Sunday, July 17, 2011

Unfair Teacher Accountability

In today's America most of the responsibility for learning is hung around the neck of teachers. In cultures that haven't lost sight of the obvious, a majority of the responsibility for learning still rests with the student and their parent(s).

Suppose a student refuses to even try? The teacher is still responsible. Suppose a student is a chronic truant and absent a third of the school year? The teacher is still responsible, Suppose the student refuses to do any homework? The teacher still is responsible. Suppose an African-American student is convinced that learning is "acting white?" Suppose a youngster's parents are abusive and neglectful? The teacher still is responsible. Suppose the student is a junkie or alcoholic. That doesn't matter. The teacher still is responsible. Suppose the student is dumb as a bag of rocks? That doesn't matter. The teacher still is responsible. Suppose slack administrators have allowed the school to become a madhouse? That doesn't matter. The teacher still is responsible. Suppose instructional resources are utterly inadequate? That doesn't matter. The teacher still is responsible.

This sort of "accountability" would be regarded as insane in any serious context. Imagine holding a swim instructor responsible for a student's inability to swim even though the youngster absolutely refused to go near the water. Imagine holding a piano teacher responsible for a child's poor playing even though the kid is tone deaf and has no piano to practice on. Imagine holding a ballet teacher responsible for a student's inability to dance when the she skipped a third of the lessons and is morbidly obese.

If posturing politicians don't stop trying to heap unfair accountability on teachers, no one with an IQ over 90 will choose the profession.

Friday, July 1, 2011

When Home Schooling Goes Wrong

Did you ever wonder what sort of things parents teach their children in the private space that home schooling provides? The fact is that the curriculum can be downright scary.

For instance, some children are taught to embrace white supremacy. They learn that the white race created civilization and that they should loath sub-human mud people. That includes everyone of non-white ancestry — most especially Jews. History lessons consist of heroic accounts of Nordic conquests, British imperialism and the enlightened accomplishments of Nazi Germany. They also are taught about the coming race war when whites will rightfully gain mastery over all of society.

Other kids are taught that their Christian zeal should match the fanaticism of the Taliban. They learn that evolution is unBiblical bunk, that global warming is a fantasy and that homosexuals were stoned to death in the good old days when Godly values ruled. Non-believers are presented as deluded or possibly even knowing agents of Satan. And they are assured that anyone who doesn't believe exactly as their parents tell them to will roast forever in the white hot fires of hell.

There are no practical limits on the kind of screwball ideas inflicted on home-schooled kids.  Sure state home schooling standards theoretically must be eet. But effective control over what is taught in the privacy of the home is impossible.

It doesn't follow that home schooling should be eliminated. Some parents just push quirky but harmless things like vegetarianism or karmic consciousness. Others do a truly responsible job. And sometimes homeschooling helps kids escape from truly hellish situations in public schools.

Besides, just because kids are taught dangerous, intolerant things doesn't mean they will subscribe to them as adults. In fact,  one of the best cures for fanaticism is to have it inflicted on you when young.

 Still, we shouldn't be surprised if some home-schooled true believer blows up a synagogue, chains a "mud-person" to the back of their pick-up and drags him to death or even kills our "mongrel" President. When fanaticism is applied to the young it sometimes sticks to their soul like super-glue.

For more on a related topic please visit: