Friday, August 9, 2013


                    A CHILD EDUCATED ONLY AT SCHOOL,
                           IS A CHILD UNEDUCATED.
                                             George Santayana

What do these names have in common?
      Sean Connery, John D. Rockefeller, Richard Branson, Abraham Lincoln, Racheal Ray, Bill Gates, Will Smith, Henry Ford, Dave Thomas, Pete Cashmore, Michael Dell, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Sean 'P Diddy' Combs, Kirk Kerkoran, Gurbakesh Chahal, Mark Zuckerburg?
      Take a little time and think about it.  Meanwhile, I have had a lingering opinion that we have an education system that has gone so far off the track that the real purpose of it has eluded even those who are engaged in it.  Something is badly wrong and there is a lot of hand wringing about it but no real progress being made towards revising it.  There is a recent revision and if adopted will put way more students out into the land of functioning or dysfunctioning, hoards.
     Look how easy it has been to allow education to put so many into untenable situation especially in the major metro areas like Detroit, New York, East St. Louis, and many others  Drop out rates in major metro areas sometimes climb to 70%.
     The average college bound student is destined to come out with a degree and more than $50,000 debt.  Or even more than that.  Making them indentured servants bound to the debt for years.  Functioning illiterates is not so uncommon that you more than likely can name at least one that you know.
     There is something wrong.  Many teachers work in the trenches trying to affect the outcome of their students in a positive manor when the teacher in the next room does not.  The work that one does is undone when the student goes up the line and hits a teacher that cannot advance the student or does not care.  All the while the school boards are more interested in hiring superintendents with the letters PHD behind their name.
     I have had some great teachers that have made a difference in my life even today.  And I have had poor and incompetent teachers that have the same effect.  I am sure that everyone of you have the same experience.  We are so chained to the NEA and other unions that tenure is more important than performance and so the system is rift with those who cannot be fired for incompetence.
     School boards are also so tied to how much they can sue the state to increase funding that the concerns of actual education become secondary.  Buildings are more important than employees and income from the state revenues is above all more important.
     Is this outrageous coming from me?  Look to yourselves and your kids.  What group has the highest percentile in the ACT scores every year?  Home Schooled.  What schools rank highest in overall excellence?  Private schools.  Who are the groups that the government would like to do away with?  Home schooling and private schools.
     Education needs to be turned on its head and rebooted.  Do I have all the answers?  NO, but I do know that a student coming through the 4th grade should know how to read and write, and do simple math.  I do know that the content and challenge of students to learn about multiple subjects is more important than if we have Astro Turf on the football field.  Students should be able to write a check, cook a meal, sew on a button, read and comprehend the newspaper, and should know how to critically think about any subject at hand.  This is not being done today.  The ability to come up with the right mathematical answer is more important than the equation used to find it.
     One of the things that is hot on the Internet right now is the 1949 8th grade test to graduate from school.  Remember back then you only needed 8 grades and a certificate from a teachers college to be a teacher.  I have had my grandpa's graduation questions from 1924 and I would hate to take it myself.  So everyone gripes about teaching for the test?  Seems I always had to pass a test to get a grade.
     OK, about those names.  What do they have in common?  None of those successful people had a college education.  An instructor for children's violin once told me that "they are too young to know it is suppose to be hard".  I guess this group of names did not have the handicap of professors telling them what won't work.  Oh yea, and the founder of Federal Express put his business plan in as a college paper and got a C- on it.  The instructor said it could never work.

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