Sunday, February 07, 2010

Michigan Education Comes Full Circle

Things have come full circle in Detroit where volunteers in the struggling school district are being lauded by statist minded bureaucrats for their willingness to help teach school children how to read.

As everyone knows Detroit is nationally recognized as the worst school district in America.

Robert Bobb, who is championing an effort to help clean up Detroit's school district both fiscally and educationally, put out the call for volunteers to help children learn to read, and his call was answered by over 4,000 Detroiters.

There was a time when the presence of parents and other concerned citizens was commonplace within the schools. It happens less and less these days. Why?

There are many reasons.

One of the major hindrances to public schools has been the increasing popularity of private schools and home schools. While this does not affect overall state funding, it can have a disastrous effect on individual school districts that lose a disproportionate amount of students both financially and otherwise.

Home school and private school children, by definition, typically come from households where the parents are actively involved in their children's education. Removing these kids from the classroom effectively removes a group of parents among those most likely to become involved in the school district itself.

The flight of students from public school has many causes, but perhaps the greatest of these is the rejection of social engineering ideas favored by the state in curricula and textbooks, and anti-religious sentiments that have been forced upon schools through the court system and activists.

People who want a greater say in how their children are educated typically do not embrace a school system designed to remove parents from a position of contribution or control. The state itself has done its very best to remove local control of schools.

It has taken over the curriculum, embraced labor laws that favor desired voting blocs over school boards and parents, introduced complicated and cumbersome and expensive reporting methods, has interjected itself in disciplinary matters, discourages many attempts by local districts to operate in creative manners that fall outside the favored Lansing mantra, dictates the school calendar, and on top of it all, controls the purse strings.

School boards have become little more than committees that attempt to steer districts through complicated and often contradictory regulations. Their ability to do what is best for the children in the classroom too often must take the backseat to doing what is best for the state's woeful budget.

It appears ironic to me that the very group that the state has disenfranchised the most in its quest for the state directed education, that being the citizens of the local districts, is now the group that is being recruited by educators to save the children from the failings of that same state sponsored education.

This has to be incredibly embarrassing for entrenched education experts. What could be the effective slogan?

Please volunteer to help your
children learn how to read.
Sorry, but we suck at it.

In order to save face, the only thing left for the state to do is to appoint a commission to hire a bureaucrat, to form a department to make all the rules, to be adhered to by the supervisors of the people who have volunteered to teach the children to read. After all, how can a ragtag collection of untrained volunteers do any good without being instructed on the proper methods?

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