Not Ready for College LO7507
Mon, 20 May 1996 12:03:06 -0400

Replying to LO7461 --

Dr. Ivan Blanco made some excellent observations regarding excerpts of my
rant against public education as well as parts of Benjamin E. Wagner's
response. Thank you both for your considered replies.

when a student says that is bored in
school, or worse bored when she or he is playing, I see more failure in
the whole system than in the kid. The whole system, to me, includes the
parents or adults at home, the churches, etc.
=====================end quote========

I agree totally. The state of public education in the US is part of a
wider systemic problem. Plano, TX, where my son attends high school, has
one of the better public school systems around, with dedicated,
professional teaching and counseling staffs. Because my son's education
process is challenged by ADD-related problems, I probably tend to know his
teachers better than many parents would. As part of that networking, I
always attend the regularly scheduled parent-teacher conferences each
semester. The last time I met with his biology teachers at one of those
conferences, they were actually surprised to see me, and told me that the
previous semester not a single parent had made an appearance. Other
teachers have told me similar stories. Even if all the other students are
making straight A's, it amazes me that the parents don't even care to meet
the people who are teaching their children. I'm starting to rant again.

*Parents and students function under the notion that perfect
attendance is enough for a passing grade, for instance. Then there is a
bunch of specialists in education who believe and force others to accept
the notion that students are too young (regardless of level) to take
reposibility for their own learning or part of it, or to get too much
homework. School administrators see everything through the budget, and
learning has very little to do with that. K-12 is in the hands of schools
boards, groups of very nice people, but with very little knowledge about
how to deal with situation, or trying to resolve all the problems by
themselves without getting various opinions from different sides. These
are just few examples of what I see as barriers to learning...

*I do believe that, if we tried to make schools in general into
learning organizations, then learning will return to schools.
=====================end quote========

I rest my case.

> I wonder if children with such a short grasp of the future and a strong
> urge for immediate gratification would respond as well as adults to a
> >From what I have read, it is not easy to get adults to respond to a

*When students are around adults with no vision, or adults who are
consuming as much as they can today, then it is very hard for these
students to understand vision.
=====================end quote========

I seem to remember that Senge warns against trying to get people to respond
to or share a vision that is proclaimed from on high. Rather, an
environment should be created that encourages the people who share the
vision to articulate it themselves.

> School systems are local
> bureaucracies, some are heavier than others. They do not weigh the system
> down nearly as much as our litigious society and recent court decisions.
> Privatization might avoid some of the litigation because of the use of
> contracts, but would you want your child at the mercy of a bottom line?
=====================end quote========

No argument The privatization suggestion was ill-considered. We have
recently seen some bad examples of privatized school systems and the
bottom line. The point is, things must change, or we can't expect to get
different results.

Thanks again to both of you for helping me to examine my own thinking more

[Host's Note: I had to change the "quote" and "end quote" bars in this
msg; I hope I've gotten them right. ...Rick]


Ralph Niebuhr EDS Electronic Messaging

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