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June 12, 2010
No teacher left behind
It isn't easy being a public school teacher. The long hours of hard back-breaking work are never appreciated by those of us in the real world. Teachers have long been overworked, underpaid and greatly under appreciated. I have relatives who are public school teachers and have been moved to tears at the plight of these poor, yet noble public servants.
Among the challenges facing today's educators is the increasing pressure to produce results. In the private sector we face results based scrutiny every day with necessary demands for increased productivity, reduced waste and compliance with a myriad of mind-numbing government regulations. Ad to that the pressure to pay for raw material, facilities, machinery, maintenance, insurance, taxes and payroll (to name just a few) with only the capital and resources generated by the business itself.
Results in the public school system are increasingly measured by standardized test results. Many educators are faced with the unappealing prospect of actually doing the job that the tax-payers have hired them to do; teach their students. The New York Times reports that.
The federal No Child Left Behind law is a further source of pressure. Like a high jump bar set intentionally low in the beginning, the law - which mandates that public schools bring all students up to grade level in reading and math by 2014 - was easy to satisfy early on. But the bar is notched higher annually, and the penalties for schools that fail to get over it also rise: teachers and administrators can lose jobs and see their school taken over.
Terror of terrors! Schools and teachers are being held accountable for their failure! The social engineering experiment known as public education has been much more concerned with pushing their socialist agenda than in teaching little Barry and Micki how to read, write and do math. The question remains, how can the schools get those darn test scores up to par?
In Normandy Crossing Elementary School near Houston, Texas a bonus of $2,850 was dangled before the poor starving teachers as an incentive to do the job they are already generously paid to do. The standardized tests were administered as required.
But when the results came back, some seemed too good to be true. Indeed, after an investigation by the Galena Park Independent School District, the principal, assistant principal and three teachers resigned May 24 in a scandal over test tampering.
It seems that rather than actually resort to the antiquated notion of teaching their students, a number of progressive educators are finding it much more effective to provide exam answers from stolen tests or simply change the answer sheets.
In Georgia, the state school board ordered investigations of 191 schools in February after an analysis of 2009 reading and math tests suggested that educators had erased students' answers and penciled in correct responses. Computer scanners detected the erasures, and classrooms in which wrong-to-right erasures were far outside the statistical norm were flagged as suspicious.
The Georgia scandal is the most far-reaching in the country. It has already led to the referral of 11 teachers and administrators to a state agency with the power to revoke their licenses. More disciplinary referrals, including from a dozen Atlanta schools, are expected.
This is all part of a nationwide epidemic much more dangerous to our children than Swine-Flu ever was. While teachers, administrators and their union leaders are quick to point out that the instances of cheating represent only a small percentage of the overall number, we should take no comfort in their claims. As a general rule successful criminals are rarely caught, the majority of crimes which are committed go unsolved.
Given the vast amounts of tax dollars that are at stake we may never know the true extent of the testing scandal in our public schools. Education professor Gregory J. Cizek at the University of North Carolina has been engaged in the study of this testing fraud and says that these matters are often hushed-up. Dr. Cizek said "one of the real problems is states have no incentive to pursue this kind of problem."
The black-hole of public education which continues to suck in obscene amounts of tax dollars in spite of the economic plight of their benefactors show what can happen when the liberals have near total control of any institution for a lengthy period of time. The left has removed the foundation of objective knowledge in favor of agenda based indoctrination and now we are dealing with the consequences. Of course there is nothing wrong with the system that couldn't be solved with more money, smaller class sizes and multi-culturalism.
Hey, here's an idea. Why not teach the students how to read, write and do arithmetic instead of devoting endless hours teaching them to sing and dance in praise of Obama! These bureaucratic indoctrination specialists may have symbolically kicked God out of the classroom, but unlike the government he knows what is going on in there.