K-12: Sauve Qui Peut

When a ship starts to sink, people broadcast, "Mayday! Mayday!"  ("M'aidez" is French for "Help me.")  Frightened passengers will hear "Man the lifeboats!" and "Women and children first!"

When a crisis become truly desperate, chivalry fades before this cry: "Every man for himself."  If on a French vessel, you'll hear the elegant tri-syllabic plea: "Sauve qui peut!"  (That is, let him who is able save himself.)

Sorry to be grim, but that's the situation you face if you have children in public schools.  Nobody is coming to help you.  You are on your own.  The ship is listing and taking on water.  Save your kids if you can!

To a scary degree, our movers and shakers quietly slipped out of the picture.  Individuals and organizations that used to stand up for traditional values and the dreams of parents now tend to be silent and passive.

The most poignant story during the last 10 years is that Bill Gates, one of the country's most successful industrialists, gave more than $1 billion to  scores of organizations so they would promote Common Core.  The country hates this thing, but now Gates is giving money to the Chamber of Commerce so they will continue to sell a much discredited Common Core.

Sadly, rich people like Gates and traditional organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, once as conservative as can be, seem to have gone over to the dark side.  Who among them is demanding that public schools do a better job academically with all children? 

Who among them is helping parents understand how to work around the bogus theories and disingenuous methods employed in our public schools?

The media, from the New York Times down to your local paper and TV stations, should be demanding much improved K-12 schools.  But they are not.  They blather back and forth about the latest fads and slogans, but meanwhile, only a third of our eighth-graders are proficient in reading, math, or anything else.  A shocking percentage of college students need remedial help, especially in community colleges.

Use your local paper as a litmus test.  Search the newspaper's archive.  Have they run stories on phonics, literacy, sight-words, constructivism, Common Core math, or any other topic that would help average parents understand what is being done to their children?  Probably not.  Parents must fend for themselves.  Sauve qui peut!

The newspapers above all should be leading the charge for higher standards throughout K-12.  People who read are the people who buy newspapers.  If newspapers don't care about declining literacy, who does?  That's a scary thought, but at least you know the reality: you have to save your own family. 

Schools have started.  Now's a good time to figure out where you can make a difference. 

Newspapers are not the only big players turned silent.  What about all the religious groups; what about the black groups; what about the political groups?  Why haven't Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell launched a crusade to save the public schools?  Would it be too much to ask that Rev. Sharpton and Jesse Jackson skip racial politics now and then, instead throwing their weight behind more effective education?

Ladies and gentlemen, demand that your leaders start leading.  The big famous national leaders, of course.  But also your local community leaders.  What about the people who own the banks and other successful businesses?  They should not stand back and let a politicized Education Establishment debase public education.

It really does seem that a small cadre of political commissars, maybe only a few hundred ideological extremists at Harvard's Graduate School of Education and Columbia's College of Education, have almost total control of a far-flung system that is supposed to be controlled locally.  There's the problem.

The point of this little jeremiad is to galvanize individual citizens into realizing their lonely predicament.  Schools are going to mess up your kids if you don't intervene in the process.  Get busy.

The first step is to realize that no help is coming and everything depends on you.  The second step is to learn what's going on in the schools and which dumb ideas are causing the most damage.  When you know them, you can fight them.

If Bill Gates or other leaders won't help you, send them an impassioned letter urging a change of heart: forget Common Core.  Or write to your newspaper.  (Common Core was always a government entitlement program.  The government bureaucrats have more power, and the people have less.)

The education debate in this country is shallow and mild-mannered to the point of uselessness.  Let's turn up the volume.  Children should learn to read by the second grade.  If that's not happening, everybody should be screaming.

The people in control of K-12 seem to think it's their right to use the schools to change the United States into a socialist country.  Their goals always seem to be psychological and philosophical in nature.  They want to make children feel most comfortable when in a group and therefore unable to function in situations requiring independent judgment and initiative.  That's not helpful for the individual or the country.

Saving K-12 requires returning to goals that are academic in nature.  Public schools are not supposed to be churches (i.e., religious organizations) or in competition with churches.  Schools are supposed to be academic organizations devoted to teaching facts and knowledge and to making sure that children know all the fundamental information they need. 

The only hope is to greatly decrease social engineering and greatly amplify academic engineering, in any way you can.  Otherwise, expect this ship to keep sinking. 

"All hands on deck!"

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.)

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