Over the last several decades, the federal government brought its overwhelming power to bear and extorted control of public education from state/local school boards and parents. They produced an arm for indoctrination that sullied the entire system.
Politicians of both parties busied themselves implementing dozens of pretenses at rescuing this country's sinking bureaucratic educational ship. Their solutions amounted to heaving one heavy anchor after another, forged from government-controlled solutions. Predictably, each political solution failed miserably, and another generation of young people floundered.
There was a time when an unwritten partnership existed between parents and teachers that prepared children for the challenges of life. After government bullied its way into the parent/teacher role, both were left in a vacuum fashioned by an authoritarian conglomerate designed to reprogram teachers and children for dependency.
Politicians, teacher unions, and bureaucrats formed a cabal after the U. S. Department of Education inception. Since that time, education has never been about instructing young people; rather it is about money, votes, and control. The newest boondoggle, Common Core, is just the latest government power grab.
This cabal brought about tenure. Tenure is the point at which, in any job or profession, incompetence and ignorance become not only acceptable, but profitable. In government, tenure means using taxpayers' money to guarantee acceptance of incompetence and dilatory performance in public sector and bureaucratic employment. Also, it is one of the chief causes of dysfunctionality in public education.
Federal power and liberal-progressive ideology now dictate that schools teach political correctness, social engineering, social justice and multiculturalism. Math, Reading/ Language Arts, and writing skills are secondary. History now has a revisionist redo, and other core subjects are replete with ideology, if taught at all.
One of the truly tragic consequences of the last several decades was big government bullying its way into the parent/teacher role, crowding out positive parent/teacher guidance. Progressives ignored the critical importance of parents and promoted the teaching of an all-powerful, paternalistic government. Test scores plunged, dependency glorified, and the dumbing down of America increased exponentially.
Teaching basic math facts and reading comprehension ensures a child will have the minimum requirements for a life of learning. When taught appropriately, most children will assume their proper role in education and develop a thirst for future learning.
Read these failing grades and think of our future.
Wood County Schools WesTest 2 scores for Reading/Language Arts and Math for school year 2012-13.
These data are percentages of students performing at grade level:
* 3rd grade Math - 43 percent
* 3rd grade Reading/LA - 44 percent
* 11th grade Math - 38 percent
* 11th grade Reading/LA - 45 percent
Test scores are not the end-all gauges for determining education quality and learning; however, without testing we accomplish neither.
Experience does little to dissuade politicians and bureaucrats from repeating mistakes because they have a flat or descending learning curve and are devoid of any sense of failure or success. It is all about pumping money into a broken system to buy elections, increase control, and promote ideology.
This is America, where an implied promise of a good education once lived. It was well understood, accepted, and delivered. We are breaking that promise and the repeated promises of politicians, bureaucrats, and educators. The commitment made to our children remains shamefully unfilled. They deserve better.
Jim Mullen is a Parkersburg resident, working with a group of parents and current and former educators who have formed the non-partisan Quality Schools Advisory Group.