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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Teachers not sole source of declining education ... chner.html

    Teachers not sole source of declining education

    Adrienne Mack-

    My Turn
    Nov. 27, 2006 12:00 AM

    Matthew Ladner of the Goldwater Institute has fallen into the trap that says that the education of our children is all about the teacher ("Noble legacy in education is on table for Napolitano," Opinions, Nov. 20).

    I am well-versed in William Sanders' research and know research shows the quality of the teacher is critical (higher quality teacher, higher student achievement). But I am less apt to place the responsibility for our declining national education all on teachers or the unions. Here's why:

    • Students count, and their parents attitudes, commitments and ability to maintain a safe, stable home environment have an enormous impact on a student's academic success.

    When parents are living outside the law (increasing number of immigrants, drug users and unwed mothers, to a lesser extent), they are more apt to be transient and less likely to not buy into the education system. When parents live in poverty they are more apt to be transient, to have sickly children who miss school, to need older siblings to baby-sit younger ones, and to lack transportation. Schools cannot fix society's ills.

    • High-quality teachers don't stay in low-performing schools, and it is rarely because they don't like the kids. What they don't like are the gangs, the anti-social behavior, the restrictive policies, the large class sizes. It is impossible to adequately teach 30 to 40 students, all of whom arrive with different, but usually low, skill levels.

    • Uncontrolled, illegal immigration is having an enormous impact.

    I know this is not politically correct to say, and that's why most educators won't say so in public. But check out the Los Angeles school system, where Hispanics (many, but not all, of whom are illegal and poor) make up more than 70 percent of school population. Then look at North Carolina, which had made enormous strides in closing the achievement gap, producing the highest-quality teachers through National Board Certification, and is now struggling with a surge of immigrants arriving to work in the poultry plants.

    In two or three generations, immigrant children will enter mainstream, just as all the former immigrants have, but in the meantime they are dragging our schools down for everyone.

    • Students and parents count and so do school policies that change curriculum frequently, purchasing billions of dollars of useless textbooks and other supplies.

    Education books are big-ticket items, and publishers of those books are businesses; they are not doing their work for the benefit of mankind, but for the benefit of their stockholders. Educators, on the whole, are poorly educated consumers likely to believe much of the "research" about what works and what doesn't.

    There are no schools uncovered in the education research that are doing very well with high (more than 65 percent) minority and/or poverty student populations. I wish it weren't so, but that's the fact. It is not because teachers haven't tried; it's because of social, business and national policies, and because students and their parents are the major factors in whether or not a child succeeds.

    Let's get real and have real conversations. Let's decide to what degree we want to educate our children. Eighty percent do not need college, but they do need some post-secondary experiences.

    When we are ready to talk facts, to put everything in the open, then we might move up in our education practices and our students' achievement. Until then, education is a great employment field, supplies publishers with lots of profits, and absorbs our communal dollars without end.
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  2. #2
    Roxas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Children who live in poverty, not just illegal immigrants.

    A story... a group of African American girls (7!) intimidated my younger brother and my sister one day they had half a day of school. Those beasts were pushing them around! Of course, my older sister found out about it, found the group of silly high school freshman girls and rebuked them.

    I am planning to become a high school teacher and honestly, I am not planning to teach in the inner city. Most of those kids, like these beastly girls, are anti social, clearly. Parents need to take responsability of their children and educate them correctly.

    I am sure that in LA there are problems like these. And it's not really a matter of race... it's irrelevant. Since illegal immigrants live in poverty, the problem is aggravated because of it.

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