Choozmi 51M
746 posts
4/27/2006 10:52 am

Last Read:
5/3/2006 2:41 am


I'm a former middle school teacher. The state gave us a list of standards that our students had to absorb over the course of the school year and there was simply not enough time to do it -- particularly when we had to interrupt regular teaching several times in order to administer state-mandated standardized tests. It always felt like we were rushing through the most interesting topics (ones that the kids thought were interesting) because there wasn't enough time and I didn't want any of my kids to be left behind (to coin a phrase).

I know this is going to sound paranoid but I think the real motive behind standardized testing and teacher accountability and all that is because there is a movement underway to dismantle public education completely. It's simple: First, politicians exploit any bad news about how "behind" American kids are. They initiate standards and mandate tests and hold teachers accountable. Then, at the same time, they underfund the school systems directly, withhold funding by tying it to things like "abstinence education", or do any of a bunch of other things to keep schools poor and keep teacher pay low (particularly relative to other professions that require advanced degrees).

The results? Low test scores. Angry parents. Understaffed schools. Students acting out. Overworked teachers. Etc.

The solution? Private education! Vouchers! Home schooling! (At least those are the solutions this movement wants voters to demand.)

Who benefits? Private companies. Think about all that lucious public money that will be ladled out to private schools and associated education industries! Yum yum! And since for some stupid reason private schools are exempt from all this standardized testing, no oversight! Talk about easy money.

Imagine the supersize education corporations that will spring up overnight. Vast monopolies that will come up with their own standards of what kids should and shouldn't learn. Curriculum decided by CEOs instead of trained educators.

Do you hate having only one phone company to choose from, only one cable or gas company? Imagine what it will be like having only one school company to send your kids to (unless you want to drive them all over town, of course) -- and having little or no recourse if you don't like what that company plans to teach your kids.

What's potentially even worse is that once the public education system is dismantled, you can bet that within a few years those same politicians will demand that school vouchers and the like be dismantled as well until there is no public money spent on education at all and children will only learn as much or as little as their parents can afford.

EroticaXTC 51F

4/27/2006 11:39 am

I see your point and can follow your logic. I found it extremely frustrating when my youngest son was in elementary school, that I had to turn around and "teach" him at home in addition to what he was supposed to be learning in school...and be held "accountable" for it.
My son hated schoolwork, still does, and he's a freshman in high school. I don't think either one of us could tell you anything significant that he's learned over the years, except that someone is always coming up with new ways to reinvent the wheel. I couldn't believe it when he failed in math because he didn't use a particular new method to achieve the correct answer....
There is definitely something wrong with the picture, things have gotten too far out of hand in educating the nation. When we have to resort to bringing in funds from state lotteries to further fund education, it screams that there are major problems. So do you think education lotteries are beneficial, or just another disguised political agenda?

Choozmi 51M

4/27/2006 1:01 pm

Using lottery income to fund education is one of the biggest scams ever to invade the public arena.

First of all, it's a sick joke right off the bat: education should not be left up to chance.

Second, linking gambling to a perceived "good cause" only gives gamblers one more excuse to gamble -- and some of them should not be gambling in the first place. (Imagine if beer were linked to education: "Coors will donate twenty-five cents to your local library for every six-pack you pound!")

Third, many states used the lottery-education link as an excuse to cut education funding so not only was funding level no higher than pre-lottery, but a portion of education funding was then tied to the fickleness of the free market. Imagine if education funding were tied to the sales of video games.

Fourth, while I can't remember any hard numbers, I'm pretty sure that the portion of lottery proceeds that actually finds its way into educational coffers is well below 50%. A large chunk of the profits go directly into the pockets of the private companies running the lotteries -- several of whom also manufacture electronic voting machines, I think.

Thanks for stopping by. I've enjoyed reading your blog.

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