Bruce Deitrick Price
Fix education now: 8-point checklist for reforming public schools
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By Bruce Deitrick Price
November 16, 2020

If our irresponsible media would do its job, if our politicians and community leaders would be more involved in ending the great national embarrassment, if parents would understand what's going on in the classroom and become so angry they won't take it anymore, we could have better schools in no time.

Here is a dirty little secret that deserves your consideration. Most of the problems in the public school are caused by deliberate human actions. Not innocent human error as when somebody pushes the wrong button. No; think of the situation where somebody cuts a plane’s fuel line.

George Soros said his big ambition is to destroy America. That is how our Communists and globalists think. What's the easiest way to destroy America without spending much money or attracting much attention? Simple, you degrade and cripple the school system. You crimp some fuel lines, so to speak.

The Education Establishment has been doing this for 100 years. The damages are cumulative. A little less reading and arithmetic each decade. Don't bother with geography or history or science. Let's don't have grades, homework, grammar, essays, or genuine testing. Keep simplifying everything. Chop down a mighty forest tree by tree.

Here are eight necessary reforms that everyone can promote today:

  1. Get eid of sight-words, bring back phonics. Children should learn to read in the first grade. Anything less means the people in charge are incompetent.

  2. Almost all children can learn the arithmetic basics—add, subtract, multiply divide. For example, students should be able to compute 23×18, quickly, routinely. If students need more than 30 seconds, the people in charge are not competent. In any case, just say no to Common Core.

  3. Everyone needs to know more geography so they can understand the news, weather reports, and events unfolding around the globe. Teachers should point to maps a lot more often, and tell the kids what's going on there.

  4. Learn and cherish more history—systematic, objective history. When someone mentions a famous event, students should be able to explain why the event is famous.

  5. Memorization is a good thing. Education professors have demonized memorization for a century. That's why we have college students who don't know who won the Civil War nor much else.

  6. Constructivism is a gimmick that tells teachers to stand aside. Students are supposed to generate their own new knowledge. What sort of nitwittery requires that the most educated person in the room must be silent? That's a quick way to dumb down a country.

  7. Cooperative learning is not the answer to every challenge. We often must finish projects on our own. K-12 experts pretend that a team is a bunch of interchangeable people all doing the same thing. That's the socialist dream. Teams at the corporate level are composed of specialists with complementary skills. Consider an NFL football team, that's a better picture of the world which students are preparing for.

  8. Learning styles is another goofy idea that's been running amok for 50 years. Instead of teaching knowledge, teachers are supposed to expend time and energy figuring out each student’s peculiarities, as if the world will accommodate those peculiarities in the future. British reformer Mona McNee said kids have a lot more similarities than differences. Let's start there.

The central problem in American K-12: our experts demoted academic achievement in order to pursue social engineering. Now there is a fundamental lack of both seriousness and honesty. Students are kept busy on trivial activities and projects, that's the strategy. Behold, we witness the deliberate dumbing down of America. (Test for eighth-grade a century ago is more difficult than tests seen in college today.)

This dumbing-down strategy can be described as the death by 1000 cuts. Think of a big healthy bull that is stabbed repeatedly by picadores until it is halfway to dying and not so great a danger to the matador. That is comparable to what our socialist educators do. They weaken the school system and the students so they won't be so big an obstacle to ideologues trying to transform the country.

Communists speak constantly of their ideals and superior motivations but H L Mencken summed up the situation better: “The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.”

The proper goal of a public school system can be simply stated. We lift every child up to each one's potential. Today, we are sub-educating millions of children. We can easily teach 99% of children to read, do arithmetic, find Antarctica on a globe, and understand all those thousands of elementary things that define our civilization. But we don't do this.

In their zeal to undermine our school system, the Progressives systematically discarded all the good ideas. I realize now that traditional education is the best education. We have to eliminate the clunkers introduced throughout the 20th century, and bring back the proven ideas that always worked. That's the goal embedded in this eight-point reform program.

(These reform ideas are explained in greater depth in Saving K-12, this writer’s guide to fixing the public schools.)

© 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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