Why we send our children to school?

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Guinea Pigs are used in laboratories for experimental reasons. We run tests on them to see what works and what doesn't.
Prior to 1960s, the US had the highest literacy rate in the world, 80%. Most all citizens could work basic math problems to include fractions, decimals, and percents. In the 1950s we tried "New Math" in our schools as an experiment using our children as Guinea Pigs. It failed big time. In the 1960s we tried "Sight Reading" in our schools experimenting on our children. It failed big time. Then we tried the "Open Classroom". We did this under the name "Schools without walls" experimenting on our children. It failed big time.
There has been a long string of experimental education ideas applied in our schools using our children as experimental Guinea Pigs. They have all failed.
So what would successful education look like? At least 80% of students would be proficient in reading, writing, and math when educated. But today we graduate functionally illiterate citizens who are not able to do fractions, decimals, or percents. Just consider the old reading primer "Pilgrims Progress". k-3 students could read this proficiently by the 3rd grade. Today, High School graduates cannot read and understand it. There are many, maybe even most college graduates that cannot read and understand this elementary primer.
The typical state proficiency rate is less than 50%. This raises a few questions that need to be answered by everyone in education and/or politics.

1. Is a 50% failure rate in schools good? If not, why? If not, what are you going to do about it?
2. How did we get to a 50% failure rate? Isn't it the job of the state superintendent of schools to know, as well as the state legislatures, and the media? Shouldn't the answers be reported to the citizens? If citizens do not know the answers, shouldn't they be asking their superintendent of schools, as well as the state legislatures, and the media to provide answers?
3. What is the statistically proven plan to return the US to an 80% proficiency in English and math? What, no plan? Obviously, the current state and national education leaders are doing nothing, the Democratic Party is doing nothing, the Republican Party is doing nothing, the Unions are doing nothing, the Chamber is doing nothing, the legislatures, both national and state, are doing nothing, so what will YOU do? If they are not going to do anything, it is up to you and me. I'm writing this article, what are you doing? This is the biggest news story in US history.

I believe the destruction of US education may be the biggest story in US History! And the media says ... ho hum, nothing to discuss here. The legislature says ... ho hum, nothing to look into here. And citizens say, "What can we do?"
Is this really a big story? The colonies went to war with the mightiest nation on earth at the time, England. Why? They went to war over a 2% TEA TAX! But our education going from 80% to 50% is no big deal? Where is the outrage? Where are the media and legislative investigations? These are not my numbers, but numbers provided by the official education sources, typically about 50% proficiency rates in each state, some higher and some lower.
Am I alone in seeing this as a problem?

Comments

Dr. Rupert Green Added Apr 7, 2017 - 5:07pm
It is indeed horrible. Failure is evident in the third grade when children are first exposed to high stake tests.  Failing schools feed the prisons and provide work for powerful people: judges, lawyers, police, corrections, court officers, and more. Seeing that Blacks and Latinos are the worse performing and failing students who will become the minority-majority, some may foolishly think its ok to still use schools to miseducate them. Indeed, schools are still engaged in social sorting, determining which group becomes police and which theives.
 
Interestingly, in every state, except for one, as long as Asian children are there, they received higher performing scores than all other groups.  We have to ask the question regarding how this nation would react if Blacks and Latinos began to excel in their academics and technical skills toward becoming doctors, lawyers, professors, and scientists, INSTEAD OF BEING PRISON BOUND. How would lower educated Whites survive without the school made criminals?
 
Thomas Sutrina Added Apr 10, 2017 - 1:17pm
A real successful educations system if you want a steep class society.   Only the real intelligent children will do well in such a poor education system and rich will sent their children to private schools.  So the pressure against the barriers preventing mobility between the classes will be minimal.  
 
We see that this works around the world and through history.  Education and good health care is provided to the upper classes and the lowest class are illiterate and have almost no health care.  Remove guns from there grasp and a small middle class will be the solders to maintain the system.  
 
But this is not the promise presented in the Declaration of Independence and not the promise make in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  So what do those that want a Class Society do?  They say that these two documents are just guides and that the "LAW" which the Constitution is is "flexible" (Pres. Woodrow Wilson) and today "living".   They have made the Law stated in the Constitution Rubber and the durometer of that rubber has been dropping for decades.  Now we have a foam rubber "flexible" Constitution.
 
What the government to serve the people, then the people have got to teach their children at home what the Declaration of Independence, the Judeo-Christian theology of Salvation and forgiveness, Common Law principles of the Magna Carta, and Constitution with the year long discussion presented by the Federalist and Anti-Federalist and the Farewell Speech of Washington.  All of this was taught to Americans when may left school in the 6th grade and went to a one room school.
Joe Chiang Added Apr 10, 2017 - 1:31pm
@Dr.  Excellent insight.  I have wondered from where the ancient Australians came.  Any idea?
@Thomas.  Excellent analysis.  In addition, the old Freeman Society is not our welfare system.  The freeman was established to keep the ex-slaves "in their place'.  Poor whites, like the indentured servants, have been caught up in that kind of slavery as well.  So sad.  Makes it a class issue instead of race.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Apr 10, 2017 - 2:41pm
George Carlin nailed exactly what the source of the problem with education is:



"Not too bright, folks. Not too fucking bright. But if you talk to one of them about this, if you isolate one of them, you sit 'em down rationally, you talk to 'em about the low IQ's and the dumb behavior and the bad decisions; right away they start talking about education. That's the big answer to everything: Education. They say, 'We need more money for education. We need more books, more teachers, more classrooms, more schools. We need more testing for the kids!' You say to 'em, 'Well, you know, we've tried all that and the kids still can't pass the tests'. They say, 'Aw, don't you worry about that, we're gonna lower the passing grades!' And that's what they do in a lot of these schools now, they lower the passing grades so more kids can pass. More kids pass, the school looks good, everybody's happy; the IQ of the country slips another two or three points and pretty soon, all you'll need to get into college is a fucking pencil! 'Gotta pencil? Get the fuck in there, it's physics!' Then everyone wonders why 17 other countries graduate more scientists than we do. Education!

Politicians know that word; they use it on you. Politicians have traditionally hidden behind three things: the flag, the Bible and children. 'No Child Left Behind! No Child Left Behind!' 'Oh really, well it wasn't long ago you were talking about giving kids a Head Start! Head Start, Left Behind, someone's losing fucking ground here!' But there's a reason. There's a reason. There's a reason for this. There's a reason education sucks and it's the same reason it will never, ever, ever be fixed. It's never going to get any better, don't look for it, be happy with what you got. Because the owners of this country don't want that.

I'm talking about the real owners now. The big, wealthy...The real owners, the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they're an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They've long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They've got the judges in their back pockets, and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They've got you by the balls! They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying – lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else.

But I'll tell you what they don't want. They don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don't want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking.
They're not interested in that! That doesn't help them. That's against their interests. That's right! You know something? They don't want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they're getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. They don't want that! You know what they want? They want Obedient Workers – Obedient Workers. People who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork but just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And, now, they're coming for your Social Security money. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you, sooner or later, because they own this fucking place. It's a big club - and you ain't in it! You and I are not in the big club.

By the way, it's the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long and they tell you what to believe...All day long, beating you over the head in the media, what to believe, what to think and what to buy...The table is tilted, folks! The game is rigged! And nobody seems to notice, and nobody seems to care! Good honest, hard-working people! White collar, blue collar... Doesn't matter what color shirt you have on! Good honest, hard-working people continue...These are people of modest means!...continue to elect these rich cocksuckers who don't give a fuck about them! They don't give a fuck about you! They don't give a fuck about you! They don't care about you! At all! At all! At all! Yeah! You know? And nobody seems to notice, nobody see
Bill Kamps Added Apr 10, 2017 - 2:44pm
Joe it is "no big deal" because most people dont know.  Most school boards, like most politicians can "prove" they are doing a great job, and doing a better job than they did the year before.  Spin has taken over for results.  The reason is that every one involved in the school system, whether it is administrators, union leaders, teachers, school board, or politicians are incented to make the schools look better than they are.
 
Remember when Leno did the old "Jay walking" ?  the only people that got his answers right were people over the age of 50, and he asked some pretty simple questions like "what is the reason for the 4th of July being a holiday ?" or what century was the Civil War faught?  Some people didnt even know what the word century meant based on their answers.
Joe Chiang Added Apr 10, 2017 - 2:56pm
I agree with you both.  But what you both describe is just a part of the picture.  Billy, the proof is the pass rates on the state test.  If the pass rate is less than 80%, then there is a problem.  There is no way around it, a big problem. 
Jeffery, a part of what you describe is the redefining of words.  An obvious change is the word gay.  It used to mean light and fun.  It has been captured and the meaning changed to mean something quite different.
Most education words have been captured in the same way and the meanings changed just as dramatically.  The word education is what we used to call indoctrination.  Proficiency has been changed to mean something much less than proficient used to mean.  For example, the old Primary School Reader, Pilgrims progress, was able to be read by almost all 3rd-grade students, thus an 80% literacy.  However, the word literacy has been changed to proficient and what is considered proficient is not what is literate.  Our high school graduates and many college graduates cannot read that 3rd-grade primer, yet they are called proficient.
Ian Thorpe Added Apr 10, 2017 - 3:22pm
Good article and I can't add much to the excellent points already made in this comment thread. Will share this article on Facebook as I think it needs to be distributed as widely as possible.
Joe Chiang Added Apr 10, 2017 - 3:29pm
Thank you, Ian.  Please visit my FB page Joe Chiang 4 ND Education
George N Romey Added Apr 10, 2017 - 4:48pm
Joe it again comes down to lack of common sense and people trying to reinvent something that was already working well.  Too many MBAs thinking they have to constantly "innovate."  Too much emphasis on test taking because as Jeffry said our business and political leaders want drones not thinkers.  
Doug Plumb Added Apr 10, 2017 - 5:18pm
Charlotte Iserbyte has some stuff on this on the web. I think you over state the understanding of a grade three pupil.
Joe Chiang Added Apr 10, 2017 - 7:29pm
@George.  I totally agree.  I have a pan to get a law passed that only programs and methods that can be used in classes are those that have been proven to help at least 80% of students succeed academically.  In English, the ONLY method that achieved that has been Phonics.  
There is an academic process that is the cause of a lot of these education problems.  PHD graduates and college professors MUST publish from time to time or lose tenure.  Then what they write MUST be implemented to prove out their concepts.  But this means experimentation on our children for their tenure benefits.
A rule such as the one I suggest would mean many professors would not be able to retain tenure.  Is your heart breaking for them yet?
Ian Thorpe Added Apr 11, 2017 - 9:44am
George N Romney
Too many MBA's. Absolutely right says a man with an MBA. Iin effect I bought it, the consultancy firm I was working with correctly predicted the direction business was heading and wanted me to shift from an IT specialist to a more general management consultancy role. It was a waste of money because a catastrophic health failure brought my career to a close a few months later.
What, if anything, I did learn from it is that many highly qualified people do not understand 'change' in itself is not a worthwhile goal.
Improvement and change for the sake of change are different things.  Actions taken to create the illusion that problems are being addressed really improve nothing and often achieve the reverse.
Micahel Dolan Added Apr 11, 2017 - 11:30am
Trade schools a must. Find something you would like to do and get educated on how to do it. The price for higher education is ridiculous and disgraceful. I grew up in the Bronx NY, had my first job at 9 yrs. old. Putting newspapers together on Saturday and Sunday morning, six o'clock on the job.
Joe Chiang Added Apr 11, 2017 - 1:47pm
Micheal, totally agree.  We are losing people capable of doing repair work, auto, plumbing, heating, electrician, etc. 
Utpal Patel Added Apr 11, 2017 - 10:54pm
Answer: To get an education.
Thomas Sutrina Added Apr 11, 2017 - 11:03pm
It is impossible to send some jobs like repair work, construction, direct sales, medical, services, and direct teaching over seas.  But they have a large work force and thus many people entering the field results in lower wages. 
Joe Chiang Added Apr 12, 2017 - 11:33am
@Utpal.  Not sure what you mean.  But If the schools are only teaching how to do hair, we will not have electricians.  We must teach what is needed as well as teach for general knowledge.
@Thomas.  Agreed.  The economics is simple "Supply and Demand".  But that can be manipulated by the government interference in many ways, one of which is through education or lack thereof.
Dino Manalis Added Apr 12, 2017 - 1:49pm
Parents and teachers prepare children for life and work, they're seen as role models, it's a major responsibility and taken for granted!  Our children are our future!
Joe Chiang Added Apr 12, 2017 - 7:20pm
@Dino.  I understand and that was my thoughts until I got into teaching.  What I have learned is that that home life model no longer exists for many and maybe most of our children, especially those from disadvantaged homes.  
I have taught on the fringes of the inner city and here on the reservation.  These students mostly come from broken homes with one or more parents having committed suicide, are incarcerated, or going from bed to bed.  On our reservation 1 in 4 of our girls have been or will be raped before they get out of High School and this problem does not stop when they get out of High School.
I have had one student who walked the reservation all night looking for someplace to spend the night.  As bad as that is, he was wearing a hoodie and it was minus 20 outside.  No one expected him to get his homework done.
So for many of these children, parents are NOT role models.  And if a white teacher goes to a Native home uninvited or an inner city home, they take a real risk of being killed.  So teachers are handicapped in being role models for these students.  There are ways to teach them attitude and effort, but social services actively BLOCKS creative intervention that would work.  Unfortunately, I could go on and on.  I hope you get the idea that something does need to be done and nothing can be taken for granted.
Dave Volek Added Apr 13, 2017 - 1:43am
Joe: I'm not seeing in Canada what you are seeing in the US. Yes, we have our share of dropouts and watered down diplomas, but we had these 50 years ago. And I would say most of these failures are more attributable to dysfunctional family life than a failure in the school system. 
 
There never was any golden age of education in Canada. If anything, we have become better at it.
 
But if what you say is true (and many seem to agree with you), America is already in a state of decline.
Joe Chiang Added Apr 13, 2017 - 12:53pm
As a student of history, the USA has been likened to the last stages of Rome before it fell.  Rome stopped its military preparedness as we have.  The society stopped being vigorous as have ours, there was high inflation as we have, their borders were being overrun with what we today call illegal immigrants.  The government had become corrupt and self serving.  And this is not just the USA, but all of Western Civilization.  I would think we are within a century of total collapse.  Individuals can prepare and plan to survive, but the nation will not.
Dr. Rupert Green Added Apr 17, 2017 - 10:40pm
Jeffry said a lot of shit...good shit that speaks of What our Brave new World is becoming. Are you kidding me? How is it possible for so many starving and hungry poor Americans to quietly sit down and not rise up against the "man".  A mistake that is causing the man headache, is true Americans will not roll over and give up their "second'. as the poor has given up their right to demand bread and pull some French shaves on the man offering them cake laced with suppressant. When Americans give up their second, then we will become a nation stupefied by sports where thespian men running around in pink panties will deflect people's mind from their hunger and who is responsible.
Thomas Sutrina Added Apr 18, 2017 - 8:27am
A a student of history you forgot to point out one big reason Rome fell. In the last stage before Rome fell it was a welfare state and like America is giving out so much welfare that if reduced its ability to do the major responsibilities of a nation, protect itself, and its people took less responsibility.  Corruption and the creation of special classes with different rule was rampant,  it was collapsing from within before and outside force collapsed it.
Jeffrey G said a lot on April 10th  and there has been many other responses since.  Jeffrey has been full of S** for a long time this is not a revelation.  You also see the world through a liberal/black slant that often makes your responses irrelevant.  I to have a conservative/white slant and you think that I to can be irrelevant.
Joe Chiang Added Apr 18, 2017 - 5:48pm
Oh please.  I think literate people can express their thoughts without lowering their vocabulary to S***, etc.  
I do not disagree with the sentiment, just the choice of words.  Please, let's keep our discussions above the sewers.
Tommy Thompson Added Apr 18, 2017 - 10:38pm
Absolutely, children still have roles models.  Unfortunately, they are the wrong models.  They have them on HBO, videos, video games, music--all with wrong people (stereotypes) produced by Hollywood and the main stream media. 
The family structure is missing and instead the state is expected to ingrain the student with whatever mores the state deems to be fit.
Business no longer agree either with stated virtues of the past.  Today, it is all quick money.
Churches don't agree anymore either.  
In the past we had three agreements:  Schools, churches, and businesses.  They all agreed with the Family in reference to values.
This no longer exists:  too, there is the emphasis now on the 'feelings' of the individual.  Today the individual is supposed to be more important than the collective whole.
I believe many reasons exist for this, but at least part of this is due to the shrinkage of the family, i.e., less children and too, maybe because women are extremely dominant now in education and as controllers of the household. 
I know, for example that men as a whole would never put up with the stuff that occurs at school today and that men as a whole are NOT in the schools of today.
Also, with high stakes testing there isn't even the myth that learning can and should be fun. Today, it is all data driven and scores are everything.  Personally, I believe the deeper greater advantages of learning have been lost as a result leading to what I call, Every Child Left Behind.   
I get it:  the idea behind high stakes testing was a noble idea.  However, it failed for the greater part.  In my state of Florida, Jeb Bush began most of this here and pushed it up to his brother.
Yes, I believe their intentions are good, but the results are terrible.  There really is no way to reduce the dignity of people to a number as defined by a test.  In fact, I dare wager that the very people who impose these standards on students would fail the identical tests themselves.
I would also argue there is way too much money in education.  Here in my city there is 1.7 billion dollars for about 115,000 students. I believe they could be educated for far less.  Yet, most administrators who compose of the bulk of the money are there simply to keep and maintain standards imposed by government.
Finally, the last two groups ever asked about learning are the teachers and the students.  
Sorry, but  the schools are bad.  Yes, we have some poor students and an ever increasing demand to educate those who can't even speak the English language.  But, the truth be told, schools teach far better and more than in the past. There is simply so much more to be learned.
John G Added Apr 19, 2017 - 3:28am
Prior to 1960s, the US had the highest literacy rate in the world, 80%.
That's a made up 'factoid you as a ' that isn't true.
If my kids had been taught by someone like you, I'd have reported you as a fraud.
Joe Chiang Added Apr 19, 2017 - 9:46am
John.  LOL  So, if you say my facts are in error, please state the correct statistics and your sources.  LOL  Please always have a viable alternative when you criticize.  Our "proficiency" rate in North Dakota was almost 80% according to our state education in 2012 when our current superintendent "fixed" the problem and our proficiency rate is now 40%.  LOL
Tommy.  Like all liberal ideas, they all sound good and have good motives.  But they one other thing in common, they all fail far worse than anyone might have expected possible.  Then there are those liberals that think if they keep doing the same thing enough times they will get a different result, success.  For example, New Math was introduced in the 1950s and failed.  It has been brought back under the name Common Core Math.  Sight reading was introduced in the 1960s and failed.  It has been re-introduced under the name Common Core Close Reading.  The Open Classroom concept was introduced in the 1970s as Schools Without Walls and failed.  It is being re-introduced under the name Project-Based Learning and Innovative Classrooms.  These are proven concepts, they are proven failures.
But these concepts sound good, they just don't work.  But liberals do not think it is possible for them to be wrong, so stupid parents, teachers and students must be forced to keep using these failed methods until they succeed.
Micahel Dolan Added Apr 19, 2017 - 1:27pm
What we have in the case of America's public-school system is a failed monopoly. The way we have always dealt with failed monopolies in America is to break them up and foster competition. As in any market, when consumers have a choice, suppliers get very interested in quality. This is an idea whose time has come. Would it be a panacea to our educational problems? No. But it would represent a great start.
Tommy Thompson Added Apr 19, 2017 - 1:36pm
On the contrary, if schools have failed then why is it that American still has the best of the best in the upper levels of education?  I guess no one could read, much less and go on and be successful.  The failure of education is myth.  Yes, we have a group that struggles, but this is mostly language related.  As a matter of fact, I'm surprised that our schools do as well as they do given the limitations.  Where teachers should be reverend-ed, instead we see it with sports stars, Hollywood types and where we pull the best out for private schools we then love to point the finger to those who are already living in poverty and then blame the schools.  It's almost like blaming a police officer for speeders.  Sure.  It is the fault of the police the same as the fault of the schools for those who slip through the cracks.
Joe Chiang Added Apr 19, 2017 - 6:38pm
Tommy, I understand your point, but I think you logic is faulty.  Public schools are supposed to teach ALL children who enter the building.  It is true that SOME children learn in public schools.  Indeed, some students will learn without school, for example Abe Lincoln.  
But we have a situation where (and I do not have a study that actually measures the difference) perhaps 75% or more students cannot read a 3rd grade primer from over a century ago.  I believe that is failure.  
I teach math mostly.  Children cannot work fractions, and cannot compare fractions, decimals, and percents as students from half a century could.  This is not some, but MOST!
In history students used to be able to identify important events in US history, but no more.  In civics they used to be able to quote the preamble to the constitution and the first 10 amendments, but no more.  In geography, students used to be able to identify more capital cities of major nations, but now they are lucky to be able to find the North American Continent.
Excellent students will succeed and there is no way you can stop them.  The majority of other students need instruction upon which they can build over their lifetimes.  These students have all been failed by our education system.
I spend my time teaching my high school students 3rd through 5th grade math because it was not taught properly in those grades.
Tommy Thompson Added Apr 19, 2017 - 7:14pm
Okay, I know you're a good guy, so I'll take a few bumps.  In the 40s, only 25% graduated.  That's not exactly on a high level.  Let's take say, Ocala, Florida.  The students there represent in excess of 150 languages.  I'd say that is rather a large number of various influences.  Also, in actuality there is not a single country in the world that teaches all students, not even Japan.  In fact, the insane idea that all kids can learn the same is just that:  insane.  Yes, all kids can learn, but not the same.  I taught in one of the best schools in Florida and also in the worst.  The fundamental difference were the students.  My basic experience was in inter-city schools.  I saw where foreign students arrived without speaking English and left with As and Bs.  What separated the students was motivation and possessing a value on education as it was back by an existing families.  My last wife was Filipino, my present is black. My son's wife is Mexican.  I'd say we have enough rep. of multiculturalism.  I saw kids in the Philippines, barefoot out in the sand with one teacher with a chalk board and yes, they were learning.  This would never happen here.  These same kids you speak of:  they know the lyrics to songs, basketball scores, football, etc.  they know whatever interests them.  And here, I know I"m preaching to the choir as you are in the thick of it in your classroom now.  Keep up the good work!
Joe Chiang Added Apr 23, 2017 - 4:20pm
Tommy.  Thank you.  To use a mathematical lesson, to compare or add fractions you have to have a common denominator.  You are mixing literacy rates with graduation rates.  
My grandfather was literate with a 3rd-grade education.  Today we have high school graduates who are illiterate.  
I believe the entire current problem in low income demographics is what I call attitude and effort.  They have bad attitudes toward education and make no effort to do or learn.  These students do not understand that the work habits the build in school IS how they act on the job.  As a result, employers all over the nation have stopped hiring teens.  
I got into education from over 30 years in business because I was seeing this phenomena growing way back then and wanted to understand why it was happening.  I believe I do, but do not have the authority to do anything about it.  
So why do we have this issue?  I believe it is for a complex band of reasons.  One is those who do not know and do not think analytically are looking for EASY.  They seek the easy way to get their piece of paper.  That would not work unless our society confirmed and supported that position.  Our advertising points at how EASY whatever is for sale will make things for individuals.  You and I probably have a pantry full of EASY to prepare foods, so we are guilty, too.
The courts enable the lazy and ill informed (lack of education) to go through life lazy and ill informed.  The current generation we sometimes call "Snowflakes".  But the coming generation may be the "I Want".  The only thing that matters is what they want and the easy way, instant without effort.