Sunday, November 13, 2011


           “80,000 STATE TEACHERS TOSSED!”
           “LEGISLATURE VOTES SELF A RAISE!”          
            “Good evening, Parents and Staff. I am County Education Superintendent Knott Dublaame here with an important update.
“Our office received notice that the district needs to trim nearly ten billion dollars from our school budget. This would mean pink-slipping 80,000 teachers, all counselors, librarians, aides, office managers, secretaries (administration exempt), nursing staff, custodians, custodial assistants, grounds keepers (maybe not, tractors new), road guards, volunteers (typo?), and others (just relevant to advancement of civilization.

“Further, the parcel tax of two years ago will automatically renew; new parcel taxes A through T will be instituted starting at the new school term; property taxes will rise another 15%; the short-term supplemental tax initiated 15 years ago will increase 20% starting this term; kindergarten classes will now hold 60 students; overhead projection units, office furniture, and personal computers will be moved to a bidding process.

“Further, all students’ supplies will be charged to parents. Music, art, shop classes will be discontinued. All sports will be charged a 50 dollar fee—football exempt. After-school homework clubs and afternoon care costs will be raised 75%. School “walking-in-the-door” enrollment fees will be raised from 80 dollars to 3000 dollars per child—no large family discounts. Parking fees will be increased 50% for both teachers and students. Meals will no longer be served.

“If you want to retain P.E. and science, parents will have to pay for them out-of-pocket!”  He exits.

The education industry focuses on the price of education, not its value...obviously!  Public school is almost more pricey than private school!

Next:   NCLB.  Superintendents, did you not get the memo 10 years ago?!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

“Education is 5 times More Important Than Gender for Income.” Dino Grandoni. The Atlantic Wire

A new study, “ is much more influential than other demographics in lifetime earnings ... professional degrees vs. elementary school: 5 times ($72,000) more influential ...full-time, year-round workers...more women to men earning college degrees = 36% more...women benefit more financially from education...”

How does any student survive the faulty classroom obstructionists today?  “Schools Race to the Bottom.”  Quality education in the public arena is elusive, hazardous. Parents need to explore other venues for learning, not be conned by public schools.

The years, the new taxes, the professional hand-wringing incompetence, and the un-subsidized mandates pound on. The rugs get larger.  The media watchdogs poke loudly and often at the education carcass—to no measurable avail.  It’s just more excuses/buck-passing, more new clothes for the emperor.  More:
                Teacher layoffs
                Shortened school/teaching days
                Unclear instructions for teachers
                Refusals to assess/cull failing teachers
                Cancelled summer remedial programs
                Cancelled afternoon homework clubs
                Cancelled room aides
                Wasteful, irrelevant teaching aids/gadgets.
                Closing libraries
                Closing schools
                Bloated classrooms
                Increased parents’ walking-in-the-door registration fees
                Wasted dollars/times/energy
                Wasted futures
                Under-schooled and unskilled juvenile delinquents street-bound, biting back

...and test scores continue to plummet.

Next:   Advancement of Civilization

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

“Science Gets an ‘F’. High Hopes—Few Opportunities.”

Sharon Norguchi. BANG. “...81% of teachers blames math and English for stealing time from science/technology...44% of principals sees merit including science...85% of teachers lacks training, 60% of districts has no dedicated science staff...CA 4th grade at national bottom...” Yet, “...10% of schools offers quality science education...”

Kudos to those districts and educators who provide vigorous/apt curricula for their students! This is the difference between quality teachers (and principals) and those quasi educators who show up to dabble at teaching. Further, the failing educators (and principals) are responsible for a retrogressive prosperity, explosive (literally) citizen inequality, and the current, toxic public safety issue.

“High Hopes” is laudatory. “Few Opportunities” is negligent and unprofessional. All teachers study for the same credential, study both science and social studies as it should be taught to students, and assist their own children in both subjects. Informational reading is returning to quality schools so science, social studies, technology are taught/learned through English/language arts.

“Hey, are you a sub? Can you watch my class for 5 minutes so I can refill my coffee? Mrs. A and I do this all the time.” The across-the-way teacher was gone for a half-hour—during which I ran between 2 classrooms monitoring/teaching 60+ students. I declined his second request.

“Hi, I’m the teacher from next door, do you have a video to show my students, they’re (middle schoolers) are driving me bonkers today...GREAT! Bug’s Life is perfect! Thanks, you’re a life-saver.”

“Eventually, the only students in college will be from private schools or those who are home-schooled, certainly the ones who’ll be getting scholarships!” prophesied a young mom.

If failing public school teachers allot for time-wasters (pageants, seasonal song fests, half-days), they have time to teach quality science and social studies. If some can/do, all could/should.

Next: “Education is 5 Times More Important Than Gender For income.”

Saturday, November 5, 2011

“Stupid in America.” John Stossel, Fox Business Network

John Stossel, in his “Stupid in America,” might have better titled his views, “Stupids in America!”

Stossel: “ costs thru roof, test scores stagnant/plummeting since 1970s...subpar schools, out-of- touch teachers, edu. industry complex/gov. monopoly (BLOB) nips every critical reform...”

Mr. Stossel needs to place the onus of failed education on the only trained/paid professional in the classroom, the person in-charge—the teacher.  In 40 years of promoting apposite education, I have yet to meet a BLOBBER in a classroom. Where are the BLOBS’ children studying? Private schools.

The home-schooled students, the “kitchen table scholars,” test consistently higher and higher than the public school students—with significantly less resources and untrained (mostly parents) personnel.  So much for: “...the BLOBBERS believe parents not hip/knowledgeable about curricula, about teacher credentials...”  Stossel.

Or, are BLOB parents at the teacher’s elbow, demanding accountability?  Fact!  Children of involved parents get much more classroom assistance.  Teachers understand this in-your-face accountability!

Two kindergartens:  same school, same classroom, same day.  A.M. kindergarten is taught by a quality teacher and 2 parent volunteers.  Students are quietly engaged, and learning.  P.M. kindergarten is bedlam as students play/wrestle under the desks. Their teacher is scheduling tutoring sessions with parents in the back of the room. No aides. No learning.

Private industry routinely reviews workers (tests) and their out-puts. “Perform productively and get the numbers, or clean out your desks!” Education in America is a global laughingstock, the national prosperity is retrogressing, and citizen inequality is exploding—literally!”  Why are educators/teachers getting a pass? 

The “Stupids” are not students. Students are collateral damage. The “Stupid (s)” are the failing/resistant-to-change trained quasi-professionals in charge of the classroom.  These slackers give quality teachers a bad rep/rap, and unaffectedly trample the futures of generations.

Next:       “Science Gets An ‘F’.  High Hopes, Few Opportunities.”  Norguchi. BANG.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Poor Frankie

           “I’m dumb, dumb! Everyone else in the class gets this math and I don’t.” The adorable and affable second grader tears.
            “First of all, Frankie, you are not dumb! Not at all! Secondly, there are at least 12 other students who do not understand this lesson.”
            “I didn’t get it last year and I don’t get it this year. I hate science, and I hate math, and I hate school!”
            “Frankie, do you do your homework?” I ask.
            “Uh, not so much. I usually play outside after school. Then, I watch TV.” Home alone?

Poor Frankie never completely understood adding one number to another. He probably blinked in kindergarten, missed a couple days of phonics and the abacus, and never gained ground. No rescue.  Knowledge sequencing was impossible.

It does not take much to loosen the fundamental glue of a lesson: daydreaming, bending over to pick up a pencil, fatigue, confusion, distress, teaching too fast, lean or toxic home support, a friend’s toy, an orthodontic appointment, any frivolity that supplants education.

Since pupils are unaware of having missed integral, vital specks of a day’s lesson, the pupil perceives him/herself as dumb. Just ask him, her.

The truth is that the teacher, the school, and the administrators all know what was missed, when, and why. The who is in the grade books, self-blaming, being ignored/cheated.

NEXT:  “Stupid in America.”  John Stossel

Kindergarteners, first days...

           “What if I oversleep?” Happens.
           “What if I forget where the bathroom is?” Happens.
           “What if I pee my pants?” Happens.
           “What if my mom doesn’t know where I am?” Happens.
           “What if the teacher doesn’t like me?” Happens.
            “What if I never see my friend Luke?” Happens.
           “What if I fall asleep in school?” Happens.
           “What if someone beats me up?” Happens.
           “What if kids make fun of me?” Happens.
           “What if no one likes me?” Happens.
           “Pssst. Don’t tell on me, okay.”

These little September mustangs differ immensely from the bridled crop of the following June.

Two kindergartens: same day, same school, same classroom.  A.M. kindergarten is taught by a quality teacher and 2 parent volunteers. Students are quietly engaged, and learning.  P.M. kindergarten is chaos as students play/wrestle under the desks. Their teacher is scheduling tutoring sessions with parents in the back of the room. No aides. No learning.

Primary grades craft all future sequential learning. Flunk kindergarten and pupil stumbles/struggles forever. Teachers need to get the education right at the get-go!  No excuses.

If your child is not at grade level knowledge, make noise, serious noise. Professionals posture but in the face of $$$ and votes, waffle.  Students have no vote, no lobby, no recourse ...only parents.

Fact!  Children of involved parents get much more positive classroom attention/assistance.  Fact!

Well-meaning parents have tutors on speed-dial. Assume their child is deficient, to blame for failing.  But the mainstreamed student is guaranteed the right to free, public education, is tested able to learn, and wants to learn. If some educators score success, all should!

“I’m dumb, dumb! Everyone else in the class gets this math and I don’t.” The adorable and affable second grader tears. “I didn’t get it last year and I don’t get it this year. I hate science, I hate math, and I hate school!” Frankie.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Elementary Years Build the Foundations

The kindergarten, elementary years build the foundations that all future, sequential learning is based. Every skipped rung, every broken rule in education fractures learning. Gaps become yawning caverns that take on power.  Imagine, failure power, where lack of attention and assistance  trump intelligence.  

“Your turn to read, George,” I say to the four-year-old kindergartener sucking a thumb and stroking his shirt with the other hand. The thumb is yanked and both hands grip his reader.

“The dog, Fenway, rounded the corner to see if Gordo was hiding behind the bush. A smile came to Fenway’s face as Gordo walked up to his friend and plunked the bone at his front paws. Where have you been, Gordo? I thought you’d gone off with Mister Martin to the hard...hard...ware store.”
“George, that was excellent!” He grins as his fingers crab toward the pretzels in the center of the table. I edge the bowl closer to him.

A few quality teachers in excelling schools, understand the criticalness of scholarship in these early years of teaching/learning. These teachers have kindergarten reading clubs, catch-up exercises; students excel across the subject spectrum with solid grade-specific knowledge.  Attention, assistance, accountability.  No child is left behind academically. Students succeed because teachers succeed.

Next: Kindergarten fears