MACE Knows the Issues!
What's wrong with public education in Georgia?
It's not the teachers...
The politicians, the
educrats (i.e., those so-called educators who have been out of the classroom so long -- if they ever were
in the classroom -- that they have no conception of the reality of today's classroom), and the policy-makers
never cease to amaze me about their abject ignorance and/or apathy concerning what is really wrong with public education.
All of these numbskulls want to treat the lack of learning in public education as a technical breakdown. It must be that the
teachers are just not teaching hard enough, they think. It makes you want to vomit, right? So, they think that the teachers
need more training, more staff development, more education. Yes, eureka! We have the answer, they think. The teachers need
to be more "highly qualified." No, no one wants to state the brutal but obvious fact: The students need to apply
themselves. The students need to study. We at MACE have written dozens of articles dealing
with this issue of blaming the teachers for the laziness and simple lack of effort on the
students' part. Look at TheTeachersAdocate.Com for current articles and letters -- like the one that I recently
sent to a DeKalb County middle school principal -- or look in the back issues of The Teacher's Advocate!
which can be found on our web site. Only MACE points out with an unapologetic and clarion voice that what
is wrong with public schooling in Georgia is not the teachers (and any lack of effort or training), and it is not a technical
breakdown in the teaching-learning process. The problems in public education are three-fold. Here are the three major problems.
Hold on to your seat. GAE and AFT and PAGE either do not know what the
problems are or they are afraid to forthrightly address them. Here they are...
Defiant and Disruptive Students
Many of today's students just do not want to learn. In order for a student to
learn, the student must want to learn. If a student does not want to learn, then no amount of parent-calling,
mandatory tutorials, progress reports, etc., will do any good. A teacher can only teach a student. A teacher cannot learn
the student. That is not even good English! Those students who do not want to learn must be removed from the regular school
environment. To allow these students to defy the teacher and to disrupt the learning processes
for the students who do want to learn is unconscionable. When a teacher sends one these defiant and disruptive students to
the office, the administrators must deal with this student swiftly and surely -- with all due alacrity! Otherwise, doing nothing
to support the teacher or just putting a Band Aid on a major problem does nothing but undermine the teacher,
thus preventing the other students from learning. This is the first thing that is wrong with public education. No one wants
to talk about the lazy, defiant, and disruptive "students" (and
I put the word in quotes because so many of these young people are not students in the true sense of the word; they are taking
up space and causing disruptions).
Irate and Irresponsible Parents
second major problem in public education in Georgia is Irate and Irresponsible Parents. The main reason that the administrators
will not support the teachers concerning discipline and the grading process is their fear of the parents.
Many of the parents not only do not support the efforts of their child's teachers, but they also become irate and irresponsible
when they are notified by the teachers of their child's deficiencies -- whether in academe or in comportment. They do not
want to hear anything except that little Johnny is brilliant and such a pleasure to have in class. If you
tell the parents otherwise, then you are the one at fault. These parents raise heck with the principal, and the principal
calls you in and questions how you are teaching little Johnny. The principal begins to question
your ability to teach, your interaction with your students, and your classroom management. All of this is happening because
the principal is afraid of those irate and irresponsible parents.
Angry and Abusive Administrators
last of the silent troika of problems in public education (which everyone except MACE is afraid to address)
is the Angry and Abusive Administrators. I just got a call today from a teacher (who is in the process of sending her MACE
application in the mail) who was at her doctor's office because of the unbearable stress that her principal has her under.
The principal is so typical of administrators these days. She is heartless and insensitive.
She is vindictive, manipulative, and punitive in her interactions with
the teachers on the staff of this middle school. She manages in a top-down, heavy-handed fashion. She questions the teachers
at their every move. She does not trust them. She does not treat them as professionals whose judgment, discretion,
and wisdom should be respected. It is all about test scores. Test scores have to go up -- despite the fact
that all the research shows that test scores correlate positively (almost invariably) with socio-economic status. In fact,
there have been studies which demonstrate that test scores can be tracked almost automatically based on the free and reduced
lunch count. If a school has hardly any students on free and reduced lunch, then that school's test scores will be high --
and vice versa. This is the law of the large numbers. There can be exceptions to this law, but the exceptions
only prove the law. Beating teachers over the head about unrealistic expectations on test scores is ludicrous. Any significant
jump in test scores usually indicates that cheating took place. But we are not supposed to talk about this! Hey, at MACE,
we deal with reality and we are not afraid to speak our minds. So many of today's administrators are just
mean and bitter. They are unhappy within themselves (perhaps because they had to kiss so much butt to finally
get to be an administrator) that they want to share their misery. Misery loves company. They want the teachers to genuflect
before them and do obeisance like the teacher is in a slave-master relationship to them. This is sick, but this is how it
is in so many of the public schools of Georgia.