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November 20, 2010


I'm reposting here a comment that was left about this post elsewhere on the Web.

"I do not want to see this movie because it blames teachers, but I have heard there is a better movie called "Race to Nowhere" which has not gotten as much attention. I think that we need to improve public schools, not privatize them, or shut them down. All students deserve an equal opportunity at a quality education." -Angie Villa

Thanks for the movie recommendation, Angie! For those of you who are interested, here is the link to the movie website: http://www.racetonowhere.com/

Interesting blog post from The Atlantic, published a few days ago: "Public School Chic: How Saving American Education Became Cool" http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/11/public-school-chic-how-saving-american-education-became-cool/66566/

What I'd really like to know is this: when is enough enough? You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. In my opinion, the biggest failure of our schooling system isn't that our bottom-feeders stink. The bottom of the barrel will always be the bottom of the barrel, for whatever reason. Broken home, abusive parents, neglecting classwork, and the list can go on for several thousand more words. I don't believe it's teachers' jobs to be babysitters and motivators.

I believe teachers' jobs is to, well, *teach*. But I also believe you can only teach those who wish to learn. To that extent, as James Simons said, our top 10% aren't as good as the rest of the world's top 10%. In my opinion, we need to focus on the kids that *want* to learn math and science and engineering and technology, not the ones that "without an education, are at risk of falling through the cracks". That might be the job of a social worker, or a psychologist, but not a teacher.

I say the idea that everyone deserves a chance is what draws resources away from those who "merit" the chance. If someone is having trouble picking up elementary arithmetic, why exactly are we wishing to force algebra, trigonometry, and eventually calculus into their skull? In my opinion, that's a blatant waste of taxpayer money since they will most likely never use that math again. What we need to instill is a sense of "those that wish to learn will be taught. Those that stink will be weeded out." The whole "everyone is a winner" idea just doesn't sit well with me, especially because given the current times, if some of the more educated people graduating with bachelor's degrees from respectable universities, with master's and PhDs on top of that are having difficulty finding work, why are we concentrating on the masses that will not use this?

Let's make sure that the taxpayer money we spend is well-spent, and in my opinion, it is not well spent teaching those who do not wish to learn.

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