Our Schools, Dumb and Dumber
Monday, August 30,
By Alan Caruba
As the nation’s children return to elementary and secondary schools, it is
increasingly essential that their parents and communities coast to coast realize
how poorly served they are and how their learning environment is increasingly
tainted by a socialist agenda.
Our nation’s schools have long been
factories of boredom, centers of academic incompetence. High school graduation
rates have been in a fairly steady decline. At its peak in 1969, the rate was 77
percent. By 2007 it was 68.8 percent.
In mid-August, The Wall Street
Journal reported that “New data show that fewer than 25% of 2010 graduates who
took the ACT college-entrance exam possessed the academic skills necessary to
pass entry-level courses, despite modest gains in college-readiness among U.S.
high school students in the last few years.”
What caught my eye was a
quote from Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, a
nonpartisan research organization in Washington, who said that “if our kids
aren’t dropping out physically, they are dropping out mentally.”
subject of education is important because they are the generation to which the
future of the nation must be entrusted and “A recent study found the U.S. ranks
only 12th in the percentage of adults aged 25 to 34 who hold college
The failure of our nation’s schools, to my mind, coincides
with the creation of the U.S. Department of Education in 1979, signed into law
by President Jimmy Carter, and which began operating on May 16, 1980.
The word “education” does not appear in the U.S. Constitution and,
until the Department of Education came along, it was the responsibility of
States and local communities. A government that has managed Conrail since 1976
without once making a profit should not have been trusted with the nation’s
I opposed No Child Left Behind when former President
Bush proposed it and, like former President Reagan, I have long believed the
Department of Education should be ended and that responsibility be returned to
the States and local communities. The DOE exists today as little more than an
obstacle to learning in the classroom and a giant funding machine.
DOE is pretty much owned by the National Education Association which is not an
“association”, but a powerful union, the largest with an estimated 3.2 members.
The Democrat Party is heavily indebted to it for funds and campaign workers.
It is doubtful that most Americans know that, for the past several
months, the NEA’s website has recommended that its members read “Rules for
Radicals” by the late Saul Alinsky, a dedicated communist. If NEA members adopt
its political agenda, the enemy will literally be in our nation’s
It has not gone unnoticed that Obama’s “American Recovery
and Reinvestment Act”, otherwise known as the “Stimulus Act” enabled the
education lobby to suck up billions more from taxpayers.
allocated $5 billion to early learning programs, including the failed Head Start
and Early Head Start, child care and programs for children with special needs.
It also allocated $77 billion for “reforms” to allegedly strengthen elementary
and secondary education, including $48.6 billion to “stabilize” state education
budgets. It was a Full Employment Act for teachers and school
Apparently those billions were not enough because on
August 11, President Obama signed a bill authorizing an additional $10 billion
to states for education salaries. The Senate was so concerned the money might be
spent for other purposes it included a provision that the money could not be
used for anything else.
It apparently was not enough because in July the
NEA president, Dennis Van Roekel, was calling for a complete overhaul of the No
Child Left Behind Act, one that is entirely test-based without any notice of the
fact that individual children learn at different rates. He didn’t much like the
Obama Race to the Top program where schools competed for grants if they
demonstrated any improvement in learning and graduation rates. Another $3.4
billion in grants is at yet unspent. Roekel didn’t like the idea of
Clearly, schools that are graduating students ill-prepared
to go onto college and that continue to experience high dropout rates are doing
something wrong. Putting kids into teach-to-the-test straight jackets is not
In a new book by Dr. Tim Elmore, “Generation iY: Our Last
Change to Save Their Future”, the author who founded a non-profit organization,
Growing Leaders, writes that “I have spoken to employers who told me they will
never hire another new graduate. I have heard teachers say they can hardly wait
for retirement since they can’t do a thing about kids today. I’ve had parents
confide in me that they don’t know what to do with their kids except scream at
Statistics published by UNESCO and the CIA reveal that, while
American students spend twelve years in school, ranking them first out of a
hundred, they rank fifteenth out of twenty-seven in terms of literacy. Their
math and science scores are poor. They poll at 35%, fifth out of seventeen, for
their dislike of school, and 61%, second out of seventeen, find school
The schools are failing, the students are being cheated of the
knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to become productive adults, and the
U.S. government thinks that, if it just spends a few more billions, this will
change. It won’t.
The federal government must get out of the education
business, must devolve responsibility back to the states and local communities,
and they in turn should refuse to deal with teachers unions in order to regain
control over the education of the nation’s most precious resource, its
Read More: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/71866
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