MAIL: A current LAUSD teacher writes to us....

A perdaily reader and LAUSD teacher by the name of Wanderer-at-dawn passed us this (type is slightly smaller due to length):


The nation's well-being depends on many factors, most important of which is the stability of systems and following the principles which objectively promote maintenance of stability. What happened with the system of public schools in this country then? Why principles which guaranteed productive results of city schools 50 - 60 years ago, today do not work, in spite of the fact that the nation invests a phenomenal quantity of money in the maintenance and development of a public school education, along with independent sources that provide generous private donations?

        What has occurred to the economy of this country, which during the past century served as a symbol of business success and industrial prosperity? America seems to ignore her present self-imposed degraded status in a world where her president is reproached for doubtful economic policy by the leaders of China. How has China within the last 30 years managed to pass beyond feudal-communist stagnation to become the most dynamical and economically successful state in a manner reminiscent of the recent American past?

        To answer such questions, we need to turn to history. Social transformations of the 60's have turned into today's demise not only in the system of school education, but also in many fundamental values of the country. America has introduced strictly outlined concepts of political correctness into a daily life of millions. Whenever the latter enters in conflict with common sense, it is common sense that traditionally gets sacrificed.

         The idea of a social Utopia, according to which all American families should get access to bank loans to buy houses, was an excellent tribute to political correctness. Yet it has resulted in an economic disaster from which the country hardly will recover in the foreseeable future. The same, only much earlier, occurred to the system of public schools.

         Accommodating school standards to the level of illiterate consumers, and compulsory education of 12 years for all children without exception also are fruits of a distorted notion of political correctness to which laws of statistical reality do not matter; nor is it concerned about the degradation of moral values or the fact that the monstrous quantity of money spent for school system in cities stably brings pity results. At the same time, something as simple as educating students at their present subjective levels would have a profoundly positive effect in turning the present problem of education around.

        The whole nation, from the Congress up to local educational boards, continues to deceive itself, accusing poverty of crime growth, the rich of egoism, republicans of caring about wealthy whites, democrats of the treachery of interests of the needy, whites of racism and an eternal debt to Blacks, Latinos, Indians, and Arabs. It is difficult to think of a more counterproductive principle of relationship in a society than the one described above. Nevertheless, we stubbornly munch on stale ideas instead of pushing them away and promoting the initiatives that make us a great nation.

        In many states of Africa, Latin America and Asia which cannot afford the luxury of political correctness, school systems are still based on old "unfair" principles: teacher's authority in a classroom; discipline of pupils and punishment of infringers; the responsibility of parents established by social norms; steady adherence to moral rules that have been developed throughout generations; vocational training for academically unsuccessful pupils, usually from grade 9 to grade 11 or 12.  In other words, all those factors which once existed in this country as well and have been betrayed on the altar of politically correct ideology are still functional in the world that deals with real concepts instead of pseudo-liberal fantasies.

         As long as the nation continues to ignore basic rules of the public school education system, no financial injections, no urgings on teachers, no permanently introduced temporary changes will be able to provide the system's successful functioning.

         Moreover, even those positive gains which the laws of the 60's made possible are reduced today to full absurdity by the formalistic attitude of the school system management. For instance, the LAUSD system today has no more than 7 % of white children. If we also consider that the most part of the 7 % is concentrated in a handful of schools, it becomes clear that the original idea of desegregation of the school population has failed. It happens not because the idea cannot work, but because its realization is in the hands of politically correct demagogues for whom the external revelations of their public care are more important than the tedious work required to bring the system in compliance with common sense. The results of their care testify to an unquestionable failure of their policies; however, very few voices dare to challenge the dogmatic ideologues who created their personal comfort on top of the public fiasco.  

         Educated White and Black parents try to place their children in better schools in white areas. The majority of the children of the LAUSD administrative personnel attend LACES, which together with Camino Real, serves as a showcase of the system once headed by a former governor, a retired admiral, or now by a functionary who has repeatedly proved his complete impotence and inadequacy.

        What makes a good school system? The answer is simple enough. First of all, the school management should consist not of politically correct motley of Whites, Blacks and Latinos, but of creative and skilled people who lean on common sense and what works instead of what is politically justified at the moment.

        Without administrative support in classroom discipline and motivation of students, which create necessary pre-conditions for both teaching and learning, the system will remain "guilty" of social promotion and lack of skills of the uneducated masses of young Americans with perfunctory school diplomas. The system of recognition for good work and measured consequences for infringements should be established beginning in pre-school, and consistently affirmed at all further levels so that the formation of beliefs and the right choice of one's own attitude to duties will lead school children to the necessary conclusion about the value of knowledge and necessity of intellectual growth. Only in this manner will it be possible to win with a greater segment of students when they arrive at middle and high schools.

         Finally, why exactly every child should be educated for as long as 12 years, in many cases, against his or her own intentions? Won't it be more productive to create a system that will offer trade opportunities for those young people who are not academically oriented and whose vocation may lie in practical areas that are as important for this nation? Such young people could become professional plumbers, carpenters, mechanics, etc. They will not drop out of trade schools since they will see the practical value of the system that addresses their immediate needs. Then the city would win, the country will gain, and there will be fewer losers as well as fewer crimes on the streets of big cities, and the requisite reduction in the present prison population of 334,000 inmates in California will help to take the state's economy out of the red.

        NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND has become the first yet not the most successful national policy, which pursued improvement in the failing public school system. However, the country needs new reforms which will establish pragmatic rules that allow recreating the system of values at all age levels without which public education is doomed to failure.   

        The preservation of the status quo of the present education system as well as the preservation of stale ideas and administrators uninterested in true changes, because they risk losing their jobs through their inability to act differently, will only lead to more crimes, more personal failures of young people, more problems in economy, and gradual degradation of the country. All of such factors threaten to consign America to those other great societies of the past that didn't make it.



12 2009

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