Friday, July 22, 2005

Liberal Education is an Oxymoron

Everything liberals touch turns to crap. With typical clarity, Dennis Prager commented on two recent stories about public education, the most long-standing liberal failure.

From The Guardian in England, the message is: A child does not fail, but defers success. At the conference of the Professional Association of Teachers in Buxton, Derbyshire the teachers will vote on a motion that reads: It is time to delete the word “fail” from the educational vocabulary, to be replaced with the concept of “deferred success." In the US a growing number of K-12 teachers have already made the transition from red pencils to blue pencils since tests marked in red could be discouraging.

In California, the San Bernardino school district will institute a new policy this fall to reach out to black students, its lowest-achieving group. Beginning this fall, teachers will receive training in black culture and customs and the curriculum will include the historical, cultural and racial impact of blacks in society. A suggestion by Cal State professor Mary Texeira to use the ebonics dialect (black English) as a tool to better communicate with black students and improve their self-image, has been met with such round disdain that district officials have been quick to renounce such a development. Thank heaven.

Where do academics come up with these wild ideas? How often do they have to fail? Is there anything we can do to combat the lunacy? Prager suggests that a good first step would be to abolish the graduate schools of education. Only someone with a PhD in Education could hatch such rotten eggs. Does the EdD make one a great, even a good, teacher? Dennis notes that George Will knows so much about baseball that he could qualify for a PhD in Ball, if such a degree existed, but that would not make him a great player.

I agree with Dennis, but would go further. I'd also eliminate the undergraduate schools of education and hire as teachers college graduates who have exhibited subject matter excellence. Folks with a degree and business experience (eg. Starbucks Bob G.) should be recruited. On-the-job training and evaluation in the classroom could lead to a permanent position. Tenure should be abolished.

Finally, I would give all the school administrators a test in common sense and fire those who exhibit liberal lunacy.

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