There are a few strange things among the many run of the mill events this September school beginning.
– Every year the district begins with a ‘convocation’ – all the schools come to the high school for speeches and a song or two. The speeches are dry, some are borderline embarrassing and some are halfway decent.
– This year we have a new plan! This has been the way of schools since the 1980’s with the release of ‘A Nation at Risk‘. Actually, it predates that as the Soviet Sputnik launch launched the USA into the space race, and the nation produced innovators and math / science gurus. Apparently that intelligent a populace created a problem, so now we study critical lens essays, diversity, global warming (climate change – which one?), social justice and other non subjects that demand no rigor whatsoever.
– The ‘culture of poverty’ is back. Despite being wealthier and having accoutrements that would make the sultans of the past drool, we have been re-inroduced to poverty being an excuse for lack of academic rigor and performance. This old saw has been trotted back out despite the higher ups admitting that all of our students have smartphones (these are the cheapest I could find), and the irrefutable evidence of high dollar sneakers protecting the feet of our downtrodden charges.
– A public school is a progressive, Democrat / Liberal place. Despite the Left’s classic hatred for church and religion, our district thanks God often during these convocations, and speeches abound with faith based sayings and speeches. I like it because I think communities should have control over their schools, and ours has many churches, but mainly because none of the political Liberals have the guts to take on the black pastors and churchgoers. These (usually white) Liberals go bananas about separation of church and state when it comes to the (almost exclusively white) religious right, but are mute in a district like mine. It is enjoyable to watch as the citizens of the district are speaking freely about God – and no one says anything.
– As one goes through teacher training in Education School and hours of teacher training, we learn that top down strategies are bad and student driven strategies are good. If this is the case, why is the State, the same institution that has run the Education Train off the rails, coming up with a one size fits all top down solution?