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Local schools? Don't make me laugh!
By Alan Caruba
As parents prepare to send their children back to school, more and more of them at some point discover that their local school board has no control whatever over what is taught in their schools. They discover that the schools are controlled by a combination of the teacher's unions and the federal government. A recent Wall Street Journal editorial revealed that "secret documents show that the National Education Association has become the Democratic Party."
House Majority Whip, Tom DeLay (R-TX), has said that he wished he had not voted for The Elementary and Secondary Education Act that authorizes federal grants to local public schools kindergarten through 12th grades. "I came here to eliminate the Department of Education," said DeLay, "so it was very hard for me to vote for something that expands the department, but this is one of his (Bush's) big agenda items." DeLay, loyal to his President and his Party, did not want to be an obstructionist, but now he hopes the bill dies in a conference committee. I do, too. You should as well.
As reported in The Wall Street Journal, "Last year, Congress approved $18.5 billion in grants for primary and secondary education. The House version of this year's bill would up that 24% to $23 billion, while the Senate version hikes it 122% to $41 billion. Both versions would require states to administer federally approved tests in addition to the statewide tests they already administer. The Senate bill would mandate the states use the National Assessment of Education Progress test." In short, children from one end of America to another would all be learning exactly what the Department of Education determines, not your state's department of education and not your local school board.
This system is a total failure. Writing in the Los Angeles Times on August 3rd, Richard Lee Colvin, their education reporter said "Despite a decade of progress in mathematics, only about one in four students in the fourth and eighth grades demonstrates a solid grasp of math topics normally taught in those grades." This finding was based on the National Assessment of Educational Progress administered in 2000. The worst performers on the test were Black and Hispanic students, but the other kids didn't do much better.
Suffice it to say that the "progress" measured by the test has, for years now, demonstrated that children passing through our schools simply are (1) not being taught the fundamentals of reading, writing, and arithmetic and (2) are most certainly not learning whatever it is they are being taught. They consistently lag behind children in foreign nations receiving instruction in these same topics.
Despite this dismal record of performance, the only answer President Bush and Congress offers is to throw more and more billions at a totally failed system.
What are children learning? Here's what syndicated columnist, Linda Bowles, revealed in a recent edition of The Washington Times some of the things being taught in our nation's classrooms these days. To wit, teachers are underpaid, God is irrelevant, big business is ruining the environment, society---not the criminal---is responsible for crime, Thomas Jefferson was a racist, 2 plus 2 equals whatever, competition is destructive. Further, students learn that the Boy Scouts, the Catholic Church, and Southern Baptists are all hate groups and that the government is the source from which all blessings flow, high taxes are good for America, and that equality is more important than excellence.
Today's school children are no longer really in school to learn the basics that will prepare them for useful lives. They are in school to be indoctrinated by the National Education Association's socialist agenda.
They are there to be deliberately dumbed down to a point where they are largely useless to those who employ them for any reason. And your government is preparing to expand its control over your schools through billions of dollars in grants and mandated testing programs that will force teachers to "teach to the test", thus leaving them as ignorant as stone age cave people.
Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, and others. © Alan Caruba, 2001
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