What’s Really Wrong with Public Education?
The MACE Mantra is Rock-solid Law, and All So-called “Educational Reformers” (whether they are Billionaires Bill Gates and Eli Broad or their Acololytes like Arne Duncan and Michelle Rhee or Governors like Nathan Deal or Superintendents like Atlanta’s Meria Carstarphen or Politicians like Jeb Bush) are Total Frauds and Charlatans about Public Education or Simply Don’t Know Shit from Shinola when it Comes to Public Education.
By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD
You cannot have good learning conditions until you first have good teaching conditions. The MACE Mantra. This is the law (principle of action) of teaching and learning. The reason that all (yes, ALL) so-called “school reform” efforts fail (and they ALL fail miserably) is because politicians and educrats are pitifully ignorant of this law…or for political expediency choose to ignore this law. But, it is a law like the law of gravity or the second law of thermodynamics. Laws are inexorable, and if you ignore laws, you do so at your own peril.
This has been the MACE Mantra since MACE was founded in 1995. In fact, this statement, with a little more embellishment, was bluntly stated in the first issue of The Teacher’s Advocate! magazine in 1995. We also railed against the worshipping of the false gods of public education, the standardized tests. All so-called “school reform” efforts have failed…for over 100 years. ALL. Over 100 years of abject failure. And they are ALL doomed to fail until the politicians and educrats understand and respect this law (principle of action) of teaching and learning.
Teachers are not the blame for the woes in public education. The rank lack of support and respect for the teachers is the problem. The fact that teachers are no longer allowed to control their own classroom is the problem. Teachers are told what to teach, when to teach, and how to teach. We have a culture of snoopervision. Angry, abusive, petty, myopic, and petulant administrators engage in a sickening minutia of snoopervision of the teachers when the truth of the matter is that the administrator needs to get the hell of the teacher’s classroom and simply get out of the way. Day after day, we have calls and visits from teachers whose students, by all measurements, are doing very well and much higher than the state average on the statewide exams. But, the insecure and, quite frankly, the crazy-ass administrators continue to breathe down the teachers’ necks, driving the creative and self-motivated teachers to simply leave this noble profession.
I received a call just the other day from a first-rate, top-tier teacher (in fact, Teacher of the Year last year) in a small school system in middle Georgia. This school system should be grateful for this teacher teaching in this rural county, but the first year principal seems determined to find anything wrong with the teacher – maybe his daily goals written on the board were not in sufficient detail or he didn’t outline in enough detail in his daily lesson plans which activities the students would be working on. This is an experienced teacher with years of successful performance. The students love him and so do the parents. Ahhhh. This must be the problem. This young, first-year whippersnapper principal has to bring this popular teacher down a notch or two. This popular teacher just by his presence apparently makes this insecure principal nervous. He wants to shine more but this popular teacher is apparently taking some of his shine, so thinks the principal. So, he evidently thinks, “Let me get his ass on the evaluation process.” So, the principal proceeds to attempt to torment the teacher. We see it all the time. The Teacher Keys Effectiveness System (TKES) is the evaluation tool that so many small-minded and ignorant administrators use in a manipulative, retributive, and punitive manner to wreak havoc and stress on any teacher whom they do not like or whom they are nervous around. This is what I see going on in this instant case of which I speak. Right in the heart of Georgia. More bullshit from ignorant-ass administrators who need to simply shut up and get the hell out the teachers’ way. Let the teachers teach!
So, what really are the true problems in public education? First, the angry and abusive administrators are huge problems. They simply need to support the teachers when it comes to classroom discipline. They need to follow through on sure and significant disciplinary measures against the students whose unruly behavior in the classrooms causes material and substantive disruption of the learning processes for those children who want to learn. Second, these defiant and disruptive students are ruining our public schools. They have to be dealt with by the administrators post haste. If they refuse to straighten up, then they have to be shipped out. They cannot remain in the regular school environment. The thugs have to be removed from the regular school environment. And, if they refuse to behave in an alternative school setting, the school boards simply have to expel these so-called students. Let the courts deal with them. Thirdly, the irate and irresponsible parents have to be dealt with firmly. Administrators cannot cower to crazy parents. They come to the schools raising hell and trying to blame anybody and everybody for their children’s academic failures and lack of proper decorum. But, when we see their railings and rankle, we see where their children get their behavior. Lastly, the systematic cheating on grades has to stop. We obviously know about systematic cheating on standardized tests (thanks to the Atlanta, DeKalb, and Dougherty school systems), but we are talking about forcing teachers to give students grades which they did not earn. We are talking about telling teachers that no students can receive less than a 60 or 70 on a semester grade. We are talking about forcing teachers to allow students to re-take exams or to turn in papers late. We are talking about using the dreaded TKES evaluation process to mark down a teacher because “the teacher fails too many students.” No, the students fail themselves. The teacher just records the grades. Systematic cheating on grades has become epidemic in Georgia and in America in the public schools.
So, in summary, if we really want to improve public education, we need to forget all of the shit that Bill Gates and his take-over (and this is what it is…a hostile take-over of the public schools) comrades and comlites (like Nathan Deal) are trying to force on the public. Their goal? It’s pretty obvious. Make as many schools to be labeled as “failures” so that this schools can be privatized. Bill Gates and Eli Broad are philanthropic vultures. Gates has shown that he will spend millions buying off opposition to his Common Core. These guys have played complete hardball to take over the public schools. It is their agenda that is driving everything in public schools now…whether it is making the students’ test scores account for 50% of teachers’ evaluation scores in Georgia or whether it is the U. S. State Department’s mandate that a state not only has to have this “merit pay” element in place but also has to have a provision of unlimited charter schools in the state, if that state wants to receive their share of the “bribe” of millions of dollars from the U. S. State Department.
Don’t let all of this “school reform” shit fool you. It’s not about “reform”; it’s about the money. If we really want to improve public schools in Georgia and in other states, then we need to deal with deal with (1) Angry & Abusive Administrators; (2) Defiant & Disruptive Students; (3) Irate & Irresponsible Parents; and (4) Systematic Cheating on Standardized Tests and Daily Grades. © MACE, 2016.