State Senate President Phil Berger (R) announced a “major policy” initiative this week regarding public education. It all pretty much focused on putting more heat on the folks at the front of each classroom.
As a conservative — and an adjunct instructor at the community college level — I have to say that putting teachers on the hotseat is missing the mark BIG TIME in tackling the problems in public education. What benchmarks will you use in determining whether contracts need to be renewed or whether merit pay will be issued? Basing it on test scores will encourage more of the teaching-to-the-test we see throughout K-12 public education now.
I see students in my community college courses — from fresh out of high school teenagers to adults in their 50s — who struggle to read the textbooks and write at a second or third grade level. I thought K-12 was all about the three Rs — two of which are reading and writing. About two thirds of recent high school graduates in community colleges are requiring some remedial coursework. What is going on in K-12?
So much of public education is about scooping up tax dollars. The better your graduation rate — the better your test scores are — the more government money school systems can scoop up. So, there is plenty of incentive for promoting struggling students up through the system, teaching to tests, and playing with the test scores. Ensuring that the kids are actually learning stuff that will help them later in life becomes an afterthought.
If you really want to fix public education in this state, you need to start by fumigating DPI. I am handed goals from Raleigh at the beginning of each semester that DEMAND “at least 75 percent” of my students receive an A in my course. How can I honestly guarantee that?
We also get lesson plans and textbooks loaded with leftist propaganda and disinformation. The textbooks for my business courses are filled with slaps at capitalism, and praise for the welfare state. (I had one textbook forced on me which cited Mao Tse-Tung, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, and Hillary Clinton as examples of ‘great leaders.’ No joke.)
Let’s work on getting the leftist ideology out of the curriculum and get back to honest to goodness FACTS.
I agree with the end of social promotion. Don’t just stop with third graders. If you are not reading and writing at a level comparable with others your age, you don’t need to be promoted. You need extra attention. You need more help. Moving these troubled students along may help fill the school system coffers, but it does NOTHING to ensure that these kids can be productive citizens later in life — which is THE primary mission of public education. You simply must not be let out of school until you can demonstrate basic competence in reading writing and arithmetic.