Sunday, April 8, 2012

Blaming the wrong people

 Yet we continue to hammer teachers and allocate ever more resources to try to get the schools to force every kid to succeed, whether or not the student or parents put any effort. We try to make the 10% make up for the other 90%!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Priestcraft in Education

A definition of priestcraft from the internet is this: "priestcraft - a derogatory reference to priests who use their influence to control secular or political affairs."  I would add "or for money" to that definition.  Another definition that perhaps fits even more with education is this(with two words to change): "priestcrafts are that men preach(teach) and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion(children).”(2 Nephi 26:29)  I believe that public education has suffered a great deal from the effects of educators involved in this abusive practice who seek not for the welfare of the children, but only to promote themselves or their pocketbook.

One of the most damaging things for public education is when educators use their position to gain higher position or income by promoting a program or product they developed.  This self-interest causes them to use children, and parents' concern for their children, to gain increased income or standing.  Usually those doing this are able to hype the kids, or their parents, long enough to make the program or product appear worthwhile - enough so to sell it or use it to gain promotions.

The supposed benefits usually fade away after they are gone, disappointing those left holding the bag. This disappointment has built up politically until there are many who, not only don't trust educators, but actively fight against public education in general.  "Priestcraft" in education is what has created the "fads" in education.  Fads like open classrooms, whole language, new math, and other controversial programs would be examples.

Ironically, competition, which is billed as the silver bullet of accountability to route out these fads, actually increases and promotes this kind of abuse.  When accountability and evaluations are based on competition in education, those most guilty are most able to gain promotions, power, and more money, because they are those most likely to use or misuse data to promote themselves.

Large district size contributes to this, because it gives a higher ladder to climb, places to hide accountability whether by complexity or distance, and bigger budgets to raid.  Thomas Jefferson taught that government is safest the wider it is shared.  That was why our government was spread between three branches and three separate levels of government by our forefathers.  Spreading that control not only makes abuse more difficult, it helps train more people in self government.

I do not know a way to ban false philosophies in a free society.  I have no trust in legislative attempts to guarantee "good" education, nor to guarantee a quality teacher in every classroom.  I do believe that by sharing the governance of education and pushing it to the most local level (by dividing our large schools and school districts), is the safest, most likely way to avoid the abuse of the system by educators practicing "priestcraft" for their own advantage at the expense of the children.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Problems in Education Caused by Government and Size

Having districts and schools get too big, and the rise of government interference, have been very devastating to education.  Districts getting too big cause schools to also get too big, as I have explained on my website,  The site also shows data supporting and explaining why size can be so negative.

Government interference mainly started when John Kennedy used education as an issue to get elected in 1960.  He blamed the schools for the USSR getting a man in space first.  This accomplishment had nothing to do with schools and everything to do with the fact that the USSR had spent so much of their budget in this pursuit, and we hadn’t.  By promising federal funds, he got just enough votes to win.  His successor, Lyndon Johnson, fulfilled this promise in 1965.  We did get to the moon first, but it was because we invested in NASA, not for anything the government did to or for the schools.  Federal funding was followed by legislation year after year, seldom with sufficient funding for implementation, adding to the burden imposed on local schools.  The legislation then invited judicial rulings that further increased requirements without funding

There were many educators who began to see, first in the federal government and later in states, a source of money and power by promising reform and training to improve teachers.  After almost 50 years, there is little evidence that these diversions of funding made any improvement.  Indeed most of the “reforms” in teaching only undermined good teaching, such as the constructivist-based philosophy of teaching, which produced such failed programs as Whole Language, New Math, and Open Schools.  Most of the efforts to reform teachers and the system have only complicated education and weighed down good teachers.

Until these events are reversed, education will only get more expensive, more complicated, and with less quality provided.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

City Students at Small Public High Schools Are More Likely to Graduate, Study Says

City Students at Small Public High Schools Are More Likely to Graduate, Study Says
"The higher graduation rate at small schools held across the board for all students, regardless of race, family income.... Small-school students also showed more evidence of college readiness...."