Monday, December 29, 2008

No, Virginia, We Can't All Be What We Want to Be

John Derbyshire, writes "No, We Can't", 'I know, I know, we are the land of opportunity. Log cabin (or black & white) to the White House. Anyone can be anything. TV talking heads, motivational speakers, pastors and pedagogues, all want to tell us--and especially our children---that we are each a hissing, throbbing little pressure cooker of potential. If we will only hitch our wagon to a star, we can be all we want to be. Yes, we can! Where do we get off lying to children to help their "self-esteem"?


Here's what sociologist Charles Murray, said in his book "Real Education", 'I wonder if there is a single solitary real-live-public-school teacher who agrees with the proposition that it's all a matter of will. To me, the fact that ability varies--and varies in ways that are impossible to change-is a fact that we learn in first grade'.

Here is what the JSEB wrote 6 years ago, "Maybe every child shouldn't go to college", 'but by all means every child should be given opportunity to do what and be what they would like to be and given the tools to succeed in life. It's not that kids have not been permitted to learn but still 80% of them need remedial reading at a community college level'.

We know that not all kids are permitted to learn because a percentage of teachers teaching, aren't capable of teaching. We know that learning in a classroom "out of control" does not permit learning. We know that peer pressure is the greatest pressure our children have on them but many teachers do not know how to cope with the peer pressure problem.

The solution starts with a total reorganization. One I've stated before. The top Administrator should have a Doctorate in Finance and at least a masters in business administration. Schools with huge multi-million dollar budgets must be run like a successful business. Why does he-she need to be an educator? The #2 administrator should have a Doctorate in Education and a master in administration. Principals must be selected by ability and not by race or tenure, allowed to be innovative and in charge of their school. School Board Members, 3 or 5 at maximum, must be paid a minimum of $100,000 a year and be full time with an office and a secretary. Three year terms elected at large (no, that's not unequal representation, its proven that minorities can be elected at large) the one with the most votes each election, gets an automatic 2nd term, the other 2 can run for re-election; however, no member can serve longer than 9 consecutive years.

The Treasurer, Curriculum Director, Fleet Manager, ITT Director, a separate management position, one Athletic Director and an Associate Director, facility managers, etc., will all be hired by the board.

Teachers must have better training at our colleges and should be paid a base salary depending on successful experience and performance pay, paid twice each academic year and determined by each individual school principal, the top administrator and the board. How do you get colleges to select and prepare better teachers? Give the college a yearly publicized grade. That should wake up some "Ivory Tower" college presidents and their adequately competent boards.

Okay, this may not be perfect and a new handbook of responsibilities would need to be written, but it's a start. Most who follow the public school system knows it is not getting the job done in its present archaic state of being.

Those who believe our fate is in the hands of our youth must be asking for "CHANGE". So come up with a NEW change, at least one new to our area, that is better than the present archaic system.

Change in the way we reach our kids is not to tell them "they can be anything they want to be" when even they realize the don't want to be or know they can't. What schools should be doing is not to move a kids beyond their ability to read at grade level. Otherwise, start preparing the child for a realistic role in a life time of living.

We need to stop being hypocrites and get real. That would be a real change!

1 comment:

Merle Widmer said...

Did I overlook the role of the unions in all this? No, they should do what they were originally intended to do. Make sure that good teachers and all good employees get a fair "shake" from the system which includes a fair wage with fair benefits. And help the ones not competent but feel they should get the same promotions and get the same wage as "everybody else gets"; and guide them to find a new job or career.