Are Public Schools Doomed?

I’m a teacher (I bet you couldn’t tell from the Blog Title).  I recently have been thinking (always a dangerous situation).  Here’s what’s happened recently that got me to thinking:

  1. Read this Blog article. It’s older and every teacher has thought this, but more to come
  2. Virgina Tech… sigh
  3. Columbine Anniversary… in particular a CBS News story about the young lady who has a phobia from school.  When she was a sophomore, she was an honor student, cheerleader etc.  After the shooting, she dropped out, failed two years of college, and is trying to put her life back together.
  4. This local article – Good work Ms. Principle!!!!!!!!!!
  5. Finally, as a teacher, I get all kinds of requests to review things.  Recently, I was  asked to review a website that offered a complete curriculum for high school students on-line.  They had like 40 courses.  The science ones weren’t very complete.  However, every ‘lecture’ had Powerpoint presentations, movies, well drawn diagrams, practice problems, and a review test.  When combined with the new (hopefully) Texas law about end of year exams… this could be a pretty good program.

My Conclusion: Within ten years, everyone who can or wants to, will be educating their children on-line.  The programs (potentially) can be much more rigorous.  With a little effort, a parent could set-up the Playstation, cable TV, and internet to only work for educational use until all assignments for the say are complete.  It is safer for the children.

Public schools will become in reality what they are in effect now… babysitting.  When 20-70% of the students (at least in SE Texas) don’t want to learn, actively resist learning, do anything other than learning… schools can’t work.

Smart kids get bored because they learn, do the work and spend the other 40 minutes of class causing trouble.  The kids who don’t want to be there cause trouble the whole time.  And the teacher is too busy taking care of the discipline problem generated by these two groups to spend any time with the kids who need them to learn.  It’s very frustrating.

The great State of Texas seems to think that all students are equal.  So every child (who wants to graduate with more than a Minimum Diploma) will now have to take 4 sciences classes.  Don’t get me wrong, I love science.  But every kid cannot take 4 science classes.  Think about when you were in school.  Heck, when I was in school, they didn’t even offer you Chemistry unless you were college bound and obviously very intelligent.  At a local high school, every student takes Chemistry.  I had students that were in developmental math in Chemistry (that means that they probably can’t multiply two 2 digit numbers together).

Now, EVERY student will have to take Physics as well.  SAY WHAT!?!?!??!  So what happens?  The class gets so watered down that it might as well not be a class.  I can do more with fewer students, once a week, than I can with a full class 5 days a week.

When will everyone realize that every kid will not be a rocket scientist?

I once had a senior ask, “when I’m dividing, does the big number go in the calculator first or the little number?”  We all had to do it by hand.  Now kids need a calculator to multiply 4 x 10 together.  (It really happened.)

Sorry for the rant, but public schools are doomed.

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~ by OgreMkV on April 20, 2007.

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