]]]]]]]]]]   TIME TO SCRAP AMERICA'S PUBLIC SCHOOLS?      [[[[[[[[[[
   Isn't it aboout time to scrap America's public schools?
                   Start over from scratch
                        By Robert Gehl
     California educator, The Los Angeles Times 11/12/89

             [Kindly uploaded by Freeman 07656GAED]

   Public education in America is a troubled and all but moribund
system that, in the private sector, would have been bankrupt and out 
of business long ago.  Its effect on everyone involved is parallel to 
the classic stages of mourning, defined so well by Elisabeth Kubler-
Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
   School administrators, superintendents, principals, and all those 
within the schools who make excellent salaries outside the classrooms 
are firmly in the denial stage.  For them the system works, the 
status quo is fine, and all that is needed is more money, always more 
money, and a higher caliber of teachers and parents.
   Kids 10 and older, smarter than adults, recognize that "compulsory 
education" is an oxymoronic idea; they move from an unconscious 
denial during the fifth grade to a semiconscious anger in the sixth 
and seventh, rejecting a government (grownups) that forces them to 
the water and insists that they drink.  The administrators react by 
dropping both academic and behavioral standards surprisingly close to 
zero.  The kids, realizing that they're being warehoused, meander 
through the latter stages of mourning, to bargaining, to depression, 
and to acceptance.
   Anger is the condition of the few knowledgeable taxpayers who are 
aware that it costs more than $150,000 per year to keep 30 kids 
sitting in a public school first grade.  Those parents scheming to 
get their kid transferred to a "better" school are bargainers, as are 
those who take flight to a suburb.
   Teachers, when new, accept everything, including the powerlessness 
of the classroom instructor who dares not give more than a handful of 
low grades and who isn't trusted to dismiss any kid who is disrupting 
the education of others.  They do not realize that their low status 
is necessary to the higher salaries and status of the non-teaching 
people.  Their initial acceptance turns to almost simultaneous denial 
and depression, usually seen as burnout.
   Public schools in America are a mournful, socialized failure.  
Everyone who wants more from them than "free" child care knows this.  
Among all the industrialized nations, our kids come in dead last in 
just about any test or comparison.  As 30 percent of our precious 
raw material is wasted and "dropped out," many of the remainder are 
given counterfeit diplomas with no guarantee that they have mastered 
the essential skills or developed the proper values to make this 
nation competitive in the world or us safe in our own streets.  We 
are, as we dolefully agree, a nation at risk.  How come?
   We have collectivized our schools, just as the Soviet Union 
collectivized farms, and the results have been equally disastrous: 
mismanagement and waste, disaffection and dehumanization.  Ralph 
Waldo Emerson said that nothing great was ever accomplished without 
enthusiasm.  In my 30 years of public school teaching, I sensed that 
the only real enthisiasm came from the inevitable "blue-ribbon" 
commissions set up year after year to meet "the crisis in education."  
With enthusiasm, but also with a hopelessly naive arrogance and 
conceit, they always imagined that they could plan the use of 
educational resources better than the millions of individuals who 
actually provided the resources.
   Like the Soviets, who didn't trust the farmers to make their own 
decisions and control their own lives, our public school lobby 
convinced government that education was too important to be left to 
the people, that the people did not really want to trust themselves 
with the education of their children.
   "Self-trust is the essence of heroism," quoting Emerson again.  
But we the people, not being heroic enough, have acquiesced in 
probably the most monumental boondoggle that could befall us.  We 
have education by civil servants and curriculum planning by career 
bureaucrats who preach hypocritical cant equating government thought-
control with national unity, equal opportunity and "the American 
way." They have forced us to think of education in terms that Big 
Brother would approve.
   Jefferson's famous line is rarely quoted in its entirety:  "That 
government is best which governs least, because the people discipline 
themselves."  When government gets involved with minds and controls 
how, what, why and where its citizens think, it is governing not 
least but most, not best but worst, and it is robbing those citizens 
of the will to discipline themselves and the trust they would have in 
   In a brave and freedom-loving society, government ideally would 
get out of the mind-altering business, limiting itself to welfare-
type "education stamps" for the poor.  The rest of the citizens, 
releaved of most of the education taxes that they now pay to govern-
ment middlemen, would happily contract for educational services, 
becoming personally involved to a far greater degree than is possible 
   Other solutions of honesty and merit are tuition tax credits or a 
simple voucher system.
   For governments to "relieve" parents of the responsibility for 
education is to do great injury to familial relationship, depriving 
parent and child of the sense of bonding and mutual appreciation that 
is the deepest principle of human existence and the ultimate form of 
self-esteem.  the breaking of this bond, I am convinced, has done 
incalculable harm to the American nation.

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