Cops to focus on catching crooks, bakers to focus on making bread, and new schools chief to focus on literacy

 

Apparently, The Fayetteville Observer thinks it is newsworthy that the new Moore County Schools superintendent is going to focus on ‘literacy.’   Um — what ELSE should he be focusing on?

On the face of it, the statement sounds silly.  Though, as a community college instructor, I have encountered a surprising number of high school graduates who struggle to read my course’s textbook and to communicate clearly and coherently in writing.

How, you ask, are people like that allowed to graduate from high school?  How can those people be expected to function and contribute lawfully as adult citizens in the community?

For far too long, public education has been primarily about scooping up as much government money as possible.  The three R’s have gone from Reading, ‘Riting, and ‘Rithmetic to  Revenue, Regulations, and Reports.  Actually making sure the kids are learning something is a distant second  or —  in some cases — third.

I’ll never forget one class I taught.  Because of the requirements of the legislation funding the class, I was required, daily, to submit FIVE different attendance reports –each with its own unique reporting requirements — to FIVE different sources. That bureaucratic silliness ate significantly into the time I had to ACTUALLY teach something.

The bureaucrats also place serious benchmarks on schools that require a certain percentage to achieve a certain grade level in coursework in order to get funding.  There is a lot of pressure out there to keep moving students along so the tax money spigot does not get shut off.  There is a lot of pressure to close your eyes and look the other way on students who are not performing up to snuff.

In my classes, you get the grade you earn.  Plenty of students tell me that — even though I am tough –they appreciate me and actually learn something in my classes.  Sure, I get grief from bureaucrats who don’t like the fact that I don’t pad grades, and therefore hold percentages down. But I am not in the classroom FOR the bureaucrats.

I’ll never forget an experience from grad school.  We had a number of Chinese exchange students going through the program.  I was a amazed at how much they already knew. In some cases, they knew more than the professors.   I spoke about this with a friend who is a retired CEO of a Fortune 500 company.  His take?

They’re not here to learn the material.  They’re here to study Americans and our system.

The edu-crats are burying us in red tape and downgrading the importance of academic achievement.  In doing so, they are managing the decline and fall of the American empire and ushering in our new role as second or third fiddle to China and India.

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