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Educational Ineptitude


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I know some of you are teachers out there. I am assuming you are one of the good ones. Do you find this challenge with your fellow teachers and administrations? Bush proposed more testing for teachers. Is this part of the answer?

Educational ineptitude

Walter E. Williams (archive)

March 10, 2004

What passes for educational enlightenment these days boggles the mind. Matt Gouras, of The Associated Press, writing in the Jan. 5 Seattle Times tells a story about Tennessee schools. The success of some students has made other students feel badly about themselves.

What're the schools' responses? Public schools in Nashville have stopped posting honor rolls. Some are considering a ban on posting exemplary schoolwork on bulletin boards. Others have canceled academic pep rallies, while others might eliminate spelling bees. Nashville's Julia Green Elementary School principal, Steven Baum, agrees, thinking that spelling bees and publicly graded events are leftovers from the days of ranking and sorting students. He says: "I discourage competitive games at school. They just don't fit my worldview of what a school should be."

This is a vision all too common among today's educationists, but there's a good reason for it: too large a percentage of teachers represent the very bottom of the academic achievement barrel and as such fall easy prey to mindless and destructive fads.

Retired Indiana University (of Pennsylvania) physics professor Donald E. Simanek has assembled considerable data on just who becomes a teacher. Freshman college students who choose education as a major "are on the average, one of the academically weakest groups. Those choosing non-teaching physics and math are one of the academically strongest groups. Some of the more capable who initially chose teaching will find the teacher-preparation curriculum to be boring and intellectually empty, and shift to curricula that are academically more challenging and rewarding." Simanek adds: "On tests such as the Wessman Personnel Classification Test of verbal analogy and elementary arithmetical computations, the teachers scored, on average, only slightly better than clerical workers. A rather low score was enough to pass. Yet half the teachers failed."

There are other causes for the sorry state of today's primary and secondary education. There's been the politicizing of education. Teachers have recruited students to write letters to the president protesting the war and participate in demonstrations against school budget cuts. Very often, good teachers and principal are faced with the impossible task of having to deal with administrators and school boards who are intellectual inferiors and motivated by political considerations rather than what's best for children.

One of the very best things that can be done for education is to eliminate schools of education. There's little in the curriculum that contributes directly to the development of the mind. Simanek says that "most teachers have learned 'methods and skills' of teaching, but don't have a solid understanding of the subject they teach. So they end up 'teaching' trivia, misinformation and intellectual garbage, but doing it with 'professional' polish. Most do not display love of learning, nor the ability to do intense intellectual activity of any kind. Lacking these qualities, they cannot possibly inspire and nourish these qualities in their students."

According to a recent study by the North Central Regional Education Laboratory titled, "Effective Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategies in the Midwest," 75 percent to 100 percent of the teachers that leave the profession are ranked as either "effective" or "very effective.

To improve teaching, we must attract people of higher intellectual ability and we must make teacher salaries related to ability and effectiveness. We must ensure that teachers have more academic freedom, better working conditions and a suitable environment for teaching. An important component of that environment is the capacity to remove students who are alien and hostile to the education process. Finally, we should consider curriculum changes that eliminate courses that have little, if anything, to do with reading, writing and arithmetic.

The low academic quality of many of our teachers is neither flattering nor comfortable to confront, but confront it we must if we're to do anything about our sorry state of education.


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Wow tough topic.

Our daughter was born last June and I am already thinking about what I am going to do with regard to her education for the first 18 years of her life. I personally think education begins at home and ends at home. School should be used to teach those things I am not skilled or able to teach, and to develop and expand on your interpersonal, social, and life skills. JMHO (more there but want to keep this short)

If I was to take 1 thing out of this that I felt was most important:

An important component of that environment is the capacity to remove students who are alien and hostile to the education process.

That is it, but that brings up the issue of what do you do with the kids who don't want to be there because it breeds a neverending cycle of dependence.

We need to pay teachers more! That will not fix the problem but it might institue quality into our educational system. Having people who believe in what they teach and have a want to be there and do the best for their kids will fix this. If you can create an evnironment that if filled with fun that will inturn create a ripple effect that may trickle down to the children and make them have a thirst for knowledge and a want to learn.

Edited my post

Taking competition out of the schools system is stupid goes back to that article about the little leauge (forget where) but stopped keeping score because feeling were hurt. Come on people in this is not how the real world works...

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there's a lot of truth to what that guy says...but here's something i question:

i've never heard the word, "educationist"... wouldn't "educator" suffice?


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there's a lot of truth to what that guy says...but here's something i question:

i've never heard the word, "educationist"... wouldn't "educator" suffice?


i stand corrected! according to www.dictionary.com

ed·u·ca·tion·ist    ( P )  Pronunciation Key  (j-ksh-nst) also ed·u·ca·tion·al·ist (-sh-n-lst)


A specialist in the theory of education.

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So if they are specialist in the theory of education shouldn't they have all the answers or do they need implmentation engineers (made up) to execute the theory.

In theory well not according to Einstein you can travel fast than the speed of light...

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I agree with what eibua12 said about the competition in schools. The real world is full of competition. Just getting into college is competition, getting a job, getting a raise or promotion... competition is good for society.

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My wife is a teacher as many of you know. She thinks this is absolutely STUPID!

College is a competition, getting a job is a competition. Getting a promotion where I work is a competition. You actually have to "bid" on positions and promotions!

The world is becoming so stinking PC it just makes my head feel like it is going to :blowup: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are raising a generation of spoiled little brats and cry-babies!!

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Speaking of spoiled brats and cry babies.

Everyone (well not everyone) complains there are no jobs out there. Anyone have a statistical breakdown of unemployed workers based on age?

I am wondering if there are a lot of rich, cry baby brats that won't work as something else or take a reduction in salary.

But since they are spoiled odds are mommy and daddy have done something to keep them employed!

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Thanks for all the responses. I guess the most important thing to come from this, for me, would be the question of how to determine if a teacher is actually doing ANY good. Some seem to be there just as a job and nothing more. Now don't get me wrong, but I see being a teacher as a very important and serious role, not just a paycheck. But the question still stands, how can we insure that our teachers actually know what they are talking about?

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Just saw this topic...gonna come back later to expand on it.

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First a standard needs to be set for what a teacher "is" and what qualifications they must meet before being hired.

That being said the better qualified the more compensation you should recieve, notice I said compensation not pay. I will give an extreme example to get this thread started:

Well we already "forgive" student loans for teachers that is a good start but what if the government where to get involved (not talking about socialism here) since education needs to be a cornerstone of our society and say hmmm all teachers in elementary education have their taxes reduced but 50% or even don't pay taxes. Since the talk is teachers don't get paid spit then the tax burden on the government for this shouldn't be all that much.

Example #2

Since we have unqualified teachers in our schools system another way for compenstation would be training. Hmm during that 3 month break in the middle of the year teachers go to boot camp with other teachers preferable from differnt parts of the country. (basically you are assigned to boot camp like in the army and you meet and interact with people from all over the world/country and share and shape your ideas but you also become experts in your disipline. I also feel we should broadband teachers so learn skills in another disipline.

How do you pay for this?

Hmmmmmm Good question, how about a national sales tax of say 1%? ( :angry: ).

So anyone spending money in this country would contribute, but let us say your Gross pay was $20,000 a year and you spent all of that (which of course you wont, well they way things are going in this country you spend more) you tax burden for bettering our schools would be a paltry $200.

Now you say let us not exempt anything? So if I buy a house for 1,000,000 I have to pay an extra 10,000... ok I can go for that! A car for 30,000 grand pay and extra $300 ok I can still go for that.

I would have all the money go into a pot and have that money invested (you know like we did with Social Security :lol: ) once you can meet the expense burden you have some acutaries come in and tell us if we can get rid of it or if we must continue.

Well all of this is just strawman as I devised this great plan as I typed but you know what it might be crazy, but I think our leadership need to make some drastic changes!

I still haven't answered the question have I!

Ok just like any job each year the teachers need to have an annual review process. The administration (principle/school board) needs to come up with certain benchmarks that must be met and at the review you get graded and compared against that benchmark.

Then a career/implemenation plan needs to be crafted for the next year.

Measuring perfomance on other people's work is very difficult to assertain if you did a good job or not.

I would go by numbers, if you have people failing in your class because they aren't smart, don't have the drive, have ADD, they have a bad home life, whatever you can come up with. It is your job as a teacher to interject into this childs life and make a difference. Pride and ownership of the children you teach needs to be the goal of every teacher. I do understand that there will be some isolated cases where interjection doesn't work and you will have to cut your loses but that should be part of the plan, as in business it is ok to fail just tell me why you did and what your going to do to fix it!

Also the principle being the CEO of the school (business unit) needs to have ownership of every student and his managment team (administration) has ownership as well, and the school board need to have ownership of every business unit (each school).

Sorry to put it in business terms but to be honest I guess what I am saying is there needs to be accountability, and appropiate compenstation.

Get rid of tenure!

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Wow I am amazed no slammed me on that one.

Presonaly I have taxes and a 1% tax added to state sales tax could put a heavy burden on some individuals that high sales tax rate.

So I was thinking .... watch out and back up

To offset the sales tax there would be a credit on your federal taxes (what in the heck are you talking about) Hmmmm

If you donate your time to your shool system for each our there will be a dollar amount assigned that you can then write off on your federal taxes.

So if you work 2000 and it is $5 and hour you write off $10,000 dollars

This could be in the form of after school programs to give those kids that need the special one on one attention that attention. Instead of teachers being over detention and it being a study hall it is after school and you have an assignment or special study, or team project something other than homework this is supposed to be punishment right? Why do we hand out punishment then but make it harmful tot he kids grades?

Anyway many logistics and ideas to work out but for ever question someone has there is an answer, not sure any of mine are, you just need to find the common ground and work to a solution that is the best for everyone.

PS the right would be paying a ton of money in, he he, that might make them have a vested interest in the public school system instead of the private.

Peace off to Clemson

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