K-12: Parent X Takes On Principal Zero
As you study the decline of our public schools and see the tsunami of sophistry and deceit, you start to wonder: who promotes all this stuff? Who defends it? No normal person would want our public schools to be increasingly mediocre. What's going on?
It's not easy when you're on the outside to answer these questions. You can see the dysfunctional theories and methods operating in public schools. But the people responsible for the quackery are not likely to claim credit. Sure, they may brag to each other. But the public in general is thought to be ignorant rubes who are not entitled to know very much. (The public is probably regarded as The Enemy.)
So I was delighted when a mother wrote to me about her experiences with a local school. Long story short, she irritated the principal so much that the principal actually told the truth.
Parent X wrote:
My oldest daughter attended private school K-8. Next, she attended what was supposed to be the "best" public high school in the area. I thought grades 9-10 were marginal at best. Then a new principal was assigned with a Ph.D. in education. And things got worse!
In grades 11-12, I had at least ten parent-teacher conferences about substandard academic performance – of the teachers. Except for one dedicated AP English teacher, they didn't know their subjects, and they didn't care.
My complaints were elevated to the new principal. I met with him at least seven times; several times I was accompanied by a member of the school board.
Finally the principal, aggravated and arrogant, told me schools no longer believe in academic excellence because demanding subjects no longer appeal to the mainstream student or to his parents.
He proclaimed that his program, his syllabus, his teachers were all fully in compliance with local, state, and federal standards, and he wasn't going to change a single thing to accommodate me or my daughter.
He said proudly he is a "Progressive," he has a Ph.D., and he had "helped" develop and design many of those standards, and he believed in them. He said any kid who wants a higher-level education for a professional career will have to get it somewhere else.
He was emphatic that neither I nor the school board member could change anything.
I gave up on public schools. My youngest daughter was homeschooled. She is 17 and starts her sophomore year in college next month. Pre-med. She is certainly smart, but not an Einstein. We focused on core academic subjects, and we have not wasted her time with social justice indoctrination. This approach will work in every school that tries it.
For me, the key sentence is "schools no longer believe in academic excellence because demanding subjects no longer appeal to the mainstream students or to their parents." Says who? Did somebody take a survey? Did Congress discuss this? No to all such questions. These arrogant Progressives meet in back rooms and decide what the public needs and will get. And that's that.
Truth is, the dumbing down starts in kindergarten. Kids don't learn to read promptly. They don't learn basic information. By the time they reach ninth grade, they're dumb enough to think this principal's high school is a reasonable place, not the illegitimate fraud it actually is.
What does this principal do all day? Put another way, what is his real job? I think the best word is enforcer. His job is to lay down the law to irritating parents who are slow to get the message. If they or their kids still have any dreams, they should give them up. Accept average.
My impression is that all the bureaucrats in education, such as this principal, make $50,000 more than they could make in the real world. His main skill is not technical, professional, or educational. His main skill is bamboozling parents. He tells the community how much education they can have. He has to deliver this message: You want education? You can't handle education. You're peasants. Mediocrity is good enough for you. Eat cake."
The Education Establishment cannot control the vast K-12 system without tens of thousands of eager enforcers. These are the superintendents, administrators, and principals. Every school seems to be overstaffed with such enforcers but understaffed with real educators.
Years ago I heard someone propose that we need to walk through the public schools and ask each person if he does something in the classroom. If not, he's fired. It's a start. Does a community need to tighten its budgets? Fire administrators. Their main official duty seems to be the creation of unnecessary paperwork.
But let's look even deeper. What is a Progressive? That's just a fancy word for Socialist or Communist. They set low goals, especially in education. Apparently, they want people to be permanently weak and controllable. They don't want to educate people who might replace them or compete with their own children. Progressives always seem to be training an underclass who will be happy to stay at the bottom, so that Progressives can rise to the top.
Bruce Deitrick Price explains theories and methods on his education sites Improve-Education.org. (For info on his four new novels, see his literary site Lit4u.com.)