MINOT, NORTH DAKOTA — The Florida State Board of Education (FSBE)
has adopted its new education goals. These goals hold Asian, white,
Hispanic, and black students to different academic standards — Asians
are held to the highest and blacks to the lowest. The FSBE either believes
students, based on ethnic background, are intellectually unequal or
that students’ racial background/cultural lifestyles determine their
Only raw prejudice would suggest that ethnic background determines
intellectual or academic capability. Common sense makes it clear that
cultural lifestyles significantly affect — but do not determine —
academic outcome. Asians tend to perform better in public schools because
they have strong family units and parents demand academic discipline
and performance from their children. The mainstream black cultural
lifestyle all too often provides neither.
The education establishment refuses to acknowledge and address cultural
lifestyles as a key factor in academic performance. Instead, the establishment
teaches, tests, and grades in ways that hide the problem. Unless harmful
cultural lifestyles change, the children raised in them will never
achieve their potential. Not only do the children themselves suffer
— every community in America suffers.
Why is American public education failing so badly? Because parents
have effectively been removed and replaced by a massive and growing
government bureaucracy. Significant federal involvement in K-12 education
began in 1977 under President Carter. Since then, we have seen a consistent
decline in education outcomes.
In 2001, Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act, which established
federal goals for schools. Schools not meeting the goals are punished
by being brought under federally directed management or by the loss
of federal funds. To escape these negative consequences, states may
seek waivers allowing their public schools to continue underperforming
without suffering consequences — if they set goals.
Florida was granted such a waiver. Under the state’s plan — which
does not address cultural lifestyles — 90 percent of Asian, 88 percent
of white, 81 percent of Hispanic, and 74 percent of black students
will perform at grade level.
Education experts, particularly those at the National Education Association,
argue against addressing structural problems or including meaningful
parental involvement in children’s education.
These experts’ solutions include increasing spending, feeding students,
opening school-based medical clinics, computerizing schools, lowering
teacher-student ratios, instituting before- and after-school programs,
offering sensitivity training, and on and on. The only thing these
“experts” consistently do not recommend is focusing more resources
on teaching academic subject matter, improving teacher competency,
and holding school administrators accountable.
In contrast, privately educated students consistently do better academically
than their public school counterparts. This is true regardless of the
socioeconomic or ethnic background of the students.
We know that black students, in significantly high numbers, come from
single-parent households with no father; Asian students the opposite.
We also know public schools focus much of the teaching day on socializing,
indoctrinating, and inculcating propaganda rather than on teaching
academic subject matter.
The curriculum in public schools rarely includes critical thinking
skills, foreign languages, higher math, and physics. Civics, U.S. history,
world history, and geography texts resemble politically correct indoctrination
rather than objective study disciplines.
Our children are ill-educated because their teachers are. This is
not the fault of these teachers. A review of the curriculum in our
teaching colleges is enlightening. Few of today’s teachers have degrees
in academic disciplines. Instead, they are taught methods and politically
correct jargon. Those in charge of America’s public education — the
teachers’ unions and college academics — have turned America’s education
system into a laboratory, with our children as the rats. They are committed
to undermining the traditions, beliefs, and social structures that
made America great.
America can follow Florida and perpetuate the downward spiral of American
education, or we can reform it. Reform requires a willingness to admit
what can and cannot be fixed. Reforming public education will not work.
Not only is it broken; those controlling it will fight any and all
real reforms. Their goal is to continue imposing their ideologies on
our children and remaking America in their own image.
Reform can come quickly — but only by removing government agencies
and unions and turning it over to parents. Parents care about their
children. That is the most important ingredient in all education. America’s
public education establishment clearly does not.
A Voice from Fly-Over
A Voice from Fly-Over Country is copyright © 2011
by Robert L. Hale and the Fitzgerald
All rights reserved.
Robert L. Hale received his J.D. in law from Gonzaga University Law
School in Spokane, Washington. He is founder and director of a non-profit
public interest law firm. For more than three decades he has been involved
in drafting proposed laws and counseling elected officials in ways
to remove burdensome and unnecessary rules and regulations.
See a complete biographical sketch.
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