The Public Education Problem is a "Standards" Problem

The past few days have been a learning experience for teachers, students, and parents on NBC as they wrapped up “Education Nation” which I doubt any of you saw, but no worries no one watches network news. Any how this education debate drew a line in the sand with students and their broken homes on one side, and teachers, their organized crime union, and the left on the other. The people who brought you “If it feels good do it” and “Rebel against your parents and authority” have suddenly realized their come to Jesus moment and now trumpet the importance of family when it comes to student performance and the overall performance of the public education system in America.

This reminds me of that dream I had where up was down and down was up, only this time the same people who told students on every campus in America to rebel against the values and traditions of their parents are now trying to stress the importance of those values so that every student can succeed in school. A nice change of heart, and sincere as I’m sure it may be, you can’t blame parents for the curriculum, or the crazy teacher imposing his or her views on a classroom for his or her own self serving amusement and intention. Can we honestly say parents are the problem when most parents especially stay at home mothers are trying to make the transition from public school to home school? Who’s at fault when California denies parents the right to home school their own son or daughter? Tell me, is it the fault of the single mother when her daughter has to learn about global warming under a mandate in the state of California when she along with her fellow classmates should be learning about basic scientific concepts like the scientific method, earth science, biology, and astronomy?

Here’s the problem with our education system, you ready? Standards are the problem. There’s a reason why you have a different level of success when you compare public, private, and home school students. Of course public school students score lower because the standards are lower. I’m talking across the board these administrators and school board members don’t want to bother with the requirements because either they know someone who knows someone who teaches, or they have a friend in the administration building. These folks know which side of their bread is buttered, let me tell you its not with changing the system or challenging the standards.

When I was in middle school in it was required by district mandate that each 8th grade student learn the Preamble so they can recite it by heart in front of the class at the end of the school year. We had to learn the Preamble and we had to take a test on the constitution in order to pass the class. We know they don’t do it anymore because most students according to recent surveys can’t recite the first few lines of the Preamble by heart, or they confuse the first few lines of the Declaration of Independence with the first few lines of the Preamble. What’s more concerning is the fact that most young people under the age of 30 can’t name the three branches of government off the top of their head. Friends when I was in the sixth grade I could name all three because when I was in school they still talk American history and the constitution, instead of ethnic studies and cultural understanding. Tell me, what on earth does Woman’s Studies have to do with the global economy and global competition. You think they put as much emphasis on cultural understanding and African American studies or Gender Roles in America in the 21st over math and science or chemistry in China, or India, or South Korea? You want to know why so many doctors bare the last name Singh or Vinjay? Crack open your son or daughters Ethnic Studies book and there you will find the answer.

It’s about standards, and friends standards are apart of everyday life. Would you date someone who doesn’t meet your standards? If you’re shallow don’t answer that question. When you go to a restaurant do you not have standards? Do you not expect that restaurant to meet your standards, and hopefully their own? I would guess none of us would frequent an eatery where they don’t cook the food all the way until its done and their service is less than desirable. My dear friends if we owned a diner or a business and we didn’t meet the standards of our customers or that of our own we’d be out of business quick before we purchase the tools needed to get the business off and running.

Why are standards in the private sector different than standards in the public sector? Why is it acceptable for the DOE to spend billions hand over fist on school remedies that instead make the patient’s prognosis worse, yet Wall Street needs a sheriff. Why is it okay for a D student to pass with his diploma yet if you make one mistake in the private sector your whole life’s work and business might go under. Standards, there apart of everyday life. If we don’t abide by our own standards and hold our institutions to tougher standards then we will leave our children and grandchildren a second rate less successful, less innovative, and less prosperous nation to inherit.