Friday, May 19, 2006

Caretakers of the Calamity

The appointment of local homeschooler Kay Brooks to the Metro Nashville school board has resulted in the consumption of much ink and bandwidth over the last few days. Bill Hobbs, Nathan Moore, and Mark Rose have written valiantly in Brooks' defense. As they have numerous links to the various sides in the debate, I will not try to replicate their work

I would only add one general observation to what these have said. The public school system, particularly as it exists in large urban areas such as Nashville, stands as perhaps the most serious societal failure in modern western civilization. Indeed, it fails the most in its responsibilities toward those who need it the most. Yet, the more evident the failure is seen, the more determined its leaders become to resist innovation or involvement by those who have not been part of this failure.

I don't know enough about Brooks to know if she has the right ideas for improvement. It is quite apparent that the establishment responsible for and defensive of this enormous failure is not worthy of our support.


Blogger Donna Locke said...

One thing folks have to keep in mind: local school boards can't change the federal and state rules that schools and teachers must follow. Among other things, teachers deal with a load of paperwork because of these rules, which interfere with and impede actual instruction.

And no school board can wave a magic wand over societal breakdown. These school boards should talk with current and recently retired teachers and find out why so many teachers have quit or plan to quit in frustration and disgust. No doubt many on these boards are ignorant of the dangerous conditions in which our teachers serve today. I know teachers in a "nice' Atlanta suburb who were permanently injured by elementary, including kindergarten, students.

We will have to establish more alternative schools for the kids whose presence is a danger or other disruption to the educational process. Good luck staffing those.

2:18 PM  
Blogger MCO said...

Donna, all of your points are well taken, and you are right that many teachers who have recently retired or left the profession and other local public school leaders who have attempted to turn the tide would have much helpful to say.

The difficulty is that the current schools establishment does not want to hear it. At local, state, and national levels, teachers unions and other stakeholder groups fight the battle for the status quo. These groups display more interest in protecting their turf than in innovation that would give kids a better chance to learn.

4:07 PM  

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