GUEST COLUMN
Why Public Schools Have Become Circuses

June 1994By Barbara C. Blossom

Barbara C. Blossom, who lives in New York State, has taught in public junior and senior high schools for over 13 years.

Almost everyone who ventures a remedy to the poor performance of our public schools declares that improvement will start only after we upgrade teacher training and pay. Few would dispute that, but anyone close to the situation knows that poor teaching is just a small factor contributing to those low test scores. We already have many good teachers, but even they are generating inadequate graduates. Why?

A major cause of under-educated high school graduates is the school milieu of recent decades. Restraints imposed on disciplinary action, parental complaints about "too much homework" or unfair treatment of their child, student disrespect for au­thority and reluctance to do anything that doesn't amuse, students' vociferous emphasis on their rights, and the schools' fears of being sued are formidable deterrents to leaning. To that add guns and drugs in schools, mind-numbing television after school, parents (or parent) with little time or courage to demand accountability, and you may understand what teach­ers are up against. Anyone familiar with the inside of today's schools can tell you that teachers are seldom the main cause of student ignorance.

Teachers spend more time in the presence of children and teens than anyone else. They're often less shocked by what they see and hear than the rest of the populace would be. But, increasingly, the actions and words of a large portion of the student population stun teachers. Conversations about drug experiences, alcoholic orgies, promiscuous sexual be­havior, and thefts are heard daily. The language is profane and raunchy. The tone is completely amoral. No attempt is made to ensure that teachers aren't within earshot. It's frightening. These students, not surprisingly, tend to cluster in lower academic levels, but many of those higher on the scale also reflect troubles in our society.

Schools started the downward slide in the Woodstock era when freedom and individual rights became the cries of the day. A bandwagon was created and almost everyone scrambled for seats. Some schools handed out booklets informing students of their rights, as interpreted in the ethos of the times. Many schools gave in to student demands indiscrimi­nately, essentially abdicating all authority and responsibility for the products they turned out. No one stopped to think that a bandwagon's destination is the circus.


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Back to June 1994 Issue

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Its the Curriculum, Stupids.... Posted by: cmoebest@sbcglobal.net
February 09, 2007 01:42 PM EST
It's more that just the curriculum. It's the parents whose ignorance is astounding in that they allow the curriculum to stand as is. Posted by: gespin3549
February 09, 2007 05:27 PM EST
When God is effaced from the public school system, every student is now god in their own mind. Further, the students are not taught to recognize legitimate authority either at home or at school.

Reality itself is denied within the walls of these temples of the state. I actually had an Albuquerque Public School principal tell me in so many words that if a student doesn't relize that he's hurting someone, then he really isn't! Relativism and nihilism is rampant in public schools.

To say it is a circus is putting it mildly. It's more like an insane asylum.
Posted by: Hammer of Heretics
February 10, 2007 05:38 PM EST
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