Armstrong Williams

There is very little meaning in things simply given away. America’s public education system has become the quintessence of that idea -- a “free” system that produces unprepared and overly entitled youths ill-equipped to advance America's future.

High-minded progressives see public education as something to be protected from private competition and the ravages of more innovative systems at home and abroad.

I spared teachers from my ire of my last column, but they are not without fault. For the most part, though, teachers are superseded by education reformers, especially on the right.

In public education, teachers are rarely specialists in their fields unless teaching is their second career. Typically, mathematicians do not teach trigonometry, nor do those with English degrees teach high school English. The vast majority of teachers are education majors with a subject matter certification.

An education degree confirms general knowledge of a broad range of topics. Thus the first page of Google hits for "biology" combined along with an informative Wikipedia article on the subject probably hold more knowledge than a typical high school biology teacher.

Education degrees often pay more attention to issues like integrating special needs kids, improving self esteem, and teaching to the lowest common denominator.

Furthermore, since public education teaching isn't very lucrative, the field is often occupied by low-quality teachers educated at inferior schools. After all, very few people would pay more money for schooling, earn less, and put up with all the garbage facing teachers these days if they could make big bucks as a computer programmer, lawyer, doctor, or venture capitalist?

Of course, there are plenty of smart, qualified, and exceptional teachers; but there is no denying the education brain drain is subject to higher earning potential in other fields.

Qualifier aside, the result of inadequately prepared educators is that the smart kids tend to go unchallenged and get bored, in turn they become a disruption and many are inadvertently tossed into the dustbin of “what might have been.”

So the generalist enters the unruly classroom focused on maintaining order and catering to less motivated kids over those with true potential. The teaching itself is geared toward learning how to answer standardized test questions over developing children’s understanding of the how and why.

Armstrong Williams

Armstrong Williams is a widely-syndicated columnist, CEO of the Graham Williams Group, and hosts the Armstrong Williams Show. He is the author of Reawakening Virtues.
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