U.S. public education seems to us an enormous and enormously corrupt scandal suppressed under political power plus public hypocrisy. If the feminists drove a Devil’s bargain trading off the value of human life for sexual license, the public bargain over compulsory education is no better and may well be worse, given the numbers of children affected.
It seems telling that both Democrats and Republicans admit the inability of public schools to educate Americans. Math, science and reading scores from the U.S. were once at the top of international rankings, but are now in 28th place. In our state (New Mexico) a scandalously low high school graduation rate was “cured” by reducing the graduation requirements not long ago. A new teacher evaluation program using student test results to evaluate their teachers produced so many low rated teachers that the teachers’ union demanded that it be scrapped, which is now happening. These should be scandal enough.
But there is more: While publicly admitting the inadequacy, neither political party has lifted a finger to address the problem; substituting funding increases instead. Those please the unions. Real teacher evaluation using real results, does not. That is corruption on a massive scale, at the expense of the kids. And of the resulting ill-served economy. It is not only schools and unions and politicians that are corrupt; the worst corruption is in the public acceptance of the conditions.
Within these blatant, lip-served but really ignored conditions, there are darker things lurking. Last year, the Los Angeles Unified School District settled a single elementary teacher’s sexual misconduct at one elementary school for some $140 M. Teacher/student sex problems seem much more common than their presence in the news suggests. Administrators, unions and politicians are better off if such things aren’t advertised. Nevertheless, human nature assures that they exist. If the full truth were published, it seems likely that the recent brouhaha over pedophile priests would look tiny.
Another, smaller but curious situation bemuses us too. A 12 year old middle school student of our acquaintance displayed a medical problem that turned out to be a result of her absolute refusal to use her public school’s restrooms. Asked why she refuse their use, she declined to explain, other than a vague statement about “bad things” that occurred in them. Inquiry disclosed that numbers of the students shared her aversion, though the administration claimed ignorance of any such situation. Perhaps our suspicion that here rests another untold public school scandal is only paranoia, but we would like to know. The student’s medical problem is real enough.
However, given our unwillingness to deal with total education failure, hidden sexual predation and now this restroom mystery, we can hardly expect to reverse the general, observable decline in the productivity and therefore, the wealth of the once Golden City On the Hill …A society’s future is no better than its schools, after all.