Sunday, September 19, 2021
HomeGeneral ThoughtsA Teacher's View on The Problems with High School Education

A Teacher’s View on The Problems with High School Education

I have started, and stopped, writing this on multiple occasions. I have mostly been concerned about getting doxxed by nutcases like Jim Acosta, terrorists, and spirit cookers (lol—short story, but not for sharing) and having my views known to my colleagues; ostracization would occur. 

But then I saw Trump’s speech to Young Americans and was ashamed about being fearful; I took #TakeTheOath today and I am proud of my beliefs.

So, me:  I have taught high school in Southern California for 24 years.  I have taught mostly World History and Government/Economics, and to a lesser degree policy debate and Information and Communications Tech (given my degree in Instructional Technology/Online Learning and Web Developing experience). 

I have never been a liberal, and always considered myself an independent, that would thoughtfully choose the best candidate—I rarely liked my choices.  I am actually a 3rd generation teacher, all from SoCal and none of them liberal.  Though I have been awake and distrusting of the media and politicians since the era of JournoList, I was not Q-wakened until forced home in March and really had time to delve.

Education is starting to take a lot of flak, rightfully so in my opinion, but I do want to make some things clear.  First let us dispel the “those that can do, those that can’t teach” myth.  Anyone that says that is, quite frankly, completely full of shit and has clearly not spent (at minimum) three weeks of dealing with 200 hormonal teenagers a day.  There are of course other duties, but I want this to be informative, not defensive. **Class sizes are “capped” at 42 because the Fire Marshall allows them to use hallway space in the class size formula.

Truth:  I am in a very liberal area of a very liberal (bonkers) state and my school’s teaching staff is about 80—90% dye-in-the-wool liberal and very vocal in regard to their political opinions, as leftist views are considered the “right ones.”  Teachers and/or Administration generally grab on to any virtue signal movements of the moment (David Hogg inspired rally vs. guns, GSA, etc).  the remaining 10% of the staff, as you can imagine, keep a low profile.

Do teachers try to influence their student’s political and cultural ideology?  You bet your ass they do; at least a large majority does.  More than a few times, in Government, I have had to try to talk students down from the “Republicans and Democrats have switched ideological sides since the Civil War” narrative.  I have seen a teacher use Mother Jones as a primary source while touting “objectivity” because it was “balanced” by a NYT article.  If asked, they would claim complete objectivity in the sphere of politics; students and parents would tell another story. 

After 2016, all pretense of objectivity was thrown out—I even heard one colleague say “I’m not even going to pretend this year, if any of those little Nazi conservatives speak out, I’m going to put them in their place”.  

I have encountered many parents over the years that would express to me experiences of teachers that would marginalize their kids if they expressed any conservative views.  Perhaps the student would be moved off to the side, or would not be called on in class, or the teacher would use disdainful body language towards the student. 

My philosophy has always been that students should not know my political ideologies until the end of the year.  I do always get asked, but my refrain is “ask me in June”.  During the year I would not disclose and always tried to present information in an unbiased manner. 

This is not an easy task, but essential.  I have always utilized the Socratic method and it is quite useful to get kids to research their opinions.  If you were to run into one of my ex-students and ask what was the one thing I drilled into them to always remember it would be: “Always read/view/listen to everything you can get your hands on, know both sides of the argument, and decide for yourself; don’t’ let anyone tell what to think, not even me.”  

The Problem:  In a nutshell, [they] do to teachers what they do to everyone else.  Namely, keep teachers so busy that they do not have much time to stop and “see”.  For the teachers that do “see,” there is no incentive to speak out, for it would gain nothing at a great personal cost. 

An example of a sort:  One teacher told his class that Trump’s economic policies were working—he was called to the office because he was accused by a student of being a racist. 

Busy work example:  Nearly every week we will be drilled with the newest and shiniest “teaching methodology”, complete with the newest buzzwords, that we are expected to implement ASAP.  This could range from technology apps, to techniques like a Socratic seminar, or Document Based Questions (DBQ), or even a lecture on how we, as teachers should openly share our intellectual property (while expecting us to pay for apps). Teachers go through a yearlong evaluation process every other year so the likelihood of being expected to implement is pretty high. 

Publishers:  The DBQ leads to the next issue, the choke hold of Publishers.  The DBQs we use are provided from a program of the districts choosing, and we are expected to use those.  Teachers may create their own (and I have) but the time factor mostly discourages this.

Teachers chose new textbooks in Social Studies last year (the third time in my career); allow me to explain how that went down.  Every high school social studies teacher met at the district office one day and, in our respective subject matters, poured over six choices for a new textbook.  Our goal was to eliminate half and send just one teacher (from each subject matter from each of 5 high schools) to make the final choice. 

Well, we eliminated the “wrong” one, so when we sent just the one teacher to the second meeting, the district had that one publisher come in and convince those teachers to choose the book already eliminated.  In other words, a complete waste of time because the district had obviously already made the choice.

The textbook:  Q was absolutely right when he/she referenced how textbooks have changed over the years.  For example, in the new books, it actually distinguishes between socialism, communism, and “extreme” communism.  Only the latter is described with any kind of disdain and uses North Korea as the only example (are you surprised?).  It really goes out of the way to paint communism and socialism in a positive light.  I find this in World History, Government, and Economics textbooks.  Needless to say, I skip over much of this and teach with my own materials.

Unions:  Teachers are the only Professionals that I can think of that has a union—making us labor, not professionals.  I am not a fan of the union as I do not feel they look out for me at all (ask me about my hearing aids), nor do they support the politicians I would choose.  Naturally, there are those that can milk the system for obscene retirement benefits, we have all read about them.  To my knowledge, I have never met a classroom teacher of whom that could be said.  

Why not let a free market and supply and demand work out the pay + benefits for teachers?  Would it even need safeguards?  If pay + benefits got too low, people would stop teaching as the cost-benefit of paying for the required education would be too great.  Why shouldn’t star teachers earn star pay?  Why should terrible teachers enjoy undeserved pay?  School Districts generally only give you 10 years or so of longevity credit which discourages (along with tenure) teachers from moving around much once they get to a certain level of the pay scale—simply costs too much.  I do not have the answers, only questions, but it needs thought.

How $$$ is made in Education:  There are various ways to make money from the educational system.  One is, become an educational consultant.  Districts pay good money for consultants to come in to “train” their staff in the newest buzzwords/techniques.  

As you may know, Education goes through MAJOR structural changes about every 8 years.  These changes are due to Acts like No Child Left Behind and Common Core, and changes everything from testing, to Standards, to textbooks, to pedagogical theory—which changes and the language to describe it, which you then need to “train” teachers in.  As you may also be aware, these are really just the same two theories recycled over and over.  Common Core was not new, “self-discovery” math was being taught back in 1996.  So, it is that or test everyone’s ass off.  In my career I have seen more than a few recycled ideas.  People are actually paid to take old ideas and create entirely new “systems” and “practices” and “language” to describe it.  If you find a niche, or “know someone,” you can really milk the system.

Point 1 is, there are good, unbrainwashed, unwilling to indoctrinate, teachers out there.  They fly under the radar to survive, but they’re there.

Point 2 is, there is so much waste.  I have more…if there is an interest I will share.

I will not get into the consternation I am having about if I am doing more harm than good…my subject has so many wrongs in it, and it makes me feel betrayed.  History curriculum needs to get redpilled big time; it needs a truthful, unbiased curriculum.  Education needs to be Trump’d.  School choice is a good start, but all schools are held to state standards.  Bypass all the established “experts”, find new ones that know the truth and that have truly innovative ideas—I know President Trump can find them, he has with everything else!  WWG1WGA

–Madman6er. Follow Gen Z on ParlerGab, and Facebook

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