Friday, January 13, 2006

Stupid in America

Last night on "The Factor" Bill O'Reilly had an interview with Jon Stossel of ABC's 20/20. Their conversation was on how the public school system, especially high schools, cheat our children out of an excellent education. 20/20 is running a program tonight called "Stupid in America: How we cheat our kids". Wish I could watch it but with our dish network we don't get any of our local ABC, CBS, or NBC stations. Jon Stossel did compare the public school system to grocery stores. If we were told we could only shop at a certain local grocery store (you can only go to this public school) we'd end up being cheated out of good prices and excellent food quality. The store would only sell sour milk and rotten food because it would know we could only shop there and no where else.

Interesting comparison, I think, and it drives a good point. Without competition the quality of our schools becomes worse and worse.

If any one watches the special tonight, let me know how it was. :-D

8 comments:

Calandria said...

We can get network t.v. if we pull out our antenna. I normally avoid that 20/20 show, but maybe I'll watch tonight. :-)

Athena said...

We don't have cable. There was an essay I read that went along these same lines. I'll try and find it.

nestle said...

It's probably a good thing my comment didn't go through. (this is a subject a little close to home. It touched a couple of buttons)I believe that it is the ambivelance of society and the community attitude that we are being cheated that creates an atmosphere of indiference or disgust towards teachers. The hardest thing for teachers is the attitude of parents claiming that they are not providing a quality education for their children. And yet, those same teachers work on average a 10-12 hour day grading papers, teaching, creating lesson plans, tutoring delayed children counseling students and helping with make up work. I believe it's the fault of the parents as to the success of their children. Kevin went to a "poor" high school and yet he graduated Magna Cum Laude from ASU in BioChemistry. I believe you do a dishonor to those professional that do spend a great majority of their time doing something they consider to be a service to the community. I know of not a one teacher who is in it to screw students over. They do not provide inferior goods because we don't have anywhere else to go. They have to create a delicate balancing act of parent, teacher, councelor, and friend. All of which is nearly impossible to do when you are teaching 93 students a day. And yet if you do not provide the necessary emotional support to these students you create a "Cypher in the Snow" effect. I taught 3 years on 7th grade. My last year alone held 5 girls who had be raped by family members. I was the person they turned to for help. I had 3/4 of my students' parents in a gang and yes over half of my students were sexually active (I taught in inner-city Phoenix). I also had a parent who the prior year had sued the teacher becasue she "made her son read too much". How do you expect teachers to teach students who have learned from socitey that they are being cheated in their education? The greatest problem I ran into was that students really don't care. We have created a society where we bail the kids out vs. holding them responsible for their actions. In past years at the school I taught any child who was failed 3 out of 5 of the children's parents sued the school for lack of help. What people don't understand is that when we are compared to Japan or India and their quality of education they are not recognizing that most other countries have a test at age 12 to see if they qualify for high school. ONly those that pass are allowed to go to high school. The rest need to go to a vocational school. So here our high schools are who take the good, the bad, and the ugly being compared to only the best the other countries have to offer. I can guarantee you that the teachers in the public schools are not trying to sell anyone sour milk. They are not in it for the money or anything like that. They are there to make the community better, not to cheat the students. They just have to compensate for the lack of GOOD family influence and become the parent, mentor, teacher. Before you belittle the system consider the job they have to do and the resources they are given to do it and you would join me in a standing ovation for the job they are doing and be overjoyed at the thought that they are turning out a majority of good citizens who are educated in not just the hard subjects but also in ethics and morality as well. Something the great majority of students aren't learning at home anymore.

Calandria said...

I saw the last 1/2 hr of the program last night--the Timberwolves game ran over. The point Stossel seemed to be making was that we should have vouchers. Money should be tied to the student, and wherever the student chooses to go (be it parochial school, vocational, public, etc.) there goes the money, too. That is the system, according to this program, in Beligium. He had interviews with several people, like South Carolina's secretary of ed. and the president of NY's teacher's union, who obviously disagreed. Stossel antagonistic toward teachers' unions. He championed school choice as a means of providing competition that will only make schools better, as demonstrated in several states.

Montserrat said...

Whoa, Nellie! Who said anything about the teachers doing an awful job? Course there are some who do; good and bad in every situation, you know. :-D The SYSTEM they have to work with does need to be made over and I whole-heartedly agree that the invovlement of the parents makes the difference between a mediocre education and the BEST education. Ness, didn't you read the comment I left on your blog? I stated it there. Parental involvement in their child's education whether it is through public, private, or home school is the key. If parents did their job then the teachers would be able to focus on doing their's -TEACH. But because some parents aren't actively participating in their child's education, the teacher has "to create a delicate balancing act of parent, teacher, counselor, and friend" as you stated, thus lessening the time they have to spend on the real task at hand.

nestle said...

Unfortunately regardless of what you do with the SYSTEM, unless the teachers don't have to act like the parent, mentor etc. it won't get better.

nestle said...

ps. your comment didn't go through

Henry Cate said...

I happened across your blog.

You may already know this, but the 20/20 report is available online both in video and the full script:

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/stossel/story?id=1500338


And John Stossel has written a couple followup columns:

http://www.townhall.com/opinion/contributors/JohnStossel.html

I thought the following columns were especially good: 11 January, 18 January, 22 February.