FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Reforming the Republic IV: Educate; Do Not Enstupidate[*]
All In All Our Dysfunctional Schools Are Just Another Brick In The Wall
You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same compost pile. ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 17
To make American Secondary Schools worth a monkey’s butt-wipe again, we are just going to have to leave some children behind. Right now, they are yet another precursor of the impending Big Government Chernobyl that could very well destroy American Society as we now enjoy living in it. Implementing a new Common Core of unenforceable and utterly ignored standards is not going to fix this difficulty. While the Obama Administration’s ideal of “fewer, higher and clearer” standards sounds like one of the smarter ideas that this man’s administration has come up with, it will not do the job because it addresses the wrong problem. It is not the content of the standards that is the biggest problem with our schools. The problem is that we lack the institutional courage to actually enforce any standards at all.
What American Secondary Schools need to enact is what I’ll call the Tyler Durden reforms. This is based on the line from the novel Fight Club where Tyler Durden teaches his followers that they are not unique and beautiful snowflakes. If we continue to tell our children that they are special and immune from consequence, they will eventually become seduced into holding that ultimately self-defeating belief. This fatal conceit will lead these children to have an overweening sense of entitlement and a minimal skill-set of abilities that any logical employer would want to hire.
Here’s what my proposed Tyler Durden Standards would look like.
1) The People Who Pay the Taxes and Elect The School Board Determine The Standards. The people who pay the piper should call the tune. The local employers who pay the business taxes funding the school system should get a vote in what those graduates know before they show up and start applying for work. Local citizens who pay the property tax should have a voice in how the education of young people impacts the community in which they own the taxed property. Educational standards should be powered down to the same level from which the revenue to operate the schools is taken.
Several GOP state governors have criticized the top-down, command and control structure. Nikki Haley voiced the Federalism concerns that are implicit in proposed reform number one. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell fought to defend the outstanding reputation of his state’s system from being dumbed-down by inclusion in some national borg.
“I don’t want to have a federal bureaucracy monitoring whether or not we are having the right programs in our schools,” said Virginia governor Bob McDonnell recently. “The bottom line is, we don’t need the federal government with the Common Core telling us how to run our schools in Virginia. We’ll use our own system, which is very good. It’s empirically tested.”
2) The “You Are Not Your Possessions Rule”. The job of a school is to teach basic skills. It does not exist to provide you with any set of credentials. Credentials are earned and earning them is the student’s problem – not the school’s problem. That, regrettably, is not what happened when the VA State Board of Education recently rewrote the state education goals to get a waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act.**
Here’s what the Virginia state board of education actually did. It looked at students’ test scores in reading and math and then proposed new passing rates. In math it set an acceptable passing rate at 82 percent for Asian students, 68 percent for whites, 52 percent for Latinos, 45 percent for blacks and 33 percent for kids with disabilities.
If we really *want* Blacks and Hispanics to achieve economic parity in America, than we need to cut this crap out now. In fact if we actually want Whites to maintain their current standard of achievement and economic success we need to cut this crap out now. If I were in VA and running a small business on a shoestring and a prayer, you couldn’t make me hire a Black, a Hispanic or a White without a gun pointed at my head unless no Asians were economically desperate enough to come and work for me. This is a direct result of the enstupidation standard described above.
3) End Over-reliance on Standardized Testing Again, who sets the standard and who benefits? The standards should be set by the bill-payers. They should reflect the needs and demands of the community in which the school exists to educate young minds. People who will live and work in The Wire-Grass Region of Alabama need a different cognitive and professional skill-set than your average police officer or janitor in Brooklyn, NY.
Another rather obvious problem with national standardized testing dates all the way back to the Roman satirist Juvenal. “Quis custodiat ipsos custodes?” He famously asked. In both Atlanta and Philadelphia, the sound of crickets is all you will hear in response to Juvenal’s query. I described this as yet another way Amerika self-destructs.
Guess who America’s new role model is? Her name is Beverly Hall. She is Atlanta’s former Superintendent of Schools. She is dynamic – a mover, a shaker, an achiever and a total and utter fraud. On April 2, 2013, her deception came to a final end. She and 34 other co-conspirators have been indicted for rigging the standardized test scores dating all the way back to 2001. Not only has she destroyed the trust and honor in the Atlanta School System, she has obviously spawned copy-cats. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia’s municipal schools are also rife with cheating conspiracies.
4) You Are Not Unique And Beautiful Snowflakes. Self-esteem, “we-ness” and any other term that does not denote a measureable cognitive skill has no place in any educational standard. If your local, state, or national government puts them in a set of educational standards, than you know who to protest against and vote out of office. I’ve never been offered a job, given a promotion or paid one lousy, red dime for liking myself. My bosses could all care less whether I went home and locked myself in a penitence cell to self-flagellate as long as I did things well when I came to work. You can go be pleased with yourself on your next day off.
So in conclusion, we power governance of our schools down to the level where citizens get taxed to pay for the schools. We rate our schools on how well they educate people – not on whether they hand out enough certificates to the right groups of people. If we really believe that diversity is our strength, than the last thing we want is national standardized testing. Besides, lazy, uneducated people just cheat on them anyway. And we totally destroy the concept that self-esteem can be handed out like Halloween Candy. America will become educated again when it gets the education that it goes out and earns.
Tyler Durden from Fight Club should serve as someone’s School Superintendent. We are not our possessions, we are not unique and beautiful snowflakes. American Exceptionalism (and the detestable sense of overweening self-entitlement that comes with it) must !DIE! Then we will again be a nation of people that can do maffs and reeding and stuff.
*-Enstupidation – When people deliberately encouraged to be less, rather than more intelligent.
**-And people criticize me for not missing “W’ yet…