November 29, 2007, - 9:44 am

Those ‘Mazin’ Publick Skools: U.S. Fourth Graders Are “Childz” Left Behind

By Debbie Schlussel
So much for President Bush’s so-called “No Child Left Behind Act.” Looks like he and his Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings focused so much on silly programs and meaningless benchmarks that fourth-graders around America were, indeed, left behind.
Test results from a global reading test show that U.S. fourth-graders have lost ground in literacy compared with children around the world. The students did about the same as they did in 2001, with no improvement over the six-year span, despite gazillions of dollars and “increased emphasis” on reading under the No Child bill.


Failure: When Your “Education” Secretary is Too Busy Doing This

More proof that George Bush’s Ted Kennedy-style spending on education gets Club Ted-style “results” (Kennedy was kicked out of Harvard for cheating). The “No Child” bill requires annual testing in reading, but, as always happens, teachers teach to the test, and their kids don’t really improve their reading skills. It’s a rote waste of time, as these results show after five years of the No Child boondoggle.
On the exam, America’s fourth-graders–while doing better than the international average–scored lower than their counterparts in ten countries, including Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Luxembourg, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, and three Canadian provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario. Previously, Russia, Hong Kong, and Singapore were behind the U.S. And, gee, they don’t have a “No Child Left Behind” bloating whale of a spending bill.
Maybe Margaret Spellings should spend a little time on the only “R” of “the three Rs” and less time appearing on televised game shows (“Jeopardy”–no surprise that she lost to “Lenny” from “Laverne & Shirley”), in White House videos with Barney the dog (for which her appropriately-named press person, Trey Ditto, sent me a ludicrous press release), and fighting for the Title IX rights of lesbian athletes to annihilate college football and formerly Olympic-medal-winning men’s swimming and diving.
More key data from the test:
* “Girls scored higher than boys in the United States and all other countries except for Luxembourg and Spain, where the boy-girl scores were the same.”
That means that, like the U.S., we’re seeing a trend in neglecting boys and promoting girls in education. We see it in college admissions–overwhelmingly female, declining male presence in college student bodies–again, overwhelmingly female, and many other areas of academia. But, hey, there’s no provision addressing that in the No Child bill. Maybe that’s a good thing, given the poor results of the program.
* “Background questionnaires administered to students, teachers and school administrators showed that the average years of experience for fourth-grade teachers in the United States decreased from 15 years to 12 years between 2001 and 2006. The international average was 17 years.”
No comment needed. We’re behind thanks to teachers unions and bloated Bushie bureaucrats (like Secretary Spellings).
* “Among jurisdictions that took the test in 2001 and 2006, scores improved in Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Russia, Singapore, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia.”
Hmmm . . . They improved, and we didn’t. What are they doing that we aren’t? I’d bet their education officials aren’t appearing in silly videos and on game shows, for starters.

Strange Priorities Equal Failure in Schools:

Woman in Ugly Jacket is Incompetent Ed. Sec. Margaret Spellings

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10 Responses

Number 1, the Department of Education (Jimmah Carter’s baby) needs to be abolished.
Number 2, give us school choice and break the government monopoly.

lexi on November 29, 2007 at 10:03 am

That’s always government’s promise for bettering education -a new test. Texas seems to do it each time we get a new governor.

CaptShady on November 29, 2007 at 10:51 am

Well unions are a drain anyway. They make it almost impossible to fire someone, who isn’t getting the job done. Whenever you have a union involved, you can’t have standards for your employees and reward them for being a good teacher, because that would be unfair for all the lazy and uninspired sad sacks who just collect a pay check. You want to turn the education system around it is easy. First, you abolish the socialistic teacher’s union. This way you can hire the talent you need and fire the dead weight. Next, you get the lawyer’s and the dead beat parent’s out of the class room. Quit worrying about whether your kid’s creativity is being dampened. Allow the teacher’s to wield the paddle when they need it. Oprah and Dr. Phil shut the hell up. If your kid is a brat, he or she needs to have his attitude changed, while there is still time. Class rooms are a jungle, where the kids can get away with whatever they want, because the supposed authority figures wield no real power. Guess what. These two things don’t require a bunch of money to be thrown at the problem. The next thing is parents have to care. If you don’t show interest, your kids won’t show interest. If your child makes it through high school without being able to read, somewhere along the line you should be able to pick up on that if you pay attention. Guess what, another solution that doesn’t require throwing a bunch of money at the problem. It will never happen though, because the left has this problem with taking responsibility for your own actions. Everything that they support is a cop out.

Ford Jones on November 29, 2007 at 10:51 am

I actually sort of think a comment is needed, because it’s contrary to logic to suggest that unions are the reason that there are less experienced teachers teaching at the moment. The post above even references that in blaming unions for holding on to “dead weight.” If anything, you’d think all this dead weight would inflate the experience average.
I’d say a potential simpler explanation is that it’s the beginning of the baby-boom retirement shift that everyone knew was coming.

stormhit on November 29, 2007 at 12:06 pm

I can tell you that a lot of it is the unions. The unions are an “accident of fate” since some teachers (yes, even weighing all those vacations) are/were underpaid, but in the last 20 years it has been royally abused.
Retiring baby boomers will IMPROVE things, they are the cause now, their retirement is not. I have friends and some relatives who are teachers and while they would not scrap their union (a paradox to the next statement), I hear from them all the time stories of teachers, particularly ones who have been there a long time, who are lazy and incompetent, who are out sick at a frequency that they would be fired in most jobs; yet they have been there 20 or 25 years and stay there because their union cronies “protect” them.
Ironically, NY has the Taylor Law which limits teacher union action in terms of striking, but it doesn’t stop other things. When I was a HS Senior, the teachers, instead of striking, decided not to help us do yearbook or give recommendations for college. You can imagine that it really got our sympathies for them (and this was over 20 years ago, when teacher recos weren’t nearly as big a factor for getting into the school you want as it is now!). Luckily this “action” ended in time so we could at least have a yearbook.

hairymon on November 29, 2007 at 12:19 pm

Several points
1. Teachers in public schools do whatever the hell they like. It is virtually impossible to fire them once they get tenure.
2. The unions, both for teachers, and for administrative personnel. The former waters down and fights any accountability measures for teachers, while the latter prevents any shifting of duties or efficiency mechanisms/technological updates that would save money. Cleveland Pub Schools is one of the worst districts in the US, yet spends something like $12,000 per year on students. I graduated from a prestigious Catholic high school in 2000, where my family paid $5500 per year.
3. Public school teachers care more about teaching at a snale’s pace level to make sure the stupid kids feel good about themselves. We also cannot segregate kids by intelligence level to teach to their level, serving all types of kids, as that would be “insensitive.”
4. The breakdown of discipline, parents that have no idea how to raise their kids and object to anyone else disciplining the little darlings, and breakdown of morals in society.
5. Teachers have strayed from the basics (aka the 3 R’s) to try and engage in shaping childrens’ world view in their own secular humanist/radical leftist, and often rabidly anti-American and anti-Western, apologist manner. Stick to the basics, folks, you don’t seem to be able to handle it.
6. I always noticed while in undergrad that the dumbest kids in college were edumacation majors. Furthermore, a Masters in Education is probably the easiest graduate degree one could possibly attain.
7. This will agitate some readers on this site, but I will say it anyway: the fact that we have a debate over teaching generally accepted science versus extremist religious mythology that isn’t even accepted amongst all Christians in the same sense. Yes, I am referring to Creationism/Intelligent Design. Save this for PSR or Sunday School, folks. America lags even further behind in the civilized world when it comes to science/mathematics. This is very, very dangerous for our future.

JasonBourne81 on November 29, 2007 at 2:31 pm

If we could start by getting rid of “progressive” educational theories, we could go a long way to reversing the dumbing down of public schools. I’ve been battling for years to have my favorite phonetic reading program implemented in the public school where I teach. Remind me to tell you the stories some day.

sonofsheldon on November 29, 2007 at 8:07 pm

That Margaret Spellings looks just like Belinda Carlisle!
On second thought… she looks like she could be Belinda’s GRANDMA 🙂

cinerx on November 30, 2007 at 1:29 am

Jason and Sonofsheldon, you are both so right. This problem is way beyond just the education system (thought that is a big problem in itself). The problem begins with the parents and with the larger culture.
As for evolution vs. creationism, there are Christian educators who have striven to reconcile the two in a way that will allow both study of science and observance of faith. This is one area of controversy but it is by NO MEANS the most important one.
I am not a schoolteacher but I do tutor children. The lack of discipline and respect for teachers is astonishing. Even more astonishing is the inability of parents to handle their children. There is such a lack of wisdom, it is frightening. Even among religious Jews (my circle), I see this, and it is distressing to me.
“Progressive” theories of education are destroying both American AND Israeli societies (and probably all the West as well). I’m a fan of Classical Education (google it if interested). What worked for centuries to produce the greatest minds in history was thrown out in favor of half baked nonsense concocted by narcissistic idiots. We now reap the results.

AmericanJewess on November 30, 2007 at 2:22 am

“As for evolution vs. creationism, there are Christian educators who have striven to reconcile the two in a way that will allow both study of science and observance of faith.”
Oh good grief…
It isn’t the teachers job to teach christian doctrine, that’s what churches are for. If parents want their kids to believe in fairy-tales they should send them to Sunday-school.
Their should be no place for lies in the classroom. Creationism did not happen – it’s as simple as that.

No Pasaran! on December 2, 2007 at 10:20 am

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