Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bored of Education


You know my feelings about New York City's educational system. This once grand and revered institution is now just a collection of politically correct, liberal leaning experimenters, sucking  my money down into a black hole of failure. In 2011-2012 the NYC budget for education was $23.9 billion (that's billion with a B) or over $20,000 per child. That's a heap 'o money folks. One would think that this kind of spending would produce some results, but au contraire, graduation rates are down, even with a hopelessly dummed-down curriculum. Kids are pushed through the system having learned very little; 8 out of 10 NYC public high school grads entering college require remedial work in math, English and science. Even with the sleazy school administrators altering test grades to artificially improve their standing, we are getting way to little for the amount of money we spend.


There are a number of reasons for this precipitous decline. First, we have children coming to school whose parents care little for their child's education. Some struggle with language issues because we opened the floodgates to illegal immigration and must now deal with the consequences. Kids come from homes with one or no parents in residence and have little encouragement to keep up with their studies. Kids live in homes where drugs are used, and get abused physically and mentally. Poverty makes it hard for some families to get by, but on the other hand more public assistance programs are available than ever before. Poverty by itself was never an impediment to education. These are sociological problems that I don't see going away any time soon. What angers me are the other problems that are self-inflicted and can be made to go away if and strong leader would grow a pair and take a stand.


For example, schools are loaded down with special programs that cost money and not only produce few results, but often result in scandalous overcharges by dishonest "consultants" who rob the system blind simply because no one is checking. These crooks are selling magic elixir that will somehow elevate kids who are not learning to new heights. They never do, and the folks who brought them in are never held accountable for the failure; they just pull another flavor of the month out of the hat and hose more money at the charlatans selling it. Money wasted on these pipe dreams would be better spent drilling the kids in the basics of math, English and science to prepare them for college or the job market. How we keep making the same mistakes over and over with nobody stepping up and saying:"Hey this isn't working...let's do something different" just baffles the hell out of me.


Another money pit...spending billions on computers and coming out with automated systems that are so cumbersome and ineffective that people have to still do the job manually to get any results. They hire education software hotshots who come up with computerized "solutions" to problems they don't really understand, and the poor users have to work around these useless tools instead of being helped by them. Why not have the techno-geeks spend some time with the school secretaries, teachers and administrators who use the systems so that they have some input. The end product would be so much better and there might be some real money saved. Another abuse of computers bought for school use is security. These machines just walk out the door and there is no accountability for their whereabouts. Periodic audits to see that all computers assigned to the school are physically there...problem solved.


I am on a roll here and will try to make my next points more succinctly. Throw meddling parents out of the school. They have no qualifications to hire teachers, develop curriculum, or any of the other things they are foolishly permitted to do now with impunity. Empty the "rubber rooms" where teachers who can no longer teach or who have disciplinary issues sit all day making work for themselves and others. This is not a charity we're running here; if you're a teacher who can't teach, get a job elsewhere. Restore discipline to the classroom. I'm not talking about physically whacking the brats when they need it, but just eliminating all the P.C. crap. Telling a kid to be quiet is not "abuse" and should not require the teacher to apologize to the kid. Geez, what the hell are we doing here!


For $20 grand a year we should be able to graduate kids who can read and write. Other states do it for a third of that. I'm tired of bureaucrats whose main goal in life is preserving their jobs and pensions. Find me some people who care about the kids.



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1 comment:

The Whiner said...

$20,000 per CHILD? That seems like an awful lot to have kids coming out with a poor education. Sigh.