Reader Feedback 02/20/2007

 

Some reader responses on our article "Are We Really That Stupid?" from 2/6/07. Due to the high number of replies, we can only post a few here.

If it wasn't so pathetic, it would be funny.

I tried teaching science in Philadelphia back in the early 1980s when the headlines were screaming about math/science teacher shortages. What a scam! They sent us to do our student teaching to Camden and Chester--two of the worst inner city areas in the country. I spent my summer trying to stay alive, being attacked by my own students.

There were no books--we were told the students would destroy them. I had to write and Xerox three hours of "seat work" to babysit them daily, with my own money. The "library" had nothing more recent than 1960, no air conditioning and was so hot, we used it to punish students. And so it went....

There turned out to be no teaching jobs, either... because there was a strong teacher's union in Philly, any new teacher had to wait until all the people on the union list were hired back from leaves. This meant gym teachers might be teaching biology, or whatever. There was no effort to match up subject and teacher. New teachers rotted for an average of seven years in the worst middle schools, inner city schools. Needless to say, that finished me.

I later tried teaching at a "business school" which was also a scam--charging $10,000 in loans to teach typing, but didn't let us really teach anything. The students, all welfare mothers, didn't even know they were loans. They just wanted the $50 they received. I was not allowed to fail anyone even if they only came to class one day in the semester--to collect their $50. Some students wanted to learn, too, which was a shame.

I gave up on teaching, took my sciences and decided to become a nurse. I still needed a couple courses, and took microbiology at the local community college. I was lucky and got a very good teacher. I was the only student who was able to follow him, and pass his tests. The rest had no idea what he was talking about--but he was soon in trouble with the administration. He was told he could not fail a student--that was "prejudiced." (I was told the same--can't give a black student a bad grade for any reason, so they must be passed along, even if illiterate). That was just at the time of the Rodney King riots, he was Korean and received a lot of threats from my classmates, too. He announced in class: "Everyone will get a ?B' that is what I am told to give you. Now, I quit. I won't teach ever again." He told me, he wondered if he would make it home safely--they let school out early that day and the city was deserted except for angry-looking gangs.

I only found out later, he was a very well-known and respected researcher, who just wanted to try teaching and see if he liked it. I guess we know the answer! I don't know how any student can learn if you have to give them good grades even if they never come to class--not to mention how unfair it is to those who do study. However, that is how political correctness has made our country. Until that changes, you can only expect things to get worse.

Now, I moved to Virginia, and have been shocked all over again. People here are so illiterate and ignorant, it is amazing. Worse yet, they hate and resent anyone who is educated. They are ignorant and proud of it... I find people often take offense because they don't understand what I've said and think it must, therefore, be an insult. The South of the US has not advanced since Civil War days, and is now sliding backwards....

I took all my degrees and became an RN. Now, the hospital system is collapsing. I think the US is just going downhill and who knows where the bottom is? You cannot have a participatory democracy with an illiterate population.

(Roxan L.)

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The US educational system has become a left wing cash cow. I would venture to guess that collectively the education system in the US spends more annually than the military. What makes it so bad is the current education system is failing. I advocate "back to basics." Money is not the answer. How about parental involvement with their children. Education is not only in the classroom but also at home. Parents need to be a part of the teaching process for their children.

(Jeff G.)

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I spent the better part of 45 years in a classroom. I did not see much difference in the beginning of my stint than I did in the end. There was just more of it.

The problem is not with the schools. Schools do not operate independently of the society they are in. I could offer you common complaints that teachers have about their classes, but good teachers always play the hand they are dealt.

You write a newsletter. A very good one. Do you not despair of the problems you write about? Does it not make you sad to report some of the things you see? Does it not make you wish for a much simpler, much more moral period in America's history? It does me.

America was a great place with great ideals. The constitution is second to none. The American people were respected as an industrious, loyal, patriotic, generous people. When people slip from this ideal, they take the schools with them. There are just too many problems. There are too many single parents, too many latch-key kids, too many people trying to survive in overcrowded cities. There are not enough simple ideals and not enough decent jobs so that families can live without two incomes. I wish I thought it was as simple as throwing more money and manpower at the education system. I don't. There are just too many negatives and not enough Ron Pauls left in the world.

(Jerome C.)

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The biggest problem with the educational system is the government. Turn education over to the free market and watch people's IQ's double within a generation.

Here's an interesting thought. What incentive would the government have to truly educate its population? A thoughtless, uninformed, illogical population is what keeps governments in power. Or in other words, keeps the slaves in order.

WWNK is one of many subscriptions I have, but one of a few that I always read in full.

(Kenton R.T.)

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Errata

A few readers pointed out to us that Ontario is in America as well. Thanks.





Posted 02-20-2007 4:39 PM by Doug Casey