Failing our children has come back to haunt us. Thirty years ago the "revisionists" vowed to change America, including education, and they did. But they have refused to take responsibility for the disaster that they've made of our public education systems. Elected representatives, academics, education bureaucracies, teachers unions and National Education Association should be held accountable for stealing an education from generations of students, but they won't be. Instead, they continue to blame their own tedious failures on the lack of funds and teachers. Indeed, the status of education in America is unconscionable and intolerable.
Our institutions of public education have become factories of ignorance, libraries of fraud and warehouses of violence. Elementary and secondary schools have been plagued with failures in the basics of reading, math and science. The ideology of "Outcome Based Education" and "Social Promotion" stifles achievement and lowers expectations from students who are simply moved up to the next grade so they won't feel bad about themselves.
Reading, writing, math and science don't matter to a defunct educational system. The only thing that matters is that students feel good about themselves. That stupid notion has caused most high school graduates from public schools to be functionally illiterate, frustrated and confused about their future.
It follows, and should come as no surprise, that a high school diploma from 1945 is more than the equivalent of a bachelor's degree today.
Like government, it's not necessarily the people working in the system who are at fault. Rather, it's the inevitable failure of those who have been running an educational system that has abandoned its purpose and responsibility in favor of bureaucratic empire building and selfish interests.
Most school funding never reaches the classrooms. Instead, the money is siphoned off by administrative greed and irresponsible experimentation. Most funding that should go to classroom is consumed by special education for the learning disabled. Most elementary and secondary school teachers want to teach and grade their students appropriately, but a system that's self-defeating for both teachers and students will not allow it. Therefore, teachers lose the incentive to teach and students have no incentive to learn.
Students in our so-called great institutions of higher learning are being robbed of their education by the frequent absence of tenured professors who substitute themselves with graduate student teachers, while they're off getting published and giving speeches. Student participation in administrative policy, free speech and democracy has been severely limited by the silent oppression of student conduct and political correctness. The educators making these rules are the same people who busted traditional education when they were students in the 60's and 70's. From then on, when they came into control of education in America, they simply gutted the entire system.
Worse, these same elite academics of most colleges are obsessed with junk courses that have seriously infected higher education. The August 30, 1999 issue of U.S. News & World Report contains their annual list of "America's Best Colleges." Contributing Editor John Leo pointed out some disturbing facts in his (On Society) article "The new Trivial Pursuit." The article indicates that when you look deeply at college curriculums, the once well known components of a basic college education don't exist anymore.
Leo writes that "Colleges are unsure of their mission, buffeted by consumer pressures and ideological forces, and unwilling to say what a sound education might consist of. As a result of this confusion and drift, campuses are increasingly at the mercy of fads and trends. Many universities offer courses on television shows. The University of Wisconsin has one on soap operas, and Purdue offers one called "The Biology of ER." The lists of colleges and trivia courses goes on and on from studies on juggling, vampires, witchcraft, magic and aliens to food, sports, toasters, leg injuries, comic books and pornography. Leo's article aptly indicates that college students are being cheated.
"Trivial courses are not the worst of it," Leo continues. "Bigger news is that the race-class-gender alliance, powered mostly by feminists and gays, has essentially taken control of the humanities. There are now tens of thousands of courses on gender, sexuality, feminist theory, and "queer theory," heavily publicized and crowding out much of the broader, traditional curriculum. "For example, the University of Chicago's once solid English department now features course like "Third Wave Feminism and Girl Culture" and "Contemporary American Monstrosity." According to the National Association of Scholars, only about one quarter of the school's English department offerings are traditional literary courses. Much the same has happened in the university's history department, which now offers courses like "Fetishism, Gender, Sexuality, Capitalism" and "Love and Eros in Japanese History."
Leo added that "The junk courses creep in because much of the professorate
now believes that NOTHING CAN TRULY BE KNOWN, SO NOTHING TRULY MATTERS.
>From this it follows that juggling, horror movies, and serious courses all have equal claims on student's attention. Alas, the academy today is obsessed with the trivial and trashy, relentlessly focused on sexual politics, and gripped by a deep antagonism to tradition that has degenerated into a new absolutism. It's still possible to get a real education at most colleges these days, of course. But negotiating one's way through the minefield of academia in search of one is a treacherous business" "…but maybe it says even more about our culture's intellectual decline."
John Leo's observations are not as profound as they are frightening. The thirty year assault on education is nothing short of criminal, and the failures of good intentions is no longer an excuse. But what else can we expect from the revisionists and extremists who have destroyed education in America in just three decades? Lest we forget, that's where our elementary and secondary teachers come from.
Governments spend over $370 billion of taxpayer's money per year on public education systems that have failed us. Governments' solution to their failures is to dump more funds into the money pits without changing the sources of those failures: Education policy and curriculum. Direct education can provide the best education at a fraction of the cost. The proposed 28th Amendment contains provisions for establishing direct education by converting existing funds. Privatized, competitive direct education, guaranteed to all students, would provide the very best of education connected to every student's home. It is an important element of direct democracy, the great equalizer.
Privatized direct education will eventually break the back of government's monopoly on public education. So why drag out the waste? The law of compulsory education is a good thing. Everyone should have a basic education. Unfortunately, it has proven to be a bad thing when controlled by government and teacher unions. Direct education controlled by direct democracy will resolve that problem, directly. The rise of home schooling and vouchers for school choice are sure signs that direct education will become a reality in the near future. The information technology revolution will soon make existing institutions of education obsolete.
Direct education is already underway on the Internet at the college and university levels of education. Accredited courses and examinations online are multiplying quickly. Schools participating range from prestigious institutions such as Penn State and UCLA to newly created virtual universities. It has been estimated that 3 million students will be taking college courses online by next year.
But the content of education must change drastically. The failures of the public education systems have contributed heavily to the ignorance, decay and decline of our society, socially and economically. Our elementary and secondary schools are a national and global disgrace. They are failing to educate our children to meet the educational requirements, job skills and technology demanded by industry and the information technology revolution.
A record 14.9 million students enrolled in college this year. Half of them will not graduate. In the 1960's about 50 percent of high school students went to college. That percentage has grown to 67 percent. Now, at the urging of parents, counselors and political leaders, "College for all" is the 1990's mantra. But the graduation rate is in steady decline, from 58 percent in 1983 to 52 percent in 1998. And the decline disparity between private and public colleges is even greater. There are far more applicants than space available in colleges. Supply and demand problems, coupled with greedy administrators lowering standards, is driving up the cost and driving down the quality of college education.
Like government, the aristocracy of universities and the selfish bureaucracy and unions of public education have become so firmly entrenched in society that they cannot and will not change from within. Therefore, we must create that change by including it in the 28th Amendment establishing direct democracy. If we don't, the public education establishment will continue to graduate students without the necessary skills to meet the requirements of industry and rapidly changing employment requirements. It's simply a matter of survival.
The disparity in education and earning power between the privileged who attend elite colleges and universities and those who cannot afford the escalating, obscene costs of a college education is inexcusable. In this age of information and technology, there are no justifiable reasons why the American people should be limited to established institutions and bureaucratic empires of education with their physically limited enrollments and opportunities.
Direct education would provide our students from kindergarten through graduate school with the capability to participate in the unlimited opportunities for all levels of education from privacy and security of their homes. Of course, some physical attendance would be needed for classes such as labs and necessary social skills. But there is no reason to continue group classroom settings with inherent distractions, inhibitions, frustrations and a lack of control and individual attention to students.
With existing public education funding, competitive direct education would provide all students from K-12 with the very best teachers and curriculums, plus four years of college, and still cut the tax burden in half. Direct education will provide choices in education tailored to each student's needs, desires and goals. It will be limited only by your imagination.
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