Monday, April 16, 2012

Progressive Teacher Pustule: Pay Your School Taxes and Shut Up and I continuously poke the belly of the education beast to see what kinds of pustules pop, and it never ceases to amaze us the types of low-lifes involved in our education system.

There are many great teachers – we work with a lot of them every day. But there are also a lot of people who don’t deserve the honor of teaching our children.

Whether it’s union-defended “pervy” teachers getting a slap on the wrist for very serious offenses, teachers doctoring student test scores for their own gain, or teachers union officials involved in spending scams, some people don’t belong in education.

Some simply have contempt for parents and taxpayers. School employees and education bureaucrats know best. Parents are the silly rubes who can’t figure out the very complex education system because they’ve never been in the classroom. They don’t know children (irony?).

Consider an exchange with one such pustule that was poked. Posting as “The Frustrated Teacher,” the anonymous self-described teacher explained to me on Twitter, “Teachers often combat the nonsense parents instill in their kids. That surely bothers U cuz misinforming yr kids is impt 2 U.”

Uh huh – teachers know better than parents. Got it. Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah. Sadly, he wasn’t done after the audacity of his statement was pointed out.

“Why? Because a teacher actually said parents intentionally, sometimes, screw with their kids and teachers have [to] unscrew them?”

But it’s worse than that. It’s not just that there is the belief that teachers need to “reeducate” students from what their parents teach them, but that any questioning of the system by a non-educator is not only unacceptable, but offensive.

“You have NO standing to discuss education anyway. You’re a nobody who knows little about schools, education, children or policy.”

You can just feel the love these so-called “public servants” have for taxpayers. But he wasn’t done, especially when I reminded him that taxpayers fund the system (not to mention his pay and benefits) and we will have a say.

“Pay & mind ur business. Once U understand education, then U cn make it ur business. I C no evdnce u have.”

When I broached the idea of opting out of the system and taking my tax dollars with me (which would negate the need for my criticism), that didn’t go over well.

“If you don’t like American schools, take your kids out and put them in private schools and STFU.”

I presume he means “shut the f*ck up,” which, sadly for him, won’t happen. We as parents and taxpayers fund the government education system and many of us are dismayed by the waste, abuse, corruption and misguided focus on the desires of adult employees, rather than the needs of students.

We constantly hear from the education establishment that parents aren’t involved and that’s leading to the decline of student achievement. What parent would want to be involved in their child’s education when they encounter the type of attitude that this teacher, and so many others, convey

And with tenure, even if parents are outraged by this type of attitude, there’s little or no leverage to do anything about it.

This example is just one of many that illustrate the myriad problems facing our education system. And if it requires getting a little dirty and gross to expose the problems, so be it. But we as a country cannot afford to have such destructive people teaching and influencing our children.


Georgia Professors Bribe Students to Lobby Legislators

Why would GALEO (Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials), which lobbies against enforcement of immigration laws, thank “students” and “educators” (among others) for defeating Georgia bills restricting illegal aliens? Their April 9 newsletter joyfully announces in a headline “ZERO anti-immigrant [sic] legislation from GA passed.”

Well, it’s because educators, public school teachers, and professors at Georgia public colleges and universities used their positions to influence students and engaged in lobbying efforts. At the Georgia State University College of Education, during a February 4 “Teach-In,” ostensibly to discuss curricula banned in Arizona, one of those professors pledged to give her students “extra points” for bringing in letters to legislators opposing bills that would enforce immigration laws—therefore bribing students with grades.

You can see the video of Jennifer Esposito, Associate Professor of Education at Georgia State University, making this pledge on my website Dissident Prof here.

On March 19, I testified about this at a House committee hearing on SB 458, a bill that “would have streamlined the process by which public benefits are administered and ended the official acceptance of undocumented foreign passports from illegal aliens as useable ID in Georgia,” according to D.A. King, president of the Georgia-based Dustin Inman Society, a group that advocates for enforcement of immigration laws. At the hearing, one of the many members of the illegal alien lobby present yelled out that she had been at the Teach-In and that I was lying. Chairman Rich Golick replied to her, “We’re not engaging in a dialogue here. . . . We’re not shouting out. That’s not the way the system works here.” It happens towards the end of the eight-minute testimony here.

You can also hear Golick call this information an “extremely disturbing reality” and promise to “explore that on a different track.”

GALEO focused on education benefits and cast SB 458, as “Georgia's Anti-DREAM Act,” because it “would have placed Georgia in the extreme position of being one of three states in the nation that deny access to higher education to undocumented students.” That’s the way the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported it too.

Sponsor Barry Loudermilk’s explanation—made with exceeding logic and patience during debate—however, was all but ignored. The bill was really about public benefits for illegal aliens and the type of documentation needed. PUBLIC education—at public universities—is a public benefit; under the bill, Georgia would enforce federal law and deny illegal aliens access to public universities. One of the points Loudermilk kept repeating, as opponent after opponent played the “children just wanting education” pity card, was that SB 458 did not prohibit access to PRIVATE colleges. But for GALEO higher education is synonymous with public higher education, one that they believe illegal aliens have a right to enjoy.

By the fortieth and last day of the session the by then toxic provision about higher education benefits would have been struck out had the bill been allowed to go to the House floor.

The Speaker of the House, David Ralston, however, did not call the bill up for a vote. There was a “skyrocket high majority” of votes in both houses to pass the bill, according to King. In his latest newsletter, King blames Governor Nathan Deal as the “root cause” for defeat.

But the negative cast on the bill, as affecting innocent children, was promoted by employees of the University System of Georgia, in the classroom and at the “Teach-In,” where the dean of the College of Education opened the day’s events with remarks in Spanish. D.A. King is used to seeing students and educators pack hearing rooms and dominate testimony. He calls most American universities “de facto training camps for future anti-enforcement radicals.”

The Board of Regents has been on the side of admitting illegal aliens to Georgia public universities. Chancellor Hank Huckaby testified AGAINST SB 458 on March 19, 2012. But in 2011, before he was appointed to the position by Governor Nathan Deal--when he was REPRESENTATIVE Huckaby--he voted FOR a similar bill, HB 59. One of the activists at the Teach-In bragged that legislators had “listened” to the many students and educators and tabled HB 59. According to King, at that earlier hearing opponents of HB 59 were allowed to take up far more than their allotted three minutes to speak; the chair, Carl Rogers, would not allow a vote, when it was clear that the bill had the votes to pass out of committee.

Why SB 458 failed in the GOP-controlled Georgia Capitol is somewhat of a mystery, although King said he has some theories about why the bill was refused a House vote.

What is not a mystery is that professors and administrators are using public facilities and using students for their own political lobbying purposes.

In addition to revisiting this immigration bill during the next session, legislators need to examine the corruption in education. The balance of power needs to be restored, back to the people who pay for the public institutions.


Australia: Tiger mothers and the social escalator

Observing the contrasting school experiences of the panellists on last week’s episode of Insight, one could be forgiven for thinking that the Australian ideal of a ‘fair go’ for all was all self-deception and no self-realisation.

While non-selective public schools are apparently under-resourced and blighted by underachievement, private schools and selective public schools seem to provide supportive and aspirational educational environments conducive to academic excellence.

Perceptions aside, Australia actually remains one of the most socially mobile countries in the developed world, according to a 2010 OECD report. This is consistent with a 2011 Smith Family study, which found that 29% of Australians whose father had stayed at school until Year 10 or less obtained a university degree.

Despite the relatively high level of social mobility, Australian children often go on to reproduce the socio-economic environments into which they are born. The same Smith Family report also found that 53.7% of the children with fathers who were managers and professionals become managers and professionals themselves, compared with only 27.9% of those whose fathers were operators, drivers and labourers.

However, a degree of social immobility is not necessarily cause for concern about economic opportunity. This is because social mobility is never exclusively a function of the opportunities offered by society; the values and aspirations of individuals are also crucial.

Assuming that the same material opportunities existed, a society of tiger mothers of the Amy Chau variety (‘Study hard, do well and do not date or drink’) would produce very different socio-economic outcomes from a society of Alfred Doolittles (Eliza Doolittle’s feckless father in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion).

Unsurprisingly, social capital often trumps economic capital when it comes to producing a healthy, meritocratic society. As the testimony of the students on Insight made clear, academic achievement is in large part the result of the values and aspirations of fellow students, parents and teachers, and not simply a product of the number of dollars spent on schooling.

While an austere regime of constant study and no play might seem all too onerous for children and parents alike, an emphasis on self-realisation and responsibility is arguably the best way of speeding up our social escalator.


No comments: