By Bob and Rose Weiner
Published April 2, 1991
What’s wrong with education today? It doesn’t take a great deal of intelligence or common sense to see that when 700,000 graduates can’t read their diploma, the problem is that they are teaching the wrong stuff! As one corporate executive suggested, “Take a risk, try anything. Anything will be better than what you are doing now, even if it doesn’t work since what your are doing does not work anyway.”
For those who have thought it through, there is a solution. First of all teach the children to read properly. Throw out look and say and sight reading and teach traditional phonics that gave early Americans a 100% literacy rate. The English language is not hieroglyphics and was not intended to be taught that way.
Secondly, get rid of the the gifted program. Everyone is gifted and talented. As one corporate executive observed, the gifted program is destroying a vast amount of human potential by telling children that they are just average and can’t hope to accomplish much. It is producing a two class society which we have never had. It is causing children to drop out of school believing they can’t do anything anyway, to become potential risks and hazards and non productive members of society.
Get rid of the one time test to check knowledge, the rote memory, the multiple choice, fill in the blanks testing and teach young people how to think and reason. Give then enough information in the text books to really understand what they are studying instead of a presentation of a few facts skimmed off the top of the subject.
Six states are trying some new methods that appear to be working. There is not a set class length. If the class gets interested in a science project they could spend as long as three hours on it for the day. There is no promotion until skills are mastered and there is no division of the gifted. Everyone works at their own pace.
There is no classroom with a teacher dominating 85% of the instruction. The student is the worker and the teacher is the coach. Students are not divided into grade levels, the younger students are placed with the older students. The older children help the younger children. Emphasis on each one competing with their neighbor is being eliminated in favor of each one helping their fellow student and learning how to cooperated as a team.
Power and influence in back in the hands of the parents who are re-entering the classroom and getting involved with what is going on. They are holding the teachers, the principles and the school system accountable for what the students are being taught.
Education must return to the basic ideas of early American education, that became derailed before they were ever fully developed. We must get rid of the socialist thought that makes everyone dependent on the teacher. We must teach young Americans how to become independent thinkers, how to gain knowledge for themselves. We must get rid of crime in our schools and consequently deter crime in society.
As Andrew Young, Mayor of Atlanta suggested, “We must reinstate the Ten Commandments and the reading of the Bible in the classroom that gives young people the clear cut knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong.”
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