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Fenton Candle

Fenton Candle

Taking Back Our Schools - Student Style

A civilized student revolution is the place to start.

 

As the quality of our public schools and Universities plunge, the academic morons chant endlessly the three big lies; that the problem is the government doesn't provide enough money, classes are too large and, of course, the really big problem is the parents! They say if lazy parents would just teach their unruly children a little respect and discipline they would behave in school - riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

Most of you will probably agree that you can get away with a lot more at school than you can at home. If the blame can be laid at the feet of the parents it is only because they have allowed the schools to usurp their parental responsibility. Mychal Massie agreed that parents need to step up and take a larger role in managing their children's education when he said, "Not every public school is bad, and not every private school is good. I agree that, thanks to Jimmy Carter's creation of the Department of Education, we now have commissioned centers of agitprop, i.e., government schools that have taught state-sponsored liberalism and misinformation for nearly four decades. I still argue that this only takes place because parents have abdicated their responsibility for the education of their children." Amen.

In good faith, most parents have assumed the schools were in fact teaching their children the skills needed to go out into the world and function as responsible productive members of society. They believed in their hearts that the schools were teaching their children the same skills they were taught. Historically the foundation of K-12 education in the United States has been the three "Rs" - reading, writing and arithmetic (for this generation: that is an old tongue in cheek joke:  "reading, ‘riting & ‘rithmatic"). Unknown to most parents, these basics have been steadily supplanted in recent years with a "progressive curriculum" emphasizing social and political issues, with devastating results. The academic skills of the average American student has been seriously degraded. You students are the ones who have been shortchanged by the very people entrusted with your education.

 

Without a basic competency in reading, writing and ciphering it will be difficult for you to learn much of other subjects like geography, literature, political science, biology, or anything else, yet our schools continue to obsess on socio-political indoctrination at your expense. They have become propaganda mills rather than true centers of learning. They are much more interested in pushing their nanny-state political ideology and sexual values than teaching skills that will help you succeed in life. As American students continue a 40 year decline in academic achievement our schools continue to sacrifice real life skills on the altar of liberal ideology.

 

Outside of a few breakout schools providing exceptional schooling - schools producing students consistently ranking high internationally - the trend for several decades has been a decline in the scholastic ability of American students compared to foreign students. Our world ranking has dropped like a stone and yet we continue to graduate students lacking basic remedial skills.

 

American schools which once led the world have now fallen behind many third world institutions. Incredibly, the more time American students spend in public school the more they fall behind the rest of the world. As fourth graders, U.S. students rank in the top four or five countries in the world, but as they continue on through the system they fall farther and farther behind. By the time they graduate from high school their international ranking has dropped below another forty or fifty Countries. And this gap continues to widen right on into college.

 

The unabashed educational establishment has all but abolished teaching its charges the skills necessary to function as independent and productive members of society in favor socio-political indoctrination. Buzz words, talking points and sound-bites that promulgate liberal ideology have replaced the traditional curriculum.

 

Take "diversity", the new uber-concept. The obsession with "diversity" is a perfect example of the institutional academic retardation rampant in today's public education system. If you attended a public school during the last ten years or are presently a student at most universities then you have been programmed like Pavlov's dogs to respond positively to this word. Teachers, professors, schools and universities boast endlessly of their commitment to "diversity". And now after being captive since early childhood to these academic lemmings, you know in your heart that diversity is "good", but is it always?

 

Look it up. Diversity literally means "different or varied". It implies a range of differences. Is a range of differences always a good thing?  Or can it sometimes prove an obstacle to success? Have you ever heard that too many cooks spoil the broth?

 

A diversity of elements in a metal alloy can give added strength or flexibility. On the other hand a diversity of elements in a metal alloy can also lead to structural weakness or too much rigidity. Exactly what influence the diversity of elements has on the alloy depends on what those "diverse" elements are and how they interact with each other. Just the fact that the elements are "diverse" has little or no bearing at all on the quality of the alloy.

 

A diversity of opinions in a political forum may lead to a strong consensus as well as an ideological impasse. On other occasions it can lead to chaos or anarchy. A diversity of political opinion can be desirable or make it impossible to forge a cohesive effort - again, depending on the nature of the diversity of the elements involved.

 

I seem to remember an ancient story of a great tower being built that was halted after a great deal of construction due to the chaos caused by the many different languages spoken by the workers. Communication became so difficult the entire project was abandoned. Apparently a diversity of languages was not a plus in the Babel construction industry.

 

Try an experiment - hold a pencil with one hand firmly gripping each end. Bend it until it breaks - not too difficult, huh? Now bundle as many of the same uniform size as you can comfortably hold and try it again. This time it will not be so easy.  If your bundle is sufficient you probably will not able to break it. One pencil is easy to destroy, but many together are strong enough to withstand the effort to break them because there is strength in unity.

 

Now take it one step further and bundle up a couple different size pencils, a piece of celery, a straw, two red vines, a dog turd and a breadstick and try to break it. That is a pretty diverse bundle and yet you can probably break it easily - Not much strength in that diversity.

 

Next, bundle a couple of different sized pencils, a piece of hard rubber hose, a plastic ruler, an iron rod and a steel rod (roughly the same dimensions as the original pencil) and try to break it. You will probably be unsuccessful because there is more than sufficient strength in this diversity.

 

So diversity by itself is neither good nor bad. It is nothing more than the definition of a range of differences. Allow me to repeat that for students who have been brainwashed into believing diversity in and of itself is a panacea: Diversity by itself is neither good nor bad. It is nothing more than the description of a range of differences. It is what that diversity brings to the process that defines its value.

 

"E Pluribus Unum" is our National Motto. It was adopted by our Founding Fathers in August 1776. The translation of this Latin phrase is, "Out of many, One".  It describes an action of many uniting into one. This profound concept celebrates the value of diversity as a source of strength when used as a foundation to forge unity because there is strength in unity and as a Nation we need to be strong to survive. Remember - one pencil is easy, but many together are strong and hard to break.

 

This bastardization of "diversity" is only one of the many political agendas promulgated by an educational establishment apparently aimed at molding students into good little political drones instead of teaching them to think for themselves. Independent thought begets diversity. Our public schools and universities are anything but diversified. Progressive political groupthink is pervasive. "Diversity" to them, really means anything non-conservative. Try challenging your teachers to define "diversity". Chances are, they will be unable to do so without using liberal talking points.

 

Surprisingly, the universities (our vaunted institutes of "higher learning") easily outstrip the K-12 public schools in their groupthink bias. If you think the media is leftist, check out the political affiliations of college instructors. In many of our most acclaimed universities the staff is overwhelmingly liberal. In some cases entire departments are staffed by admitted leftists (by now some of you sheep are seething by my use of the term "leftist". That is only because you have been conditioned to hear terms like "ultra right, right-wing nuts, religious far right", etc. as accurate, but corresponding terms describing the left are generally described as hate speech by academia. You have been taught to get angry at such talk - are you?). The point is, you are being proselyted more than educated.

 

As public school students you have not been exposed to a diversity of ideas. Regardless of instructor claims to the contrary, the academic ivory towers regularly censor social and political comments that disagree with their political agenda. A few universities have even gone as far as setting aside "free speech" areas as the only place on campus where certain subjects can be discussed (these are generally located in areas not likely to get much exposure for the participants). Did you get that? If you disagree with their politics they won't let you talk. Just recently a Professor at Central Connecticut State University called the campus police on a student who had fulfilled an assignment to discuss a "relevant issue in the media" because the student's topic was gun violence on campus and he had the temerity to suggest that if students with legal concealed carry permits were allowed to carry guns on campus many of the mass attacks could be stopped earlier. That evening the police summoned him to their office, listed the guns he owned and asked where they were (legally locked in a safe at his home twenty miles away). Apparently the Professor had filed a complaint with the campus police, stating that his presentation had "frightened some of the students! She actually called the police on a student for discussing an idea.

 

Evidently, the timid Professor is so emotionally opposed to the Second Amendment she was willing to ignore the First Amendment to shut him up. Whatever your take on the Second Amendment is, take a minute tonight and read the First Amendment to our Constitution. Then tell me how our Universities have arrived at campus censorship except in designated areas? Do our purveyors of diversity actually think they can decide whatyou can say, when you can say it and where you can say it! What convoluted rationalization did they employ to come up with this policy?

 

It didn't take much. I doubt if they have thought this unconstitutional policy through. They think so highly of themselves, they just know you dummies need to be told what to think and they are just the authorities to do it. Still, it is difficult to understand the immense pompous condescension of the educational establishment in modern times. A hundred years ago college educations were hard to come by and were enjoyed primarily by a tiny minority of the gifted or wealthy. To be a college professor in those days was quite an accomplishment. They were an elite cadre worthy of great respect, because only a relatively small segment of our population had the privilege of attending an institute of higher learning, let alone obtain a graduate degree. Fewer still were qualified to teach.

 

Today however, that is no longer the case. A college education is readily obtainable to most Americans. There are now millions of undergraduate degree holders and hundreds of thousands of citizens with Masters Degrees, Doctorates and their equivalents, yet our Professors still assume a delusional air of elitism and accomplishment as if they are more intelligent and accomplished than everybody else.

 

When your Professors pontificate try not to be too impressed. They may seem awfully smart to young students, but there is an old saying that should be kept in mind as you listen to their diatribes: "Them that can, do. Them that can't, teach".  There much truth in this. Think of it this way - would you rather go mountain climbing with someone who has real world experience or someone who has read a whole bunch of books about it?  Or would you rather fly with an experienced pilot or someone who has ‘studied' flying for years, but never actually sat in a pilot's seat?

 

Does your professor walk the walk as well as talk the talk? Does your Psychology Professor have a real viable private practice or do they just have one or two actual (student) clients? Has your Literature Instructor ever actually been published outside of the textbooks they authored (and force you to buy to pass their class)? How about your Journalism Professor - have they ever held a job in the real world practicing what they preach?  How many books have they sold to non-students? Have they ever regularly written for a newspaper or periodical? Has anybody outside of their classroom ever heard of them?

 

Does the person teaching you actually know by experience what it is like to function in the real world or simply tell others how to? If they do, count yourself fortunate. Academics often start their careers as student teachers and move on up within the hierarchy with limited experience outside the educational system. But, there is big difference in studying a subject and experiencing it - between thinking about what it might be like and actually having done it.

In too many cases the truth is these Bozos couldn't make a living in the real world. That is not to say all of them are worthless posers. I can think, (as you probably can) of a handful in my life that were undeniably intelligent and inspiring. I have known great teachers that had a profound influence upon my life, but the fact is they were a minority. Today they are even fewer and farther in between - you don't believe it? Try ‘Googling' "unqualified teachers", but you had better set aside some time because you are going to find numerous articles and studies from all across the Nation documenting the rampant incompetence among our public school teachers.

 

Our college and university instructors may be barely more proficient remedially than public school teachers, but they lack the ability to engage in real critical thinking. Like the dopey CCSU Professor, they feel deeply, but seem unable to think deeply. Their passions are conceptualized via buzz words and soundbites. More often than not our educational institutions are overwhelmingly staffed by ideological lemmings devoid of individual thought, but steeped in socialist groupthink, teachers who can't pass their own tests and professors that have never worked in the real world. Yet you spend more hours per day with them than you do with your own family.

 

Who do you think cares more about your education - your family or your school? Your educators don't. They are all about preserving their personal empire. Efforts to teach outside their ideological box are typically met by hostility from the ivory towers of academia. Those who disagree will find themselves censured or forced to leave and there isn't much chance of significant change in the near future. The teachers unions are among the most powerful in the Country. They are the tails that wag our political dogs. Their political influence is undeniable and like everything else it is about their own personal power and money.

 

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why the schools are so diligent at making sure you attend, but not so diligent about actually teaching you anything useful? They don't seem to care if you if learn anything, but they damn well want you in attendance every day. Year after year they continue to promote students into higher and higher grades even though they can't perform competently where they are - why?

 

Because our schools have become big business. Follow the money! They refuse to hold students too accountable lest too many become angry or discouraged and drop out of school. This prospect is horrifying, but not because they are concerned with the student's ability to function productively in society - it's about money. The government pays each school a specified amount of money, per student for each day attended. Got that? Every morning when you show up for roll call the school cash box chings another deposit. You are their golden goose. Without you they cannot support their cumbersome, overburdened system. That is why they want you there every day. They want the money.

 

That is also the reason for their vehement hatred of Home Schooling and Charter Schools. It is the basis of their opposition to school vouchers. They can't stand any competition. Both Home Schoolers and Charter School students routinely outperform their public school counterparts. Public school student academic competence is embarrassing when juxtaposed with the non-public school students. It is not even a close contest. The public schools receive an obscene of amount taxpayer dollars, their unions and lobbyists wield incredible political influence and they enjoy the full support of the media, yet the majority cannot hold a candle to Mom teaching across the kitchen table from an old book.

 

Even with all that money too many public schools are dirty, violent, shabby facilities. They suffer with dilapidated buildings, old athletic equipment, not enough books, antiquated technology, unqualified teachers - but the Superintendents always seem to get their moolah. There are almost four dozen Superintendents in the State of California alone, who earn more money per year than the Vice President of the United States! Somehow they can't quite figure out how to budget billions and billions of dollars well enough to make sure there are enough books to go around, but they can sure make certain they get their "vig" off each student that shows up for class. Did you catch that? Your Superintendent gets a portion of the daily stipend from the State for each student's attendance. Some get as much as forty dollars per student per day. Multiply that by the number of students in your school district and you can understand their huge incomes. Your Superintendent wants you in class because he/she gets a "commission" on it! Every morning when you answer roll call another slice of taxpayer dollars gets added to the Super's paycheck.

 

Your school maybe old and beat up, but you can bet your District Superintendent's house is big, beautiful and up to date. Check it out!

 

If the posers who run our educational system really believe in it, why do so many teachers, administrators and politicians opt to put their children in private schools? Because they care deeply how their own children turn out. They understandably want the best for them. As for the rest of us?- public schools are just fine - as long as we show up and they get their money.

 

The administrators of our public schools know the score. They are perfectly aware that recipients of graduate degrees in education have GPAs and personal test score averages lower than most other graduate programs. Some are certainly the ‘best and brightest', but unfortunately these may be the exceptions that prove the rule. Teachers and professors are more likely to be mediocre seekers of security and status in a non-threatening environment rather than shakers and movers willing to risk much to accomplish much.

 

This explains their pathological lack of creativity. It is why they parrot each other politically. Don't be intimidated. Think independently and don't be afraid to debate them. With a little preparation you can resist the groupthink and make up your own mind. A little knowledge will beat the hell out of a lot of propaganda. Don't think it will be easy. They have the power. They will try to shut you up or make you go away. They want you to get in line and conform to their ideology. If you do think independently they will attempt to ridicule you into silence. That is their primary tool. But, if that doesn't work they will try, as at CCSU, to enforce their will using the legal system.

 

Be strong. Argue with them when they indoctrinate. The last thing they want is to incorporate a diversity of thought - they have to be the authority. You see, if you think outside their socio-political box you may prove them wrong. Since their hubris is founded on their belief that you are not qualified to make your own decisions - they need to be right in order to keep their power over you. They will go to great lengths to maintain this delusion.

 

But, the winds of change are blowing. The toothpaste is out of the tube. The general public is universally unhappy with the state of our public schools. For now the educators retain a death lock on the politics of education, but that grip is losing its strength. The people are demanding accountability and change - real and effective change for the better. Every day more and more students abandon public education for Charter schools and home schooling. Others move to better districts. The pressure to provide school vouchers substantial enough to subsidize non-public education is increasing. The ability to freely choose between schools is another option being sought by parents across the Nation. All of which threaten the rotten-to-the-roots tyranny of the public school system. The pressure is building. Keep it up. A couple more good whiffs and the whole corrupt system is going to start coming come down.

 

They can obfuscate by blaming a lack of funds, class size or your parents, but the truth is these problems can be laid squarely at the feet of those we have trusted to educate us. They have more than enough money now. All they need is to budget responsibly by spending that money on the students and facilities - not the administration. Granted, smaller classes may be better and increased parental involvement is necessary. But the root of the problem is the politically driven agenda carried out by inept administrators and unqualified instructors bent on accumulating ever more money and power at your expense. Some of the very top schools in the Nation have overcrowded classrooms and are located in some of the poorest school districts, proving daily that although these issues need to be addressed they are not the cause of our public school demise. They are only red herrings employed to demand more money and increased power.

 

The good news is - change is coming. Parents are catching on and the pressure is building. Still, it will take a long, concerted effort to change this monopoly. Its proponents are deeply entrenched and will fight to the death to keep their status quo. They have the most powerful lobby in the Country. They have strong political support and media backing, but we can do it. Next time you go to the polls, cast your ballot on educational issues against anything supported by the educational establishment. Elect people to your school board from outside the system. Vote against captive politicians supporting the "educators". Report unqualified teachers and administrators abusing their power. Tell your parents when they force their views on you and write your political representatives and demand a complete overhaul of our public schools and universities.

 

Most important, fight them from the inside. Don't sit passively and allow them to peddle their socialist dogma and politically correct values. Stand up for your beliefs. Be firm in your convictions. Seek outside sources of information and know of what you speak. Pit your knowledge against their emotion. Don't be contentious or resort to acrimony even when they do. Be honest, articulate and respectful, but don't back down. If you stay calm while you disagree it will drive them crazy.

 

Now be good students and go to school and argue with your teachers.

 

About the Author

B D Fenton is a freelance writer living in Southern California

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