Set Our Children Free
I  went to a “Teacher of the Year” banquet recently for the school district in  which I live.  There were 23 schools in this district, so it took a long time to introduce all of the 23
teacher-of-the-year candidates from each school.  During the introduction of each
candidate, a lot of nice things were said about each of them, most of which were testimonials from their students.  The testimonials predictably gushed about their teacher’s role in helping them in a personal way.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I think this is commendable.  I am not against teachers being good role models and mentoring students on how to cope with life.  But isn’t the primary and essential purpose of a school to drill the kids on academics?  And while the student testimonials were meant to be complimentary, I’ll bet that none of the educators in that room realized what an indictment it was of their school system.  The most common theme heard as something like, “She makes us feel so special,” or “He makes class time fun,” or “We can tell that she loves each one of us.”  Not once during the painfully long two hours did I hear what I would have expected to hear about a Teacher-of-the-Year, i.e. maybe something about student academic achievement!  Things like, “His students scored way higher than the district average on standardized tests,” or “Her students’ grade averages improved dramatically over the previous year.”  Not once did I  hear anything remotely like that.  Are you surprised that teachers consider a kid’s feelings more important than what they learn?  Were you naïve enough to really think that imparting knowledge was the foremost goal of our school system?   All the evidence says it isn’t.  Given that, it follows that the primary goal of our educational system is not to impart factual information, but to give kids a big educational hug so that we can all just live happily ever after in the educators’ view of a utopian society.  Have we gotten too touchy-feely with the current generation of students because schools put less emphasis on academics and more on personal development of the child’s character?  A well-known mantra among educators is that students won’t remember what you taught them, but will always remember how you made them feel while you were teaching it.  With the increasing emphasis on personal interaction, is it any wonder we’re seeing more student-teacher affairs?  It was unheard of when I went to school.  I clearly remember the most influential and inspiring teacher I ever had.  We never had a close personal relationship, but he still inspired my thirst for knowledge – a thirst that remains to this day.  I never looked to him to make me a better person, because that was my parents’ job, not his.  Today, it seems the academics have taken a back seat to social engineering.
This is why an increasingly large part of each student’s day is being consumed by politically correct indoctrination, and not true academics.  If schools were indeed devoted to rigorous academic training preparing students for careers, instead of providing a fantasy mini-society where they can engage in all sorts of juvenile behavior without consequences, there wouldn’t be time for kids to be brainwashed with feel-good programs, multiculturalism, sexual orientation training, or pseudoscience classes.  Schools need to be devoted to academics, period.  Employers will tell you that most of the current crop of high school graduates do not even have the minimum skills necessary to enter the work force, which is why many employers have taken it upon themselves to train them on their own.  As further proof of the dwindling role of academics, just observe how often your child’s school has “field trips” loosely disguised as learning opportunities. Yes, I realize that they can learn about marine life at Sea World, but ask any teacher or student making that field trip if that’s the portion of the trip that they were honestly anticipating. An honest teacher or student will tell you that they’re happy that it’s a day off school.  Now you know why we graduate students who feel good about themselves, but finish next to last on standardized tests among industrialized nations.




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