Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Education problems will be solved with home reform, not school reform

Education problems will be solved with home reform, not school reform
(not a math article)
By John Rosemond

Public school reformers are like a fellow who scoops a bucket of water from one end of a swimming pool, carries it to the other end, dumps it back in, and then repeats the sequence endlessly, convinced he is making the latter end deeper.

In the meantime, his labor causes the cost of the water to skyrocket as it becomes more contaminated. Our reformer is obviously suffering from some learning disability because despite the fact he's been at this for years, he seems incapable of understanding that he is accomplishing nothing and causing problems in the process.

Nonetheless, he can be heard constantly complaining that he needs more money with which to increase the pool's water level and improve the quality of the water.

The bankruptcy of the reformer's argument, as well as his myopia, is easily exposed. One of his objectives is to reduce the student/teacher ratio. He maintains that smaller class size improves learning. Oh, really? In the 1950s, when class size was much larger than it is today, and the student/teacher ratio was larger still, children at all socioeconomic levels achieved at much higher levels than their contemporary counterparts. And many of those kids - including yours truly - came to first grade not even knowing their ABCs!

Since the 1960s, reformers have succeeded at bringing about significant reductions in both class size and the student/teacher ratio. Their efforts have coincided with dramatic declines in student achievement. Yet, oblivious to facts, they continue to carry water from one end of the pool to the other.

The reason 1950s kids could be successfully taught in overcrowded classrooms (I've met women who in that decade taught as many as 95 first graders, by themselves, and with relatively few problems) is because they had been and were being properly disciplined in the home. They were not the center of parental attention in their homes; rather, they were expected to pay attention to their parents. They were not the object of great doing on their parents' parts; rather, they were expected to do, to carry their share of the weight (Does anyone remember when children had chores and were expected to find their own entertainment after school?) They were expected to do at school what they had been trained to do at home - pay attention and do what they were told. (Did I mention that these kids were also expected to do their own homework, without their mothers' help?) This training obviously paid off.

The good news is that this same training will pay the same dividends today. The problem, of course, is that few parents realize the solution to American's education woes lies in their hands. They have been persuaded that the reformers, given enough money, will solve the problems. When his efforts fail, they demand that he carry water faster, to which he responds with demands for even more money. And the beat goes on.

The problems in American education will be solved through home reform, not school reform. When parents wake up to the misleading they have endured for the past forty years and re-embrace a traditional (read: everlasting) point of view and restore traditional practice (the emphasis of which is not on spanking, but on leadership); when they once again back teachers when it comes to discipline; when they once again send children to school who have been properly prepared at home, not through academic exercises beginning at age 3, but through such things as chores beginning at age 3; then and only then will American schools be restored to their former glory.

Call it trickle-down edu-nomics.
JOHN ROSEMOND is a psychologist, family therapist and nationally known lecturer on parenting issues.

It's time to realize that what we (all) are doing in education reform is creating jobs. Jobs in government at all levels and jobs in think tanks trying to figure out what to try next, what experiment to offer the public next under the pretense on fixing our schools.

Simply imagine how many people would become unemployed if our schools worked perfectly. That is not in the interest of the "experts".

The answer is so simple. The schools worked in the 50's so why don't we just go back to that. But that is too simple and creates no jobs. This is actually getting very boring.


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