Sorry, But We Deserve Our Schools

Public schools aren't the failures they're castigated for being; they are misunderstood successes. True, they don't teach very much English, math, or history but that's a secondary job. Young kids are regularly suspended for drawing pictures of guns, wearing T-shirts with guns on them, possessing empty ammo casings, or anything else suggestive of an armed citizenry. That's primary, and the public schools are good at it. The students maybe can't multiply or read, but they all know guns are bad, just as they know how to do sex and sell green theory to their parents. They are turning out well-trained future voters favoring the current leftish pieties who will obediently support Progressive government and who will not ask too many questions.

Education is a low priority because teaching folks to think produces independent individuals who are troublesome to govern and become more difficult as government goes beyond a minimum. Much better just to provide basic tools to run the de-industrialized economy while building in the needed equality, groupthink, and conformity. Government wants sheep to herd, not educated, independent cats and government funds (with our taxes), and it operates the public schools. That's why neither Republicans nor Democrats have done anything about the schools, regardless of the fusses made. That is why the Republican and the Democrat running for Governor of New Mexico both oppose vouchers that would let parents select their schools, providing unwanted competition further opposed by the teachers' unions.

George Bush's "No Child Left Behind" student proficiency testing (reading and math) in 2009 showed that 41% of Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) couldn't get half their students to meet the standard, while another 45% of the schools fell between half and three quarters. Only 15% of APS schools were able to teach three quarters of more of their students to meet the standards.

An obvious reason for that was visible in the test data reported by teacher, courtesy of the Albuquerque Journal:

Class Proficiency (No Child Left Behind) 2009 Test Percentages By Teacher

Highest Ranked School: 96%, 97%, 100%, 83%, 94%, 92%, 96%, 91%, 77%

Median Ranked School: 61%, 62%, 43%, 68%, 46%, 60%, 47%, 73%, 66%

Lowest Ranked School: 25%, 44%, 43%, 23%, 31%, 47%, 30%, 19%, 23%, 0%

Teachers' results have not varied much from year to year; it's clear that some teachers get significantly better results than others. However, teacher evaluations don't rest on such results and in some places cannot by union contract or law. The teachers' ability to educate is simply not very important to their careers...because it's not important to the schools. If it were important to the schools, it would not be kept below the radar, and it would change things.

Underfunding is a perennial excuse. That's a dishonest cop-out: The U.S. now spends more per pupil on education than any other major industrialized country. So much is spent that the schools are now hiding the information; a Cato Institute report, "They spend WHAT? The Real Cost of Public Schools" by Adam Schaeffer, found that public schools across the country are reporting only a portion of their spending. It took a lot of research and some Freedom of Information effort for Cato to assemble the data. For examples, the Los Angeles Unified School District reported a cost per pupil of $10,053, whereas Cato found it was actually $25,208. Washington, D.C. reported $17,542 to Cato's $28,170. Chicago reported $11,536, while Cato came up with $15,875.

Cato estimated private school costs for comparison, finding that in Los Angeles, the public school cost per pupil was 201 percent greater than the cost at the average private school there. It was 155 percent greater in Washington, D.C. and 79 percent greater in Chicago. Brainwashing instead of educating isn't cheap.

Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley, himself a Democrat, panned the Obamacrats' new Race To The Top law, advertised to fix the schools from Washington. It seems to sweep Bush's testing back under the rug as a favor to the teachers' unions. The status remains quo, as it has since "Progressive" education came into the public schools in the early 1930s. Meanwhile, the juggernaut rolls on, crushing true education with mind-molding; the posturing politicians pay off the schools while everybody involved makes sure nothing important changes. Those who supply both the money and the politicians who maintain the system are the only possible source of change, but no change is in sight. Like the weather, everybody complains, but nobody does anything. We deserve our schools, and we deserve the voters they are producing.