I have been a pastor for over 40 years. However, in 2002 I decided to supplement my pay and retirement by entering education. In two years I had my Master’s degree and was teaching English in the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th grades. It took only six years to burn out. After a brief respite, I began working on my Master’s degree in special education and working at a preschool, where teaching is fun again.
The years that I taught in high school were eye opening and startling. I was raised in a generation that feared the teachers because the “board of education” hung in the principal’s office. That board taught respect. In those days, if a student was paddled at school, the parents taught their student a second lesson on respect with their board. Today’s students cannot even imagine how it was. But, our education was of the highest quality. So, what has happened to education in America?
In ONE WORD, I can give you the reason for our dumbed-down schools.
In ONE WORD, I can give you the solution that would make schools super successful.
Today’s parents have no idea what goes on in many school classes. (Please, understand that there are good schools and good teachers.) However, in those schools that are failing to teach students the basics there is a common denominator—it is not bad teachers. In one word, the reason that our schools are failing is—DISCIPLINE. Actually, it is the lack thereof.
If you don’t believe me, I challenge you to volunteer as a substitute in your children’s school. Instead of taking a two week vacation, spend two weeks substituting in the classes where your children do not attend, but their friends do. After two weeks, you will understand why most teachers can hardly wait until the two months of summer vacation—it was three months when I was a kid and five months when my grandfather was in school. His one-room-schoolhouse education had a higher quality than today’s.
Disrespect for education runs rampant. Most students go to school to “socialize” and “clown” around. Class is just another social center, and any teacher who tries to teach is a nuisance. So, many students deliberately pull every stunt and trick to stall and sidetrack the teacher. For example, in our school it was a “right” for the kids to get up and walk across the room to get tissue (tissue provided by taxpayers) to blow their noses. Students would literally take turns getting up and getting the tissue (without asking permission or apologizing for interrupting the teacher), and while walking from and back to their desks, they would bug or talk with whomever they wanted for as long as they wanted. It would literally take 30 minutes or more of every class period to just get the class settled down so that I could teach for a few minutes. That was just one of hundreds of tricks that students used every day.
Teachers cannot “lecture” as my teachers did—many schools forbid it. So, teachers have to invent ways to teach students while students play and socialize. A few teachers are good at this. These are the popular teachers—do not equate popular with effective. Most teachers are just ordinary, hard workers, simply trying to teach. They are not popular and are often demonized as the problem. However, expecting every teacher to be a “superstar” is like expecting every basketball player to be a Michael Jordan.
From my viewpoint, this is the major reason for the dumbing-down of our schools. Teachers cannot teach the basics because of the lack of discipline. Most students today don’t even know their multiplication tables because teachers who use “rote teaching” are “boring.” So, they give students a calculator and invent a playful lesson and hope they can pass the state test. Does any student know how to count back change? The ones I taught did not. I was an English teacher, but I could count back change and do the math problems in my head faster than they could punch the calculator.
To the honest observer, the question arises: How have our schools arrived at this deplorable condition?
The answer in four words is….LIBERAL SUPREME COURT DECISIONS!
In both of my master’s programs, I have had to take courses about laws affecting education. When do you believe the schools began to deteriorate? What decade?
Well, ever since the mid-1970s, the Supreme Court has been making decisions that basically gave students more rights than teachers or the school administrators. These decisions under the liberal Supreme Court justices have stripped teachers and administrators of any method of meaningful discipline.
In the 1970s, Carter boasted that he was the education president. He established the Department of Education so that Washington bureaucrats could micromanage the local schools by dictating and enforcing thousands of “liberal” rules and regulations. Since then, Washington has been dumbing-down the schools by removing the local school board’s right to discipline.
I challenge anyone to try to teach in a classroom of chaos and commotion. The Supreme Court would not allow any citizen to act in their courtroom the way that they have allowed students to act in schools because the students have “civil rights.” Congress would not allow any citizen to interrupt their sessions the way that students are allowed to interrupt classes. Yet, they blame the teachers and school administrators for not “teaching” the students.
Now, instead of discipline, most schools have been forced to adopt a system of “in-school suspensions” (ISS) that can lead to an “alternate learning environment” (ALE). When students disrupted my class to the point I could not teach, I had no choice but to give them a disposition—referral to the office. The student would go to the office where usually they received a “do-better-pep-talk” and then they were released to the next class. If that student became a nuisance in three or four classes, then he/she was sent to “in-school suspension” for 3 to 10 days, but never any more because the Supreme Court said that no student can be suspended or expelled from school longer than that without a court hearing—students have “rights.”
As a minor, my dad told me that as long as I put my feet under his table, I had one right. I had the right to leave anytime I wanted! But as long as I put my feet under his table, he was the dictator and I had no rights. That is the way I feel about students. They are minors. They don’t have the right to smoke or drink until they are of age. Why should they have the “right” to disrupt class? They don’t have the right to drive a car until they are sixteen. Why did liberal judges give six-year old students the right to drive teachers crazy? Students should have the right to leave if they don’t like the discipline. And schools should have the right to expel any unruly students for the whole year—period—end of discussion!
In my school, “ISS” was a joke because students would sit around all day playing computer games. The students wanted “suspension.” If the student continued to be a disciplinary problem, they could be put into “ALE” for several weeks or even a few months. This involved more red tape than I care to describe here.
Did this work? Not where I taught! The “ALE” was just like “ISS.” Students watched movies, socialized, played computer games, or surfed the web all day. It was like a paid vacation. I wanted someone to send me to ISS. Please!
So, the real problem in our schools is the cancer known as LIBERALISM. Liberals first sued and brought the cases before the Supreme Court. Liberal justices handed down the cock-eyed decisions. Then, liberals in Congress began to canonize these rulings into laws. No Child Left Behind—the handy work of the late Senator Ted Kennedy—is the latest in a long line of legislative laws to mold education into the liberal model. This law is actually “leaving” every student behind. Ask teachers what they think of NCLB. Just how successful is it really? Why is it failing? Do you want to take a LIBERAL guess?
The cancer of liberalism has eaten the very heart out of education, and the more laws, red tape, rules, and regulations that they pass; the worse our schools become. Schools have become one of the most dangerous places on earth, and nobody seems to know why.
Liberalism has consequences! What you see is the result of over 40 years of liberal policies in education. Wake up!
VOTE D…if you want DUMBED-DOWNED SCHOOLS.
However, the solution comes in one word…VOUCHERS.
Not vouchers for just the poorest students or worst schools, but vouchers for every student in America. Vouchers would put the power back into the hands of “we the people.” Vouchers would put the power of education back into the hands of the local citizens—the parents of every child. Vouchers would strip Washington of their monopoly on education—liberals will not give up their power without a fight. Are you ready to fight?
It is OUR money, Washington! Vouchers should be for public and private schools. It is OUR money, not Washington’s. They act as if “federal funds” came from “their pockets.” It came from my pocket and your pockets. Jefferson called it tyranny to take people’s money and use it contrary to their wishes.[i]
Jefferson fought for the right of every child to have a free education, but few people know that Jefferson said that no child should be made to go to school. In other words, you have the right to be ignorant. Really, what Jefferson was saying is that the parents have the right to teach their children at home if that is their preference—I home schooled my child who graduated college with a 4.0 grade point. But the Supreme Court has ruled against Jefferson and against the rights of parents to control their own child’s education.
If atheists want God kicked out of school, then they can gather together and use their vouchers to start their own schools. But for heaven’s sake, let those who want to teach the Ten Commandments also use the vouchers to build their schools. The end result will prove which way is right. The voucher system would blow the liberal school system out of existence—and liberals know that and are fighting hard to keep their power.
Schools that are successful would attract the money. Schools struggling would either shape up or go out of business. Private schools and charter schools would prosper as parents could take their children to any school they wanted. What are the “most” successful schools today? The private schools! Many charter schools! Vouchers would give to every student “the right” to a free, appropriate public education (FAPE)—this is a legal term coined by liberal courts to legitimize their takeover of public education. It is OUR money; let “we the people” have a choice. Voucher would also give schools the right to say: if your student cannot act right in school, then take him someplace else.
You will not believe what my law textbook said about your “rights.”
I quote: Two types of due process are subsumed within the Fourteenth Amendment…The second type is procedural due process, that is, a procedure to be used to enforce the rights that are given (emphasis is mine) to the individual by state and federal statutes (p.143).[ii]
My friend, the Declaration of Independence says that we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights. Government is not God, but liberals believe that they are the “giver” of rights. That is the problem!
Just as tax cuts spur the economy, yet liberals hate them and demonize them.
Even so, vouchers would stimulate the schools to be competitive. Successful schools would flourish. Mediocre schools would go out of business.
However, liberals hate and demonize the idea of vouchers. It is our MONEY, Washington! It is our CHILDREN, Washington! Not yours! It is past time for conservatives to stand up and say to the liberals in Washington…take your hands off our money and our children and our liberties and our future!
In the final analysis, Americans must decide, so….
VOTE D…if you want DUMBED-DOWNED SCHOOLS!
I don’t even have time to explain how these liberal policies are dumbing-down colleges and universities…but they are! Peal that onion a little more and you will discover the dumbing-down of business in America…And the beat goes on—prisons—armed forces—police—immigration etc!
If you want common sense solutions, then join an army of conservatives. Our weapon is the ballot box. Our ammunition is the money we give to help local, state, and federal conservatives get elected.
OR…VOTE D…if you want DUMBED-DOWN SCHOOLS DUPLICATED!