Just Let Me -- G -- Indoctrinate You!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dear America,

"[you're like] a bride without a head!"
Ronny Cammareri

"[you're like] a wolf without a foot!"
Loretta Castorini


Duly noting each other's faults, exchanging complimentary jabs, just before they give way to temptation.

They knew it was wrong, but they did it anyway.

And so goes a nation, the "education nation" this week (sponsored by, none other than a shining example of unbiased media and excellence in journalism, NBC); even though we are spending ooodles and oodles of dough each year, we are deteriorating from the bottom up, rising to lower standards overall, making far less  gains to show for it, with a heaping topping of bureaucratic gobbly gook binding the states under federal control to the likes of levels never seen before.  It would be so great  -- if only it were a souffle.

Few Facts:

15,000 school districts
50 Million students later...

Annually, our nation spends approximately 500 billion a year on education -- having only about 8% of that coming from the federal government, to date.

The Department of Education became part of the American bureaucracy, marked with a cabinet post, in 1979.

In the 1860's, the federal response to the pending interest in our children's education, consisted of FOUR people, with an annual budget of $15,000; the primary concern, research and development -- glorified fact finders -- to investigate proven methods and impressive test scores over time, and the tenacity of young minds and those who teach them.  And doink, already it was creeping into areas it didn't belong...

Jump the learning curve forward a hundred years (yes, skipping over years of strange indoctrination and censorship of the early 1900's), we move into the 1960's; here, we find a budget of about 1.5 Billion (adjusted for inflation, about 25 B's), with approximately 2,113 employees.  And this is where the spiral downturn begins to really spin...

While both sides begin to volley for one-ups-manship, the upper hand, the party to which we laud and magnify for their efforts -- the "bride without a head, a wolf without a foot" mentality takes us over and has our way with us; being totally unaware in the moment, the infidelity to the sanctity of local jurisdiction becomes the stranglehold we can't break free from -- and ultimately, it becomes just one small part of our nation's downfall, standing in line with all the rest.

If only it were a movie with a happy ending.

Today, our students rank far below the standards we hit in the 1960's -- which if you are familiar with the McGuffey Readers (we might have to have a lesson or two this week), were even lower than that in the 1860's!

We have reached the pinnacle in departmental deception and disgust, encompassing over 5,000 employees and a budget of 100 BILLION, all in upper case to make my point all the more horrendous.

George W. Bush increased the department spending by 69 % between the years 2002 and 2004, instituting the No Child Left Behind program; but apparently and in spite of good intentions, for all other Americans, we were left in the dust, sucking fumes; and to be fair and balanced, Obama nation education, only accelerates the growth and exasperates local control and decision making, courtesy of a 120 page outline of regulations and expectations -- just go to any link to the DOE.gov and you will find it.

So, with tripling the per pupil monetary disbursements -- one could safely say, we have tripled the liabilities, for the proof is the pudding; and that puddin' is lumpy, uses too much sugar, and leaves a nasty after taste...that is after we have already burned the roof of our mouth trying to gobble it up too soon.

I didn't realize until today, that it was the republicans running on empty in 1996, with Bob Dole campaigning on the promise to totally cut the Department of Education, if given a shot; while having not been elected,  in the year 2000,  even the Republican Libertarian Caucus passed a resolution to abolish the department altogether (who knew?) -- and yet, just a few years later, as was just pointed out, the W added nearly seventy percent in federal spending to the pot, like a sorcerer howling to the moon. (as much as I loved the guy, O'Donnell's got nothin' on him on this).  See the Cato review for more.

Okay,  Okay, enough already! (and say it like Loretta would scream it in her fake Brooklynese)

Ooodles and ooodles of dough is not the answer.

No bureaucrat will make a difference, no matter what they say, or who says it, or how much money is thrown at it.  And if you believe that it will, you are moonstruck and stupid.

What will fix it?

Too simple for any one's own good, really.

It gets down to the mama and papa in every home across the nation -- along with the local jurisdiction to hire and fire, including but not limited to, having the right to fire a teacher, with due cause, without litigation, with a simple thank you, this doesn't seem to be working out for you (like every other business in the private sector), now if you could be so kind to simply move on.org, thank you very much (without the rubber rooms, too).

And oh yes, and how could I forget, beginning with doing away with the bureaucracy in charge of it all, and returning to FOUR people in the Department of Education; you know, with the rise of the Internet, much of the information and research is right there at any one's finger tips, many of the services offered by the department are simply duplicated efforts along the way.  Cut 4,996  jobs -- and let the local okles handle it.

And to just to be sure we are clear, let's put it another way -- we've done it before; there was a time when the department allowed for every school district to do their own thing -- and they did a pretty good job at it (proven in the aptitude tests of the last hundred years).

The thing is, the key element to building strong minds into aspiring and inspiring young adults, is found so closely tied to the local jurisdiction, it is just astounding we haven't fallen back to this a long time ago.  The truth is, we need to stop pretending and stop pussy footing around the real crux of the matter; when we say local, it is so neighborly, you can almost smell what's cooking on the stove.

For the resolution is really found under one roof -- and that is none other than our home sweet home.

Without a parent reading to the baby peacefully in the womb at the end of the day;

without a parent reading Dr. Seuss to the toddler who can't get enough of their parent's voice and the time on the lap;

without a parent teaching the ABC's and 123's, and thoughtfully encouraging their child to blossom in school right from the start;

without a parent making sure homework is done, whether it be first grade or twelfth;

without a parent enjoying the responsibility of influencing their child and taking an active part in their education, and demanding that their child show up to school, making an earnest attempt to pay every bit of attention and apply themselves, setting the example to be a good listener, respective of their teachers and administrators;

without a parent at the end the day, letting their child know how much they love them, and how so very proud of them they are...

and we could go on forever...

but without this kind of a parent (one or two, gay or straight) we will continue to exchange barbs and point fingers to the other guy, claiming how, in every which way to Sunday, it is not our fault nor is it our responsibility to fix -- ignorantly giving claim to a government to takeover the luscious little minds of our children, while I'll be, finding ourselves choking down something of all things incredible and non-eatable.  YUCK YOU.

I was just at my girl's open house for the new school year; in her biology class was a sign,

"the words yes and no
are the oldest and simplest words,
yet these two words
require the most thought."

YES, indeed.

Recently, Obama has re energized against the "party of no"  -- claiming it to be reckless, irresponsible, and doomed for failure right from the get go, driving us into a ditch without a leg, let alone just a foot, to stand on. 

Well, I beg to differ. 

I think the party of no takes on a whole new meaning when faced with the facts upon the education of a nation, when addressing the over zealous spending habits of the rich and famous faces of congress, after hundreds of billions in bailouts and stimulus -- enough to stimulate the fed, but leaving the every day family of four in ruins.

In another room, a flyer was handed out to every parent; on it listed "The Smart Student's Credo," taken from What Smart Students Know by Adam Robinson.  Numero Uno:

"Nobody can teach you as well as you can teach yourself."
Well, yes and no, perhaps...but

That,in and of itself, seems to fall in line with the oh so simple recipe of the American way and the making of an American student; the self-reliance born in the United States of America, every day, begins at home with a loving parent making you, "because I said so."

Until then, our goose, with figgie-pudding on the side, is cooked.

Make it a Good Day, G

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