The Surreal World of Teaching
College continues to get more interesting. One young man who missed 15 out of 28 days of school explains that he and "his ex-girlfriend just had a baby." When asked who would take care of the baby, the boy (also a product of a single-mother household) said his mother and the girl's mother needed to work this out. Although he admitted that his girlfriend had used birth control for two years, by the "third year, it didn't seem that necessary." While he was happy about the baby, the young man also explained that he wasn't even sure the baby is his, so he was scheduled to have a DNA test soon.
Nothing like common sense, fidelity, and future planning!
But did you know that in the inverted world of education today, if a student has a baby, then more financial aid is available? Indeed! Consequently, students are being told by their college advisers that they should get pregnant. Even some of the students are appalled at this suggestion. But then there are those who proclaim that "the money comes from the government," implying that it is not really problematic. Deliberately unschooled in how things actually work, and already the recipients of financial assistance, these students see government as the ultimate security blanket. There is no connection to the idea that government comprises taxpayers.
What a wonderful idea – to have a money tree somewhere pumping out financial aid ad infinitum!
Should we be surprised, given what has been documented in the booklet titled "Leftist Indoctrination in Our K-12 Public Schools" by Sara Dogan and Peter Collier? In Edina, Minnesota, the Highlands Elementary School students write poems that link "the anti-police and racially divisive Black Lives Matter movement with peace." The principal reproduced Black Lives Matter's own website, which states that its members "are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and villages."
Then there is the book titled A is for Activist, which features "C is for Creative Counter to Corporate Vultures, E is for environmental justice, T is for Trans. X is for Malcolm. As in Malcolm X." It is billed as an "ABC board book written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives[.]"
In Ithaca, New York, the Beverly J. Martin Elementary School students sat through a presentation featuring Bassem Tamimi, who videos his own children sharing a message that "we [Palestinians] don't like that Israel kill [sic] us, kill Gaza, kill Palestinian[.]" Actual facts be damned.
Moreover, "beginning in kindergarten, students will be taught about the many ways to express gender. Gender expression education will include information about the manifestations of traits that are typically associated with one gender. Fourth graders will be expected to 'define sexual orientation' and taught that they can choose their own."
Reading, writing, and 'rithmetic that used to produce coherence and clarity – not so much.
Cell phones are now the bane of any instructor. Even when an instructor politely asks, "John, are you checking a word in the phone's dictionary?" hoping the student will be ashamed at being caught texting and might, therefore, put the phone away, it makes no difference. But rest assured when they do poorly, they beg for extra credit and trot out an unfounded "racist" charge in order to intimidate a teacher.
Instructors who believe that education is about teaching students how to think, not what to think, are bewildered, dismayed, and disheartened. They are bombarded with surveys about student engagement and performance as well as mid-semester grading reports. Is it not absurd that progress reports are issued to college students? Can't they figure out their own averages without it being documented on a computer program?
What a silly question – we need to infantilize the college student as much as possible. Businesses complain that their biggest issue with the workforce is that they cannot find people who have the job skills necessary to do the work – oh, you mean like being responsible, coming on time, taking the initiative, asking appropriate questions, and following guidelines and rules?
Many of these young people are actually quite pleasant, but individual responsibility and future planning are not high on their list of critical attributes. While they do work an excessive number of hours at jobs in order to pay for school and books, they do not actually have a sense of where they are going. Many of them are exceptionally thin-skinned and take offense at the slightest thing – either misunderstanding what is taught, because they have never learned or cannot fathom the art of nuance or inference – or they are just plain mad at the world. Directions are repeatedly ignored, and when this is pointed out, a frustrated and angry student asserts, "If I come out of character, you are not going to like it" to a college instructor.
Furthermore, students simply cannot comprehend what plagiarism entails. But why should they? They have never been taught to understand that articles come from journals or magazines, not the cell phone. They do not know where to find the New York Times magazine section because they have never actually held a print copy of a newspaper.
They do not know what "ISBN" stands for. They cannot decipher what a volume or issue number refers to. They don't understand what publishers do or what an anthology is. So explaining that a Works Cited page needs to be accompanied by parenthetical citations within the text is actually a foreign concept, no matter how many times it is taught. But white privilege – and Islamophobia are what they are being force-fed.
On the one hand, we have the articulate but misguided David Hoggs of the world. On the other hand, we have the less fortunate in the acquisition-of-ideas department who sit in a classroom dazed and frustrated and who assert that "for any child and even adults, school is a burden, a death sentence which we want to avoid as much as possible. Though college is guaranteeing me a better future, I hate it more than anything."
Happily, people like Mike Rowe offer alternatives to college, and it would best serve those decent young people to go the vocational route, but only if they are "ready to work smart and hard."
And charter schools, while understandably offering an alternative, are not the panacea. It should be remembered that some of the greatest minds of the last century were educated in New York City public schools. Success was evident because educators had not yet become the tool by which leftists could literally dumb down young minds.
It is child abuse, and it is totally preventable. Get the left-wing indoctrination irrevocably removed. Go back to phonics. Eliminate such useless ideas as "whole language" and "flip teaching" where homework is done in school and vice versa. Teach grammar so that one does not have to wade through alleged sentences such as "On their own, people would be forced to live based merely on their own subjective perspectives leaving them bound to repeat mistakes they have overlooked and never develop into the best versions of the [sic] themselfs [sic] as a result."
It will be a disservice to the young people, to the educators who truly want to bring out the best in their students, and to the country at large if a major sea change does not occur in the field of education. And it cannot take another generation to get started. By then, it will be much too late. We are already at the precipice.
Eileen can be reached at email@example.com.