the AACSB, has for years focused almost totally on ‘research’ quantity in accrediting schools. If one reads the titles of the research coming out of business schools, the problem with such a focus becomes readily apparent. As a London Financial Times article asked: “Why do doctors read medical journals, and lawyers read law journals, but businessmen do not read business journals;” the article showed, the first two carry information useful to the professionals in those two fields, while business journal are written principally for other academics – not business professionals. Moreover, the awarding of a Ph.D. in business is a travesty. As Harvard has done for over 100 years, business doctorates are in the form of a professional degree, a doctor of business administration (DBA), with only the arts and sciences domains awarding a Ph.D. degree. Maybe other business schools should take a hint from Harvard.
    In fact to demonstrate the level to which problems exist, I was instructed to insure I allowed students to use calculators on graduate school exams. How low can we sink? The ability to do basic math by hand had always been a requirement in times past. And English language writing skills are also appalling today.
    So it is likely, many levels of education have issues. And often senior level administrators foster the continuation of inferior educational practices.

  2. K – 12? Certainly! It’s the parents fault to the largest extent. Do not completely excuse the teachers though nor their unions. Too many of them are poor at their jobs and cannot be fired due to both the unions and the fact that minorities, especially the Blacks, are over-represented among their numbers.

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