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Saturday, October 21, 2017

The War Against Education

America is fighting its own youth on Battleground Classroom. How many casualties will it take to end the massacre?

Flashback 1983: An urban school: Thirty or more children sat attentively in precise rows; walls were decorated with Spelling Awards adorned with Scratch-n-Sniff stickers (Mmmmmm skunk). Armed with basic credentials, teachers marched in with a passion to teach that outweighed any advanced degree. Typical assignments consisted of tissue paper Mexicos, celebratory pen-pal letters attached to balloons, and the quintessential state reports culminated with a potluck of the regions' native foods. Traveling to field trips in the back of the teacher's Datsun replaced any memory of where the field trip was actually to.

Ah, the good life. School was a place where the students found safety in the familiar environment and respected the efforts of their benevolent leaders. They left school being able to read. Once the school experience was over, graduates were quite capable of passing high school and college proficiency exams, made moral and ethical decisions befit successful, productive members of society, and quite possibly, even became a teachers of others. There was no harm done in their education. Ultimately, these were NOT children "left behind". They were prepared to be competitive in world markets and contributed to making America a "superpower". Fast forward 2008: Urban school...same building, now 40 to 50 years old (hopefully the asbestos and lead paint has been successfully removed). Uplifted squares of olive-green and mustard-yellow linoleum cover the floors in a room with peeling paint and minimal light. Cobwebs and the occasional daddy long-legs blow across the floor like a tumbleweed in an abandoned town (no money to beautify, to update). Termite droppings have to be brushed away to make use of the ledge; a ledge that now supports a hundred pounds of mandated, scripted teacher's editions (I'm sure they'll be programming robots to do the job soon). Any program that might have motivated a student to think of school as fun has been eliminated; no art, no music, (no money) no fun. No technology; one donated computer sits idle, too old to run software. Teachers: fatigued, overwhelmed, and fed-up with being told they are not doing an adequate job of raising other people's children (yes I am a teacher).

A corrupt, bureaucracy of overpaid, uninformed personnel run the districts telling the teachers that they have to be "highly-qualified" if they want to keep their jobs without pay increases. Surely the leaders KNOW what the children need even though they, themselves, are not "highly qualified". And finally, the accountability doctrines. No Child Left Behind, which basically states that all children need to be proficient by the year 2014...or ELSE!!!! (Anyone who has had basic statistics knows that according to the theory of Standard Deviation and the Bell Curve, 70% will be proficient and the other %30 will be split between advanced and failing; %100 proficient would be improbable).

Meanwhile, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates, $9-13 billion is being spent on war. Concerns over leaving a country damaged keeps us fighting...does that make sense? The rebuilding of their country and schools must take place if we are to be viewed favorably by the world (even though we took part in destroying the place). Yet, according to a recent report by the California Teachers' Association, the current California and Los Angeles school budgets require $4.8 Billion to be cut from from our very own schools.

So, in a nutshell, our teachers aren't "qualified", our schools are substandard and antiquated (especially when compared to news schools being built for other countries), and our students lack the ability to compete against the influx of foreign students who had their schools rebuilt for them or whose countries and families put priority on education. These are the battles in the war against education.

A war is fought in the classrooms when we plead for the children to behave and pray that they or their parents don't bring their own weapons. War is fought in the classrooms when we defend ourselves against the tirades that denounce our efforts in impossible situations, with impossible expectations. A war is fought in the classrooms when we have every resource taken away or its improperly funded.

For information on how you can make a difference in Los Angeles schools, or to support your local schools or educators, please visit UTLA.net.

Recent News: Governor proposes slashing almost 5 billion from education budget UTLA Actions to Protest State & Local Budget Cuts: Wednesday May 14 Day of the Teacher - Informational picketing at schools Week of May 26 Parent leafleting at schools Friday June 6 1 hour a.m. action read more... May - June Fight Against State Budget Cuts Calendar Send a letter to your Legislator to protest State Budget Cuts. Read the UTLA letter presented to the Governor on May 4 Legislator contact info



About the Writer

Heather Renee is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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4 comments on The War Against Education

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By D. E. Carson on May 17, 2008 at 01:17 am

I know how to solve the education crisis in America.  I can solve it within six years with the possibility of being closer to four years.  It is a very simple solution but it will never be heard in America.  I will recieve hate mail and death threats from organizations like the NEA, but when I'm finished, America would be back on top again in terms of education and would be wiping the floor with the likes of Japan and China.

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Log In To Vote   Score: 3
By Heather Renee on May 18, 2008 at 08:39 pm

Hi D.E. Carson,   I'd love to hear your ideas......

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By icanluvulongtime on May 19, 2008 at 05:55 pm

Yikes!  Hey Heather, I didn't even see your article when I published mine.  I had written it a while ago and just got around to sending.  Sometimes I feel like there is hope for our educational system.  Then I go back into the schools. 

High School reform IS coming, but I'm afraid it is going to be too little, too late.

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By D. E. Carson on May 19, 2008 at 10:08 pm

J&T: You mean Michael Savage as in the radio talk show host?  If so, I'll take that as a compliment.

Bill: I think you have me confused with someone else...

Heather:  I'd love to expound on my solution to the education crisis in America, but it would be longer than this article.  Perhaps what I will do is lay it all out and make it into another article on the sad state of American education.

Regardless, if something doesn't happen and soon, you can kiss this lovely republic good bye, that's for sure.

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