Bruce Deitrick Price
K-12: the real problem is the Education Establishment
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By Bruce Deitrick Price
February 22, 2017

The only thing most Americans agree on is that the public schools are mediocre. As to why this happened and what we should do next, there is a total bedlam of beliefs and opinions.

People have a hundred theories to explain our ed problems. But here's the bizarre thing: people don't want to blame the obvious culprits, that is, the people in charge. In every other field of human endeavor, when things don't work out, bosses are fired; then new people with new ideas are brought in. That's a universal formula for dealing with failure. But in education, the public ties itself into pretzels to avoid blaming the top educators, the ones creating all the problems in the first place.

Has anyone in the Education Establishment ever been fired? For anything less than a major felony? No, they are permitted to drone arrogantly on, even as the country gets more ignorant by the year. These pretenders are promoted. They are given grants. They receive awards. They are hailed as Educators of the Year.

I should explain that by "Education Establishment" I mean only the people at the very top – 500 people at most. The astonishing thing is how successfully this tiny clique dumbs us down, deflects blame, squanders billions, cons the media, and encourages people to fight among themselves over whether parents, kids, unions, drugs, television, computers, etc., etc. are the real villain.

Maybe each of these things causes some damage, but wouldn't you always want to go to the very top and find the primary cause of large, systemic failure? The point of this little tirade is to say: stop blaming the victims (mainly, that's kids, parents, and also teachers). Blame the guilty. They're called educators, even though their main activity is social engineering. Here's the new mantra: punish the perpetrators.

One comical aspect of this whole thing is that the Education Establishment seems to encourage even kindergarten teachers to call themselves "educators." In this way, there's no word left over for the people actually in charge. So they become invisible. Who? It was a fad for a while to call these people educationists; we also saw the term educrats. Some people talk about educational establishment in lower case. I consistently use the term Education Establishment to mean specifically the top people. The bosses. The ruling elite. The commissars. The guilty.

Even then I run into the most obtuse comments as when a teacher insists, "I've been in the educational establishment for 15 years. I've taught at two public schools..." Absurd but when this school teacher hears me criticize the Education Establishment, he takes it personally and starts defending all the nonsense in the public schools.

Please, people, let's not waste time criticizing 40+ million parents, 25+ million students, and 3+ million teachers. These are vast unwieldy groups. You can't make any generalizations about them. You can't change them or move them in any obvious simple way. Let's talk about the real problem, i.e., the bosses giving the orders and dictating the world-view at the elite ed schools. If you could change their minds, or just replace them, you would see real change quickly.

When a corporation is failing, you fire the chief operating officers. You fire the board. You fire the top five or ten people. That's what we need to do here. Get rid of the top decision-makers at Teachers College, Harvard Graduate School of Education, University of Chicago School of Education and other similar dens of dumbing-down.

I've always thought that kids, parents, and teachers are equally victims of the social engineering that John Dewey and his bunch introduced a century ago. Reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, foundational knowledge – Dewey actually dismissed them all. His nonsense is now part of the DNA that guides the Education Establishment. Their souls reek of socialist theory and strange sophistries. They have a death-grip on everything that goes on in the public schools. When children are not learning, it's obviously the fault of these people at the top. Let's hold them accountable.

QED: Our Education Establishment has been malfeasant for decades. These people are not serious about making the schools better. The public has figured this out, which explains the enthusiasm for the Trump campaign and his promise to eliminate Common Core. Trump and DeVos should also eliminate all the dysfunctional methods so popular in public schools; see list here.

© Bruce Deitrick Price

 

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Bruce Deitrick Price

Bruce Deitrick Price is the author of six books, an artist, a poet, and an education reformer. He was born in Norfolk, Virginia, earned Honors in English Literature from Princeton, served two years in the Army, and then lived many years in Manhattan.

Price explains educational theories and methods on his ed site Improve-Education.org (founded in 2005). He has 400 education articles and videos on the Internet. More forcefully than most, Price argues that the public schools are mediocre because our Education Establishment wants them that way.

Price's literary site is Lit4u.com .

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