"WE ARE ALL BORN IGNORANT,
BUT ONE HAS TO WORK
HARD TO REMAIN STUPID."
This is a title that generally sends the teachers I know into defensive mode and I am sure to get some flack for my opinion. To give a caveat, I have friends that teach or were teachers. I have had some great teachers. I have had some really bad teachers. Mostly what I find when I start on a position like this it is most likely when I hit too close to home that the most comment comes flying by my ear. But that won't stop me, you have to remember that I despise the 'politically correct'. And I have taken an oath to and believe the provisions of the Constitution. That quaint document that so many are ready to shred to further their own agendas. So here goes.
I quote from respected teacher, professor, and film maker Ken Spurgeon. "I come into contact with 500 new people every semester. One out of 30 students might have heard of Quantrill's raid. These stories are just not getting to the people of Kansas." Ken is a Wichita native with a Masters in History that makes his living as a teacher, recently at Cowley County Community College and at a local high school. Ken makes films about Civil War History and most especially films about Kansas History.
Starting long before this column I have written from time to time warning about the Common Core Curriculum even before it was called that. In the 1990's there was a movement to start rewriting history. I discuss this with legislators and they pass off the responsibility to the State School Board with the statement that standards are rewritten every seven years and by the time we would introduce and pass a bill to change standards the new ones would be in effect and then it would start all over again.
The result is not only history but other subjects that are rewritten to the standard popular politically correct standards. Thus it means that students enters college not knowing about Quantrill, Amellia Earhart, Abrahm Burnett, Major Joel Elliott, Sidi Wirt Spreckles, Buffalo Jones, Buffalo Bill Mathewson, Sydney Toller, Maude Stevens Wagner, and on and on. This because the importance of Kansas History is only required in seventh grade, American History in Junior year, and Government as a senior.
As one 7th grade math teacher told me that students at the fourth grade level are not equipped for the common core curriculum that deals in concepts and need practical everyday math. It also makes the parent unable to help the kid with homework. The Union is more interested in pay and conditions for teachers and the actual education is by a teacher that must either abide by the system or go rogue and actually teach something useful.
There is more being paid attention to what is not fed to the kids and which bathroom they are going to use. Is it a mystery as to why the top ACT scores have been home-schooled?
Most of the teachers I know are willing to actually help their students and yet are frustrated and even threatened if they deviate from the dictated curriculum.
Thank goodness the madness of the legislature has settled for a while and what is going to happen on funding. The money that was spent on lawyers and lawsuits can go into education again. And I bet that after the next session of the legislature there will still be people dissatisfied and it may just start all over again. In the meantime more kids go into college or the work force not equipped for either.
Isn't it time to stop using the schools to indoctrinate a philosophy? Is it not time to just teach knowledge again and not use the lesson as a platform to create duplicated drones?
Don't you want to raise people who can discuss issues and create solutions rather than yell, scream, and call names if they disagree with you?
The statement that "it takes a village to raise a child" may have been a great philosophy when the society wore animal robes, warred on their neighbors, and efforts were all on survival. Today it takes individuals who can critically think, separate from the group think, and yet can pull together groups and work in teams. The last thing the world needs are more Yes people. We need creativity, abstract thought, and a root in values.
To do otherwise is willful ignorance.