Life In A Petri Dish

Yesterday was a prime indicator of teachers’ and their unions’ integrity as it relates to the NEEDS of kids as opposed to their own. The debate’s childish when looking at the conduct of the participants and how their ultimate goals relate to each other.

Teachers: “We care more about the kids.”

Politicians:  “No! WE DO!”

Teachers and Union Leaders: “NO! WE DO! And we’ll prove it by taking the day off from teaching to lobby against your caring less about the kids than we do!!! We have them for seven hours a day, and then take Teacher Development Days to show how much we care!”

It’s more petulance than substantive care and consideration for the needs of the kid. But, it is a way of saying something; though it’s so obscure I can’t figure it out. Parents care most about their kids; not teachers. Nor do politicians care more about kids than parents. This Capitol Steps Protest crap might have attracted more sympathy if it was organized by other than teachers, unions and politicians. It’s just a thought.

Because politicians (union leaders included) and legislators breed, they feel qualified to direct legislation concerning birth control, abortion and sterilization. Because they have kids they think they understand the problems and pressures facing other peoples’ kids. But they’re detached from the reality of the cause.

Detachment is the sort of anti-engagement used too frequently by those mandating and mandated to direct actions and policies governing not only compliance, but also the behaviors necessary to get the expected and desired performance.

Opponents of school vouchers and student migration to allegedly “better” schools say it will damage “traditional” public schools. Hunh?

First, let’s ask a couple of questions about “traditional” school systems. What about them is causing our meteoric plummet concerning low student performance and competitive rankings in national standings? Whatever it is; why should we accept a “tradition” of failure?

Second, accountability of teachers’ performance is bandied about regularly. What about these teachers’ supervision was lacking to cause this situation to fester into the backside boil it’s become? Could political interference and opportunistic pandering direct knee-jerk policy and procedural shifts?

When you get right down to it, has anybody recognized the kids aren’t attending quality schools so much as they inhabit institutionalized Petri Dishes? They’re examined as social scientists develop, test and subjugate the kids’ performance to study after study. The purpose: to determine what doesn’t work as much as to determine what does.

Unfortunately, like anything living in a Petri Dish, the test sample is used up, diminishes in importance and is discarded because it has no more value to the study. Bet you never thought about that did you?

For centuries, education was based on elders passing set, instructional formats to the young. These formats were based on the necessity to assure the young grew stronger and learned what was necessary to SURVIVE in the real world. It wasn’t done so teachers earned more, received more acclaim or had studies published in professional media. Some received a President’s blessing as in the case of No Child Left Behind. Egos weren’t involved and politics didn’t interfere.

This mess started in the 1950s. Some twit said we were falling behind the Russians because they orbited a dog before we could orbit a monkey. Then they said we lagged behind Asians and others in math and science.

What was America’s solution?

Start “dumbing down” the curricula to get better grades and show the educators were teaching better than in recent years. Grades don’t improve? Develop syndromes or diagnoses as to why kids fail. ADD and ADHD became the vogue. The stigmata of social displacement near bled the system to death. Statistics and publishable results took precedence over students’ appreciable performance. The whole educational system went to Hades in a petrol soaked hand-basket.

Don’t believe it?

Look at what’s going on around you. Is what’s graduating from high school better educated than your eighth grade graduate grand-parents? I’ll bet not.

And who is it that’s responsible for the system’s failings: the people now controlling it; or the outsiders trying to change it?

Thanks for listening.

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