Annual Rally for Mediocrity

By Oletta Branstiter

It has become an annual tradition for many Texas teachers. They willingly give up a day of their much-needed Spring Break to join a caravan of buses to Austin for a public school funding rally.

Page 39 of the August 2016, Texas Education Agency annual report reveals that the Lone Star State has close to $39 billion reserved for public schools. This agency releases less than $2 billion for school use per year. How much is enough?

While many teachers would profess to march “for the children”, it’s really about their jobs. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “Public school systems will employ about 3.1 million full-time-equivalent (FTE) teachers in fall 2016…Current expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools are projected to be $584.4 billion for the 2016–17 school year. These expenditures include instruction, support services, food services, and enterprise operations… About 4.0 million public school students are expected to enroll in 9th grade in fall 2016…The current expenditure per student is projected at $11,600 for the 2016–17 school year (source).”

Public schooling in America has become a laughingstock. Graduates are failing to meet the requirements of employers in basic skills. Assessments, demanding more classroom time and percentage of state budgets, merely reflect the dumbing down of required material necessary to master a mediocre education.

Public schooling, with its institutional delivery, fails to truly enlighten all but a few students. A visit to any public school classroom will provide all the information one needs to give the system an overall failing grade and determine that public schooling must be defined as the least effective way to educate a child.

Imagine a nation in which every church offered free or affordable education for their communities. This is actually how our founders envisioned it. American education began in houses of worship because families knew that without moral and civic education, our country would devolve into chaos and tyrannical rulers would gain power. I guess they were right. Does your church offer a local education ministry? Shouldn’t this be the primary mission?

Many public school classrooms are constantly embroiled in outright chaos. Students who have not been taught self-control or respect for authority at home continuously disrupt learning. Violent outbursts traumatize innocent children. The time wasted per class period is criminal. Students who are there to learn are being cheated. Disrespect for educators sabotage decorum and any semblance of controlling authority. Swift and consistent punishments have been replaced by politically-correct rewards for not committing worse offenses: “Oh, you didn’t throw the chair at the teacher when you got mad this time? You only dumped a drink over her head? Here, have 5,000 points to spend at our school store!”

When teachers are not busy putting down anarchy, they are expected to entertain the children with “innovative” learning opportunities, employing the latest technology that is likely to fail during the lesson, losing the attention of the students and requiring the worksheet backup plan. When their students, after tuning out during lessons all year, fail the state exams, the teachers are held accountable.

Inexplicably, according to many teachers, this system is vital to the success of children! It’s vital to the status quo of American society hurtling toward Socialism. Think about it: our entire culture is determined by the school year. Even our economy is driven by it. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not Christmas that provides a profit boom to the marketplace, but Back-To-School sales! The school calendar reigns supreme. Education is reduced to minimal minutes of actual new learning in a seven-hour day, for nine months of the year. Homeschoolers know that curriculum can be mastered in less than two hours per day and learning is not restricted by a bell schedule.

By delivering “free” daycare to millions of children while indoctrinating them into dependence upon the State, millions of employees of the Education Machine get to keep their jobs. What scares teachers is not a lack of funds to educate children (which is a fallacy).

Most frightening to many teachers is the idea that public schooling mediocrity will be effectively challenged by superior private enterprise opportunities.

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