Archive for the 'DECEITS in education' Category

Disturbing Trends in Education, Revisited

The October, 1981 issue of Education Advisory listed 11 disturbing trends in Education, all with supporting quotes. These disturbing trends are now added to the category in this blog of DECEITS in Education.  Do the disturbing trends and deceits in education of 1981 still apply in 2008, 27 years later?

 

1. Decline in Public Involvement

“If we believe in the principle that public education is of the public, for the public and by the public, then the present trend is bad. In my study I have found that we have less public involvement than we had ten years ago.” Dr. Art Kratzmann, Dean of Education, Univ. of Victoria, BC after completing a one-year study of education in Western countries, 1981.

 

2. Unions’ Negative Effect on Student Achievement

Robert E. Doherty, public-sector labor arbitrator concludes that teacher bargaining has contributed to declines in student achievement (in Faculty and Teacher Bargaining, G.W.Angell, editor, Heath & Co. Pub, 1981) also see Schools in Jeopardy: Collective Bargaining in Education by P.Hennessy, McClelland and Stewart, 1979.

 

3. Politics in Teacher Training

“Too often education faculty members seem bent on pressing particular dogma or ideology…” Dr. Walter Hardwick, former Deputy Minister of Education, BC, 1980.

 
4. Teacher Power

“Citizens seek to enlarge their control of schools. This movement comes at the same time that teachers seek increased autonomy FROM lay control. Thus, laymen and teachers are on a collision course,” Donald Myers in Teacher Power, Professionalization and Collective Bargaining, 1973.

 

5. School Boards Off Track

“School Boards deal largely with fringe elements (e.g. fundraising, school construction, pupil meals, etc.) instead of more basic features of school organization and the main components of curricula.” OECD Review of Canadian Education, 1976.

 

6. Swelling Educational Bureaucracies

“In Toronto…(only) 5,000 of the school board’s 9,000 employees are teachers.” From “The Trouble in Our Schools. TODAY magazine, Sept 15, 1981.

 

7. Parents Not Aware of Decline

“I don’t think parents are as acutely aware of the achievement decline as many other people are….I think there’s an enormous unawareness on the part of parents as to what the schools are doing.” John Goodlad, Dean of Education, Univ. of California after 7-year study of American education, 1980.

 

8. Teaching Problems Lead to Learning Problems

“I always see far more problems in the WAY the students have been taught previously than in the students themselves.” W.A.T. White, Dept of Special Education, University of Oregon

 

9. Crime/LD Connection

“I estimate that 80-90% of the young people who come before me in the provincial court were learning disabled as revealed by their pre-sentence reports.” Former BC Provincial Court Judge, Nancy Morrison, 1981.

 

10. Pursuit of Panaceas

“Schools probably more than any other institution in our society, seem to be particularly vulnerable to fads, poorly tested concepts, and the need to appear scientific and up to date.” Irwin a. Hyman, Policy Studies Review Annual, p 649, SAGE, 1980.

 

11. Questionable Response by Teachers to Parents

“Governments are increasing their structures for parental involvement…and parents say they want more involvement. What will be the response of the professionals? Will we as professionals attempt to welcome parental involvement, listening with open ears to their suggestions and concerns? Or will we follow governmental regulations for parental involvement in the most patronizing way, meeting the regulations only because they are required?” from Special Education in Canada, Vol 55, #2, pg 24 by Lusthaus, Lusthaus and Gibbs in Parental Involvement in School Decision-making, 1981.

 

DECEITS IN EDUCATION

The education systems I follow – Canadian, American, and UK – are so ponderously top-heavy on the supply-side of education economics that they can only survive from toppling over by using complex, interlocking schemes that deliberately and successfully thwart reform efforts from the demand-side (the customers). Having usurped the rightful “property” and duty of parents and teachers, they cling to power and influence by deceitful methods.
 

There are probably 101 DECEITS that impede effective education. I will start listing a few and you can add others.
 

   1. We aim for a classless society. Yet, by denial of choice in education, poor or disadvantaged students are prevented from overcoming limitations and leave school with deficient skills for quality life, work, or further education. Lack of choice frustrates social mobility. Equality of opportunity applies to the rich who can buy private education or move to catchment areas where schools respond to articulate customers.

      Look at the array of obstructionists that prevent CHOICE mechanisms from operating (magnet schools, charter schools, vouchers, open access….) and you start to see a good picture of those vested interests that benefit from a monopoly, state supply system.

   2. We have civilian governance of education. That is, trustees, are elected from the community to ensure that schools are run for the benefit of the students and not the providers (teachers, administrators, teacher educators, etc.) Yet, how many trustees do we see that are themselves educators, ex-educators, or ex-teacher union leaders with hidden agendas? And, they are quickly trained and domesticated to follow the dictates of the administrators. Some simply exploit this experience as an opportunistic stepping stone in pursuit of higher political aspirations.
   3. High costs of education are mainly due to teacher salaries. Yet, is this true? Compute all the overhead and subsidiary costs of the system. Factor in top dollar salaries of administrators and the rest of this bureaucratic empire. Don’t forget the costs of lawyers who are always on call in case of disputes. And, don’t forget the costs of Public Relations experts, conflict resolution experts, facilitators…..
   4. Parent involvement is very important to boost student achievement. Yes, research supports the correlation between student achievement and parent involvement, yet the current waves of soliciting more parent participation results in only more fund and fun-raising activities – not academic attention. Furthermore, whole industries of “parent involvement practitioners” are spinning off of this fad, further providing jobs for unemployed education PhD’s, adding more layers of “experts” and further mystifying parents and keeping them at bay.
   5. Education enables young people to be self-sufficient adults. However, the rising tide of mediocrity and dependency arising from “illiterate” grads is troubling. In some populations over 40% of students are drop-outs, leading to underemployment or dependence on welfare.

The poor economic performance in France and Germany is blamed on the education systems which prepare students for government welfare (“Learning to Love the Dole”) more than they do for entrepreneurship or productive employment. See: Europe’s Philosophy of Failure here: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4095