Honor Roll Doesn’t Mean Children Are Learning

I’m posting this column from one of my favorite conservative columnists on the internet. I enjoy reading Mychal Massie’s Daily Rant because he speaks the truth without making any apologies for what he says. Read on!

I have long held that American children are academically dumb and getting dumber, and I’ve held that the reasons for same are the intrusion of the federal government into our education system, illiterate teachers full of elaborate teaching methods that do not work, and parents.

Parents do not like to hear that their children aren’t getting a marketable education. It is easier to live in denial than face the reality that their children are being poorly educated, despite a stint or two on the honor roll. I hate to be the skunk at the picnic, but more times than not, it does not mean your child has learned anything substantive. Plus, I am unapologetic in my condemnation of parents who do not provide consistent learning environments for their children. Children are the future of our nation.

So-called educators have gone to great lengths to dumb down the children of America, and most parents don’t give a rat’s tail about it as long as they can say their child made the honor roll. But my position is that making the honor roll in most public schools means less than nothing. It, at best, means little if the parents aren’t providing a consistent learning environment outside of the classroom.

With the above-referenced always in my mind, this morning the first news that caught my attention was an article written by Kala Rama “Passing Score Lowered For FCAT Writing Exam” in Florida. (http://www.clickorlando.com/news/Passing-score-lowered-for-FCAT-Writing-exam/-/1637132/13396234/-/k1ckc2z/-/index.html) Rama reported: “The Board of Education decided in an emergency meeting Tuesday to lower the passing grade on the writing portion of Florida’s standardized test after preliminary results showed a drastic drop in student passing scores.”

FCAT is the acronym for Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test exam. Rather than being resolved to the expectation that children are in school to learn and those charged with ensuring that happens are teachers–Florida, like many other school systems, found it easier to lower the requisites for passing.

I would hope that it is glaringly obvious that lowering the score needed to pass an exam does not increase the students‘ learning capacity. Parents need to understand that. A poorly educated child who has been the beneficiary of lowered expectations and lowered grades necessary for passing may graduate from high school on the honor roll–but then what? What will the child do with their “I graduated on the honor roll, and I’m going to college, graduate and get a good job.”

The truth, however, is must less optimistic. They may graduate from college, but it won’t be with the requisite marketable employment skills to even give them a chance of landing a high-paying good job. They will, however, leave college in debt from student loans, and with an education that hasn’t prepared them for the future.

It is a variant form of socialism that believes lowering scores required for passing gives everyone a better opportunity to succeed. What it does, in reality, is ensure that there will be another generation of unemployed and underemployed.

In 2003, I wrote “No Foundations, No Future” in which I addressed this very problem. I wrote:

“In Florida, minority students are accepted into college, but are unable to pass the multiple choiceFCAT test that requires only a 40 percent score and can be taken five times to pass.”

In Pennsylvania, between one-third and one-half of prospective math and science teachers failed their certification tests. About one-third of applicants flunked special-education certification. Nearly 50 percent of prospective Spanish teachers failed their tests. More than one-third of the applicants failed both the pre-professional skills test in writing and social studies. On the “content knowledge” portion of the math test, 43 percent of the teachers failed. (Jane Elizabeth /John M.R. Bull, Post-Gazette – “Up to half of teacher candidates failing tests,” Jan. 17, 2002)

In Illinois, 5,243 teachers failed key exams. The New York Times asked the question: “What to do about [New York] teachers who chronically fail their certification exams? Some in New York have failed 10 times – 3,000 have never passed.”

Parents may not like what I am saying, but the truth is my defense. It doesn’t take money to ensure children are educated; it takes commitment from the parents and teachers. My family set the bar high when it came toeducation, and the expectations that my cousins and I would achieve and exceed them were as much an absolute as sunshine. My teachers didn’t care about our color–they cared that we learned. Our parents didn’t demand teachers of color, and diversity was the number of different books we read, not a color-coded faculty.

I’ve had conversations with editors who tell me how ill-equipped and unprepared many of the young people they interview are. I personally observe the lack of professional skills in young people today. Sadly, many parents today are more concerned about themselves than they are their children. And they are willing to turn to those who will validate (for a price) whatever excuse they feel will absolve them of guilt and/or responsibility.

Parents need to open their eyes and see what they are allowing to happen to their children. Many children today have no interest in learning, their interests lie in X-Box, the latest electronic gadget, worthless television programming, and the latest song. Unfortunately, that doesn’t ensure capable contributors to our free-market; it ensures that, at some point, we will see the further erosion of skilled employees.

I concluded the 2003 piece referenced above saying: “The foundations of America are being destroyed: A watered down, diluted god of convenience; moral decay within the family; poorly educated teachers andstudents; and a government that governs for the posterity of itself is – agree or not – the death knell of our nation.”

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