Old schools offer more than nostalgia
April 11, 2011
Since Ms. Loberg (parent and teacher) asked me a question about my nostalgic letter defining my elementary school experience – first I’ll answer her direct question: “Do I think it is right to educate our students using the standards of 80 years ago, or should we prepare them for what the world will be 20 years from now?”
The answer is simply YES! Because simply, the current government school standards are lacking, our government run schools are failing and I don’t think there is a teacher in the NEA who can predict what the world is going to be like 20 years from now – nor can I. Perhaps trying to see into the future is getting in the way of teaching.
Please note that Ms. Loberg raised the question of “taxes” although I made no mention of taxes. So I’ll try to explain my answer while addressing taxes as well. Let’s compare my school with today’s government schools:
∞ Then, 30 to 35 kids per class (two grades – one teacher). Today 17 per class – same grade. Thus, using the old math – twice as many teachers per student – half the class size. Besides higher taxes … what has that brought us?
∞ Then, no teacher retirement benefits except what they saved/invested. Today a teacher can contribute 8 percent (taxpayers 92 percent) and retire at age 55 with 75 percent to 80 percent of their highest salary – for life! Besides higher taxes … what has that brought us?
∞ Then, no computers. Today, at least one room full of computers. Besides higher taxes … what has that brought us … besides kids who can’t spell nor make change without an electronic aid.
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∞ Then, report cards on the last day of the term. Today, teachers object to any meaningful measurements and shun testing.
∞ Then, a bad teacher lasted one year. Today, nearly impossible to fire a bad teacher.
∞ Then, reading, writing, math, geography, music, gym and sports – period. Today, extra charges for music, gym and sports while reading, writing and math scores decline.
∞ Then, no politics in school. Today, let’s be good little liberals … teacher unions being the single biggest PAC supporting the Democrat Party.
What have all of these new modern standards brought us – a provable steady decline in our education position in the industrialized world. About two-thirds of our kids aren’t at grade level in math and reading.
Ms. Loberg stated that I didn’t acknowledge the sacrifice that taxpayers made for me – so I hesitate to point out that whereas teachers/government workers are net tax takers, I (grandparent and engineer) and all who don’t work for government, are net taxpayers – in my case for at least 60 years and still paying. Let’s bring back some of those 80-year-old standards to help the school district find ways to keep elementary schools in every town.
Winter Park Highlands