The Superintendent of the City schools where I live is stepping down. He has announced that he is leaving our city to run the schools in Chicago. Luckily the schools in Chicago can not possibly get worse so they have nothing to fear. Of course, he wants to name his replacement – another education ‘reformer’. Said replacement would naturally continue the same failing policies.
Our school budget is a dismal mix of robbing Peter to pay Paul, extravagant personal expenditures disguised as business needs and the ridiculous notion that problems are solved by throwing money into failed social systems. Like many government budgets the bottom line is fluid and only reactionary racists would question whether the ultra liberal superintendant and his school board were spending money like drunken sailors at the expense of generations of citizens.
Of course NO ONE mentions that our City schools have a lower graduation rate than nearly any other comparibly sized city in the country. The superintendent says we must cut the budget – furlough 700 teachers! The Union says NO! get rid of administrators. The school board says the City will have to cover the difference. The City says we will tell the State to give us more. The State says we can not give you more without giving more to all of the school districts in the State. The State asks the Federal government. The Feds say we have the best run department of education ever and with our ability to do more with less, we are having a contest to see which states are loyal enough to us to qualify for more aid. The Feds ask China for more money to cover the cost.
Back in the City schools, Jose and Natalie sit in a classroom where they are not taught. The methods used to ‘educate’ them shift with the wim of the Teacher’s Union. Like every other unionized industry the focus is not on the job at had but on ensuring their continued hold on the industry. For example: children learned to read using the phonics method fairly quickly and their level of comprhension increased as smoothly as their reading skills. Of course this meant there was a problem and sight reading was the answer. Instead of teaching the child to sound out the words, she was taught to know the words on sight. Let your eyes scan this paragraph and notice just how many ‘common’ english words a child would have to memorize in order to read. Is there any wonder that illiteracy levels started to rise? The fix? A mix of the mothod that we know works and the method that was a complete failure. Is there any wonder why Jose and Natalie’s ability to read is compromised? How likely is a successful, independent life with an ability to read that hovers just above illiteracy?
The superintendent does not have direct control of what our children are not learning. His job is to suggest insulting, expensive programs to suppliment the failled programs of previous superintendents. Several years ago one of our superintendents decided that the reason urban youth were failling in school was because poor parents could not get them to the doctor when it was necessary. Of course it was the school district’s responsibility to take over the medical needs of the students. This expensive, overreaching program has been continued and expanded by each superintendent and his yes-men school board. Only racists would dare to point out that these programs are insulting, expensive and inefficient. Poor children can not read because they have the sniffles.
To our superintendent of schools I say adios. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Perhaps our school board can pull their heads out of their liberal hineys and demand that the next superintendent does what he is employed to do – direct the massive district budget in a way that the educational needs of the students always come first. Clinics in schools? Only if they are full funded by someone other than the district. $45,000 per year for a car for the superintendent? As long as he is willing to lower his salary by $45,000 per year. There is no such thing as a free lunch and our next superintendent needs to learn to brown bag it!