I didn't read through every post to see who is actually drenched in the American Educational System. I am. As a teacher at the secondary level for
the past 15 years I can speak as an expert on the topic, especially the U.S. History part as well as the particulars of the OP.
1. Each day U.S. History grows by one day. As a U.S. History teacher I have around 180 days to cover the entire STATE written curriculum.
2. In the state where I teach, the few texts we have to choose from have eliminated U.S. History up to the Civil War. I feel an obligation to the
material, to my country, and to my students to teach, however briefly, the time period leading up to the Civil War. The first weeks of school I teach
that time period with an emphasis on the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.
3. From the first Unit dealling with the Civil War and onward, I am forced to teach "wide" but not very "deep" in material. Again history grows by
the day but the number of days I have to teach remains fairly constant.
4. I do test my students on the content within the book but they also view documentary videos, projects, authentic assessment work, etc. I don't have
to teach to a test, yet, so I can teach them to think as another poster put it.
5. I DO cover conspiracy facts although the book may not expressly define them as such. Spanish-American war, Lincoln's death, Pearl Harbor
foreknoweldge, JFK,RFK, origins of the CIA and their shenanigans including Op Northwoods, MLK, Tonkin Gulf, Iran-Contra, Silverado Savings and Loan,
6. Most books lay out history as a patch work of events that have very few if any connections between the events. And as citizens we wonder why we
keep committing the same mistakes over and over...its the text dummy!
7. The biggest problem with the educational system at this point in time from my professional vantage point has nothing to do with education at all. I
teach in a school that bests the state average in all measureable statistics. We have a 93% graduation rate. It is a smaller school corporation that
may mean 2 or 3 students not graudating, dropping out, moving out, or expelled for discipline reasons. We have a dozen or more scholarship winners
with only 1 or 2 of those a year earning one via athletics. And when I read about "our" meaning the U.S. educational system is in shambles, I can
state with 100% honesty that I do not see that. But what makes my public high school different than the others?
a. District Income-We have a higher per capita income average than surrounding areas. The saying goes, "The Dr's work in the city but their kids
go here." Higher incomes generally mean higher household education attainment by parents which in turns leads to placing a higher value on
performance at school for the children. (Makes my job a helluva lot easier!)
b. Adminisitration Support-If I remove a kid from class it is for good reason and I do not get questioned by the admin. The admins support the
staff 100%. They treat us as professionals. As the union President, I can state our local union has an outstanding relationshihp with the central
office. I have a BS and Masters in education so they had better treat me as a professional. There is no 'fence sitting' with parents so as not to
ruffle feathers. If your kid screws up in our school, then he really screwed up and the teacher took action for a good reason.
c. School Climate- Most if not all teachers care about their students in the school that I teach. According to data collected, students believe
this as well. This makes for a better school climate which results in a better educational process. Students and staff both feel safe and secure. We
have access to technology that other schools do not. A large reason for that is grant writers and adopted programs that bring in technology as well as
a central office and administration understand the importance of technology to today's students.
Now why is the system 'bad' in America? I would encourage each and everyone of you to read this free book written by a Regan Administration
insiderThe Deliberate Dumbing Down of America
There is most certainly a top down socialist approach
that has permeated the educational system in America over the past 50 years or so. At one point students could pick and choose classes. Now students
are herded into "Career Clusters" or "School to Work" classes and programs. Here is how it works.
Johnny takes a test. The test shows he has an interest in widgets. The counselor presents several widget clusters the student could choose from that
best fits the line of work in widgets. See WORK. (All this at the age of 14-15) Never mind the fact the student might be interested in taking a course
that has nothing to do with the career. His 4 year schedule is then pretty much laid out in front of them. Johnny knows exactly what he is taking his
9-12th grade years.
The next problem(based upon a rare but true story) then is Johnny lives in a trailer park. His mom and dad are recently divorced. John stayed with dad
because mom said she could only raise him or his little sister. Dad has lost his job and license because he loves Jack Daniels better than a job and
marriage. Dad doesnt' give Johnny any money for fun teenage things let alone school clothes and supplies. He doesn't give Johnny rides to school
because of the DUI. He gets into sports to escape his homelife but can't be there consistently because of his lack of a ride home from practice.
Into my class at 8:00am walks Johnny...hungry, tired from the abuse at home, lonely, dishelved, dirty because the washer is broke and dad's too broke
to fix it. John has started to turn to drugs himself because his druggy friends welcome him into their click, give him rides to and from school, help
steal what little money the father has, and become in effect his family. Dad doesn't care about Johnny's school so why should Johnny?
This situation is rare at our school but I suspect very similiar to the majority in many schools. If you want to fix the nation's educational system
problems, you need to start in those trailer parks, housing complexes, apartments, low to no income homes and improve the personal economic
situations. Parents may start to instill the value of a good edcation into their kids instead of worrying about being cool or being their friends.
To be continued....