The Classroom Is Dead
Eli Horowitz

For years know I have argued the very notion you so eloquently satire. Every few years there is a new plan to radically change how our educational system operates. The irony is the argument often portends to salaries, both administrative and teachers. Though we can not forget the plethora of contracts handed out to book providers, electronic equipment, the surveillance package is another RFP. RFP, request for proposals are how beauracy’s allege the process is fair to small business hoping to dip their beak in the billions of dollars flowing through education. The children are never consulted on what changes might help classrooms become places of learning rather than babysitting for eight hours. Before some ass, says kids will say anything but school or some obvious kid answer. Duh, as adults it is our job to present them with a set of varying ideas, give them to students and their parents, and wait to see which option was chosen with the most frequency. Not that it would dictate policy, but at least provide an idea on what families believe is best.

We know educational systems can work, private schools have done a wonderful job of teaching students for centuries, but the biggest difference between private schools and public schools beyond the obvious, private schools were created to educate, when you charge for a product, if you do not provide, you will go out of business. Our public school system was developed after child labor laws were passed in the United States. Union and Non Union workers were being undercut by children being paid criminal wages to do jobs adults were paid at least twice the amount, neither amount is enough to care for a family. Working poor, seems it has a long history in America. It was these issues that gave rise to the labor unions, which were attacked as socialist and communist subversive groups out to undermine capitalism. Political rhetoric forced powers at be to adopt labor laws, and to accept labor unions. The release of Upton Sinclair’s “Concrete Jungle” helped Americans see the horrors that children and adults were facing when working in these factories, mills, mines, and hell holes no person should work, especially when not paid enough provide for themselves, let alone family.

With all of these children now roaming the streets because they can no longer work, many became bandits. Characters such as Finnegan in Charles Dicken’s classic, Oliver Twist, were real. Gangs were just a big a problem then as they are now. Then someone had the idea to create a place, where children would be sequestered for eight hours a day, taught basic reading, writing, and arithmetic while sitting at an idle station. The public school system began, and with it, they began to train next generations factory workers. We want to romanticize American history, as all countries do as they grow, but before World War II the middle class had not exploded, so economic mobility was not yet a consideration, through traditional means.

Which is why crime is always prese the when there is great poverty. People do not commit crime for fun. It is hard for people that have never gone without to understand the lengths people will go to provide. Crime pays. If it didn’t it would not exist. The creation of public school may have solved the problem of packs of wild children running the street, but there was the problem of teenagers. Young strapping boys and capable girls taking the jobs their parents would be paid more, and given bonuses. In order for that to happen, teenage children needed a place to congregate for eight hours daily. The parents got their jobs back and high-school was born. The people that argue how bad socialism has ruined our country, and the pinko’s ruined the capitalist system by convincing the government companies should pay overtime, provide insurance, vacation time, and in those days retirement.

Our public educational system would not exist if our government did not have the flexibility and courage to utilize the better ideas of any system to ensure our country prospers. I believe our capitalist system is a great foundation for economics, and our Constitution is the ideal document to establish a government. As always in America, things boil down to economics, as a honey brown fellow, I grew up in private school and have no horror stories of ghetto shoot outs or parental drug abuse which forced me to do my homework by candlelight because the utility money was smoked up. I mention it because, education existed, organized institutions of education existed for thousands of years, our public education system is the first in many centuries. The problem is economic, it needs a dramatic change, from text books, desks, class room construction, and please get rid of standardized tests. Let’s not pretend everyone in America cares about those suffering or just above poverty.

It was outrageous to blame the financial crisis on poor people, but who better, they can’t defend themselves, and thanks to our public education system many of them are trapped in a cycle of poverty. I had a valedictorian graduate in my district, yet when she enrolled at the local community college, she found she had to take the remedial courses. That is reality. I found so many things wrong in that situation, why is a valedictorian going to a community college? In my experience they attend the best University they can afford or one which provides financial aid. When she was forced into remedial classes, they blamed it on her. The public education system has become a self serving ecosystem, and the children’s best interest were never why the system fails to do what we need it to do educate. The city grew up in had thirty different superintendents in thirty one years, and each one with a plan to save education. Like the story above, if a system keeps changing direction, yet the education never improves, than what is the true purpose to change? Its always money. This is just the surface. There is so much more to discuss.

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