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Government run schools are on their last leg, and it couldn't be more obvious. Bloated bureaucracies, off mission focus, and absolutely abysmal results. A failed model for the 21st century. I will enjoy watching its demise.

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A few years ago, our friends at FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression) observed much the same kind of thing going on at public universities. Specifically, FIRE observed that the legislature of the state of Idaho was trying to do something about getting the state university faculty to teach the kind of content they were paid to teach--how to solve differential equations and such--rather than substitute such content with explicitly ideological content.

FIRE complained that such legislative initiative amounted to suppressing the free speech of the faculty. Hmm...

The legislature might have perceived the matter as a Principal-Agent problem: A principal hires an agent to do something. How does the principal give the agent incentives to actually engage earnest efforts in doing that something as opposed to, say, diverting efforts to other activity?

It's a tricky problem, and maybe the economical solution would involve some amount of (unavoidably) costly and messy monitoring. Or, a solution might involve testing: Can students solve basic math problems? Can they read?

Of course, testing has been implemented for at least 30 years, but it seems that the testing regime has been defeated. (Has it?) Kids' performance have not improved on standardized exams, and yet states spend more and more per student--with all the money going in to supporting more and more administrative bloat since at least 2000.

Perhaps implementing "school choice" really would help, and perhaps home schooling will continue to expand.

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This also happens in private schools, where individual schools are many times fending for themselves. Some public schools use a more regimented curriculum that controls most materials, but there is still plenty of room for "creative" things to be added. Maybe "teach to the test" isn't a bad idea after all.

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The fact that most American students are failing to achieve at even the most basic level is disgraceful. Students are incapable of critical thinking at even the most basic level - forget about the moderately complex issues. They've unknowingly become perfect vessels for indoctrination and radicalization.

This is an excellent exposé on how teachers and schools have abundant latitude and have no accountability and little oversight. We know that Marxism and radicalism are omnipresent in most schools, which helps explain this recent wave of pro-terrorist activism and hatred. This is a recipe for societal failure, as was the Cultural Revolution.

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I've taught in public schools for 26 years. Part of the problem is administrator-induced tension. In my years when test scores have gone down we have been told to "teach the test" which hews very closely to state standards and approved materials. But when students get bored and check out mentally (or physically) we are told "....but be entertaining!" I have yet to ever receive district-provided materials that are entertaining to adolescents. Requests for money to provide such (probably imaginary) entertaining materials are met by administrator shrugs and the usual expectation that we will go out and find materials where they are provided for free. If parents are going to give their children phones that can draw on every entertainment source in the world---and argue against shutting them off or leaving them at home, then administrators and elected officials (particularly conservative ones who have spent the past 30 blaming teachers for the failings of the wider culture) need to find--and pay for-- similar devices teachers can use to teach the curriculum.

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You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. The nomenclature of education should be updated. Teachers are at best facilitators of learning, students should be classified as learners. The expectation that teachers are the primary drivers of student success or failure is driven by teachers unions who want to claim success and responsibility when students do well, but shirk responsibility and blame when students fail. Both teachers and students have responsibilities in the classroom and I would argue that parents responsibilities outside of the classroom in preparing their students to be receptive learners are even more important.

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DEFUND THE SCHOOLS! The public school system has long outlived its usefulness. The federal government should have zero involvement, including funding public schools. The system is a hash controlled by a rabid leftist union using it to push its agenda(s). There was a time in our history when it was needed, no longer.

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We need to end public education. For a start, the BEST performing schools still have appallingly low literacy and comprehension levels. Math proficiency is very low too. Meanwhile community and micro schools modeled on Montessori or even "unschooling" produce much better results. In my community, there are billboards advertising for higher teacher pay. The argument is that more pay will get better results, but the scores for students have trended downward despite increased funding for local schools. The micro schools (many of which seemed to form during COVID while parents desperately looked for a solution for their kids to keep learning) are run on shoestring budgets, but seem to get better results as a default than the public schools with all the admin and other costs.

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why is Boston schools union? promoting a "Palestine" studies curriculum? Or Oakland?

I taught HS English for many years...not just one...so I could get a book deal for my year "as a teacher" Heartwarming stories about kids' struggles. I adopted "multiculturalism" as valuable: World lit included works from S. America and Africa. Not from Israel or any Arab country. When I attended a "Modern Arabic Novel " conference for teachers at NYU the opening salvo...from an Israeli....was a racist anti Judaic, anti Zionist film. "Would you use this in the classroom?" Where was the so called reason for the conference...Arabic novel?

This was the nineties. From the looks of things, everything is worse. I taught American lit, Shakespeare, The Harlem Renaissance ...an entire unit.....and World Lit. I didn't indoctrinate.

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I would love to see a requirement that materials are posted daily for parents to see. I was part of a curriculum oversight committee some years ago after a flap wherein a parent discovered some anti-American materials being used - and one of our findings was that the vast majority of the work that kids complete at school is simply not available to parents. Most parents are not interested and completed work isn't sent home and no one asks and school becomes a silo.

That said - unless there are cameras, teachers, especially the fanatic activist ones, will simply lie. They will not post the inflammatory materials online, and they won't send it home. And this doesn't help with the fact that some parents want whackadoo leftist lesson plans.

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I agree that lesson plans and certain other materials should be available to the parents. Still, the parents who would look at it are the ones who are already responsibly involved in the education of their children. The ones using it as a babysitting service won’t use it. If they were paying tuition they might take a keener interest.

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Sadly, this does not surprise. Excellent work to uncover the travesty that is public education in the US. But we all had this nagging sense this was the case. I hope, now that it is proven, we can do something about it.

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As a retired (17 yrs ago) high school teacher, who taught for 40 years, I see little has changed. I used to joke that in September a first year teacher was issued text books, a box of chalk and a room to teach in. If, by the end of the next June they were still alive, they were re-hired. Accomplish that for three years running and they were given tenure. Nothing else was required of them by the administration.

That is a slight over simplification but only slight.

On the other hand, it is probably better than official, well organized, governmental indoctrination. Random looniness is far less harmful than brain washed masses goose stepping in unison.

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Jun 14·edited Jun 14

I was thrown into a classroom....with a curriculum designed by my AP and run off as a series of handouts for HS students.....how to write for an academic environment. "What is a topic senctence....and so on." I had the English credits. The basics of writing were good....by graduation some could write a basic paragraph. Or short essay.

First semester teaching: One student took out a white drug , made a line and snorted it..... I was told I had to administer some state or city test. It was bedlam. The kids just passed around the papers. I survived as you say for the next 25 years. So yes I got tenure. So did most of the young people I was working with who had come to teaching from a variety of paths. Mine...I needed work. Most of us were fine teachers. I was required to get my MA while teaching. Eventually, I learned the tricks of the trade. I devoted myself to being an educator.

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This article was superficial and misses the mark. His primary objection is that teachers have autonomy and half of all teachers in the US have used Teachers Pay Teachers, but he doesn't specify how many of those teachers are downloading communist propaganda off that website.

As a 10th grade science teacher, I appreciate having autonomy in my classroom, which I use to promote inquiry, a sense of place, and technical vocabulary. I can connect everything my students and I do back to NGSS or technical literacy and mathematics standards. I can work with the English and History teachers in my grade to create cross-curricular connections and support their standards as well.

The author should go to the ed schools at colleges as well as state education boards to see where Queer Theory or communist propaganda are coming from. I read Paulo Freire as part of my licensure program over 20 years ago, and my state has determined that aporoved science curriculum has to "center the student's lived experience" if we want to adopt it. Our state health standards have turned away from human anatomy and physiology and are focusing on feel-good identity politics such that NINE YEAR OLDS in my Girl Scout troop discuss gender identity and sexuality regularly (NOT something 9 year olds casually discussed back in the 90s, early 2000s, or even 5 years ago). As of the graduating class of 2023, I have kids who can talk about not fat-shaming or misgendering someone but who arrive in my 10th grade classroom completely clueless about how their body works. They can talk about being "on T" but gasp for air when we are hiking to and from outdoor field work because they are wearing chestbinders.

The author could have dug a little deeper I think.

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Agreed! If a teacher has the capacity to develop their own materials, that's an indicator they are in the right field. Teaching is not a robotic activity, and we want our students encountering adults who are passionate enough about their fields to continue understanding it and figuring out new ways to deliver the instruction with wonder and insight. Teaching is not curriculum delivery. That 96% stat tells us absoutely nothing. Quantity of data says nothing about quality of data. Be more nuanced please. Interview some teachers who have developed their own materials for noble purposes. Figure out what the actual organic connection is between teachers, teachers colleges, teachers unions, curriculum developers and ideological indoctrination. This would be worthy of any journalist's time.

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Slice it this way, slice it that way, the proof of the education pudding is the learning outcome of the children taught in schools. I don't think American teachers have a lot to brag about. Then again, they are educated in the very system they now teach in so what else would you expect?

PISA Rankings in 2022: the U.S. ranked 24th in science, 38th in math, 25th in reading

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I could barely get through this article given how revisionist it is and its utter lack of historic perspective. Suddenly we’re all bound by the curricula and shocked when educators go off piste? We never before took liberties with education? It glosses over the fact that I was educated on the “War for States Rights” and taught hunter safety in P.E. Twice. In the late 80s. I guess we only got wound up about gays spreading AIDS then. Was teaching blacks are “separate but equal” a little too liberal for the 1960s American South? What’s considered extreme today is mainstream the next. Test tube babies. Climate change. Gay marriage. Life doesn’t go by a textbook, especially those approved by the Texas school board.

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What’s wrong with hunter education? I’d say it’s much more valuable than indoctrinating students on how great socialism is.

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You must be one of dem teachurz.

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This article shows the importance of school choice. Parents should not be required to sent their kids to public schools where no one really knows what they will be taught. That doesn't mean all public schools are bad or all private schools are great, but parents should have a choice, especially when so many big city public schools fail to teach reading, math, history, etc., and graduate students who are functionally illiterate.

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