The Education Action Network

Taking Back America By Taking Back Our Schools

Big Government Back to school by Sam Sorbo

This country was founded on the principle that God endowed human beings with equal rights (under the law), which is different and distinct from equality. We all experience a wonderful opportunity and great blessing to live in a country designed to reward more on merit than any other in history, but we denigrate that incredible distinction by promising our youngsters equivalence.
Most of us understand why communism doesn’t work: because very few people will ever willingly agree to be (or admit to being) average. Strangely, we are unwittingly suckered into a similar lie, as advanced by our schools: the worship of a new god, Demos, i.e. democracy, or equality. Consequently, God and prayer have been forced out of schools, (so as not to confuse students.)

Our naive public school system promotes the lie of equality indiscriminately (pardon the pun,) although even a toddler knows how dishonest it is. In fact, young children thrive on discovering how people are different from each other, so this parity untruth simply brings them frustration. “If we are all alike, why does he have a Nintendo and I don’t, and why does she get candy in her lunch?” As parents, we are suckered into it, too. “Please refrain from putting candy in your child’s lunch.” “Everyone gets a trophy!” “No child left behind” translates to teaching to the lowest common denominator.

Do we really desire the bland landscape of equality and parity for our children, or do we want them to thrive, above and beyond other children, soar to heights only dreamt of, and excel far beyond the mean? Only political correctness, so entirely incorrect, dictates an answer in the negative there. Let’s face facts: we all want our own kids to sign lucrative contracts like Alex Rodriguez (with the ultimate pay-off: six-hundred homers, faster than anyone else, and a secured place in history,) or its “equal.” There, I said it, “equal.” We want equality, but we are not all A-Rod, and hoping for something doesn’t make it reality.

I recently visited an elementary school in Minnesota where kindergartners are all quipped with iPods, replete with the latest learning software. They also have “smart boards” (think large projection computers) in each classroom, and a mobile computer lab with 40 Mac notebooks to supplement their two stationary labs. Drooling, yet? I have to admit, I am jealous on behalf of my own kids, whose school is supposedly well above average, but doesn’t have these kinds of teaching aids. Two “good” public schools, with little parity between them.

The counterfeit equality buck doesn’t stop there, though. It’s ubiquitous. For instance, yesterday, a waitress commented, “If only my kids were as polite as you kids are!” My son, who is eight, answered her, (finger in the air for emphasis,) “Well, you have to make them say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ every time they want a drink.” He knows how it’s done, because he’s got me teaching him. Nobody else’s kids have me for a mom. Sigh. Is there no equality?

Uh… No! Equality is a pipe dream, a misnomer, a fraud. People who excel, break out, or overcome aren’t striving to be “just as good as the next guy.” They work hard, struggle and exert themselves to be better than.

Education is supposed to be the great equalizer: giving each young citizen access to achieve as much as he or she can dream, according to talent, drive, and initiative. Education offers hope, but only if it’s good. In a mind-boggling twist of irony, the blanket promise of equality is yanked from under the feet of our students. Surprise! Some people are just more “equal” than others. Because you were awarded a government-issued education, you are now below-average. Your schooling lacked a moral compass, competitive spirit and, of course, funding; and your parents didn’t have time or enough of an attention span to heed the abundant warnings and do something about it

One distinct tragedy here is the great sense of privilege that stems from a foolish conviction that we are all equal. A recent study of college students revealed that narcissism, characterized by an unfounded sense of entitlement, is on the rise. Unfortunately, the fact that our impressionable students are eventually convinced they are uniformly exceptional, regardless of effort or ability, only makes it harder for them when real life (and the government) cannot possibly deliver on the false promises; when they graduate from college, full of misguided, yet extravagant, expectations, and only find work at fast-food joints they bitterly complain are beneath them.

Another tragedy is the potential destruction of the parent-child relationship, brought on initially by a loss of control that parents experience when they rely on the school for the education of their kids. The (however imprudent) trust they have in the school system inspires a sense of freedom from responsibility. All the teachable moments then get lost in the shuffle of waffles and, “Get in the car!” and between baseball practice and dinner, because the parents’ focus is elsewhere. Homework, instead of being a joint effort in the glorious pursuit of an education, becomes a burden for the parent as well as the child, alienating them from each other further. At least they can all rejoice in the shiny golden trophy junior will certainly receive at some point during the school year.

WHY IT CAN’T BE FIXED

Regrettably, public school isn’t so broken that anyone will truly notice for a while, yet. It won’t be until this generation has matured into unfulfilling crap jobs in a failing super-power’s struggling economy, (without any understanding of fiscal responsibility,) that they will realize our extravagant mistake, and by then the damage may be irreparable.

The NEA was built on irrational sand. Our irresponsible, corrupt, misguided and self-serving government should not owe its citizenry an education, however disingenuous. (Who really wants that, anyway?) But we are owed value for our tax dollar, and if not, we should be entitled to a refund. Oops, did I just use the word entitled?

I would be a fool to sit here wringing my hands, sobbing, “They didn’t teach my son to balance a checkbook in school,” when it’s clear now the government can’t even balance its own. Sadly, I don’t trust the government anymore, certainly not with my most precious possession – my children and their education – my legacy. A healthy infusion of personal responsibility recommends I mobilize my own course of instruction for my kids. Private school could be an interesting choice, but it’s awfully expensive, especially since my tax dollars are already invested in the state’s version. School vouchers, a controversial subject to many in education, are an improvement, though they perpetuate government’s equality propaganda. Still, there is a strong lobby against vouchers – why? Because public educators follow Demos. “Everyone’s a winner!” (Meaning no one is – no opposition allowed.) Home schooling was outlawed recently in California, (but, happily, that was swiftly and loudly overturned by citizenry.) The powers that teach are afraid of do-it-yourselfers and the competition they bring to bear. Intriguing, because competition benefits consumers, (unlike the public education system.)

On the bright side, many have already brought school home, and they will surely be the ones to instruct their children how to balance a damn checkbook and rely on personal achievement instead of ingrained expectations of baseless and ultimately unsatisfying equality. When all the current governmental spending “comes home to roost,” those well-schooled children may, God-willing, find creative solutions for this great country and the vast economic devastation charged to them. If not, perhaps the mis-educated masses will be too stupid to notice or too bored by their own mediocrity to care.

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Comment by Harry Mathews on September 27, 2010 at 8:09am
Great article!

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