By Dr. John Trotter and Norreese Haynes
We have written some strong, rough stuff in this book – stuff that no doubt will offend the fainthearted. In many respects, when we write, we intend to offend…because we think that it is offensive to allow a certain student population to be rude, disrespectful, and defiant toward their teachers. Not all students are like this but today a very sizeable population of students just shows no respect or decorum at all. They are downright rude and unruly. It is also very offensive for weak-kneed and yellow-belly school administrators to act cowardly vis-à-vis these defiant and disrespectful students (and their rude, demanding, and irate parents) and shuffle all of the responsibility of these irresponsible behaviors of these students (and their parents) onto the backs of the teachers. The teachers are simply used as Levitical scapegoats for all of the problems in American Public Education (APE).
You simply cannot have good learning conditions until you first have good teaching conditions – and you cannot have good teaching conditions as long as lazy, unmotivated, slothful, defiant, and disruptive students are allowed to remain in the regular classrooms. These so-called students need to be removed to a Non-learning Center (NLC) until they demonstrate a sincere desire to return to the regular classroom and conduct themselves properly.
While the above scenario is being acted out in the engine room or the underbelly of the educational ship, those influence peddlers (IPs) far from even the nice deck of the educational ship who have a desire to construct a nationwide, federalized, homogenized, and propagandized curriculum have disparate motivations for wanting this Common Crap Curriculum – some hoping that this nationwide curriculum can line their financial pockets and some hoping that they will be able to foist upon an unreceptive American population a leftward-titled curriculum. Remember how the History Standards were summarily and unanimously rejected and denounced by the U. S. Senate? Well, Common Core is the second bite at the apple. Common Core’s ideological roots can be traced back to Chicago and to the likes of former terrorist, Bill Ayers. Now for people like Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, we don’t ascribe an ideological push for Common Core, but a push which has to do with his foundation and money. Very seldom does one see the capitalistic winds and the socialistic winds blowing in the same direction to move the same boat. But, this is precisely what is happening now with Common Core.
Billionaires like Bill Gates and Eli Broad have anointed themselves as the saviors of public education, though they don’t know their asses from deep centerfield with it comes to APE. Gates and his wife Melinda are the two who are most responsible for Common Core being foisted on the States. We wrote quite a bit about this in this book. They pushed and panted and strategically planted millions of dollars throughout the country to get Common Core the needed traction. Of course, the curricula applications of Common Core will be largely generated by Microsoft for Pearson Education which will sell them to the various States (maximizing the monies for companies like Microsoft and Pearson Education as well as the scores of pilot companies which swim underneath these whales to feed off of the carnivorous crumbs in this curricula ocean). These whales are pushing hard for merit pay for teachers and unlimited charter schools. School “reform” to these new educational capitalists (or vulture philanthropists) usually represents some form of privatization of APE. Any attempt to transfer public school monies to the charter school or voucher plans is deemed to be effective school “reform.” In actuality, it is the effective denuding of public education, resulting in a dual system of haves and have nots. It is a not-so-subtle new form of segregation of public education.
The policymakers and educrats are afraid to confront head-on what the real problems are in public education, viz., (1) irate and irresponsible parents, (2) disrespectful, defiant, and disruptive students, (3) petty, angry, and abusive administrators, and (4) school system-directed systematic cheating on not just standardized tests but also on weekly tests and semester grades, just to name the more egregious problems. Until these concrete and egregious problems are confronted and dealt with, any talk about curriculum (like Common Core) is like pissing into a tsunami. You’re just going to end up with piss all over you. Does it really matter what the curriculum is if the students are stone-cold asleep, incessantly playing on their smart phones, or bouncing off the walls? Good grief. These educational morons need to wake up and smell the coffee. Their pitiable attempts to improve public education are like rearranging the deck chairs on the sinking Titanic.
Because the Gypsy Superintendents are either too dismally ignorant or too craven or too evil to even address the real plagues that are killing APE, they bark ignorant orders and act like tyrannical demigods. They recommend to the school boards little weasels as administrators. These booger-eatin’ administrators try to mimic their feckless leader with a similar top-down, heavy-handed management style which literally creates so much angst and stress in the lives of the classroom educators that they sometimes end up in the hospital with stress-related illnesses (heart attacks, chest pains, strokes, high blood pressure, and hair falling out in clumps and handfuls). But, these administrative bitches (males and females) keep up their dastardly deeds because they either actually think that this is what constitutes a good school leader or they don’t give a rat’s ass what it constitutes but only that it gets them promoted up the career ladder. It is their goal too to become an educational slut (appointed superintendent) so they can bounce from one school board bed to the next, bringing in the big bucks, power, and profile – despite losing their souls in the process.
These soulless self-promoters want to go from being a mere educational bitch to a livin’ large educational slut, using the school system’s American Express Card to travel around to different National Educational Slut Conferences ostensibly to find out the latest information, theory, or program to bring back to the school system to increase the test scores on the deified standardized tests but in reality to network among other national sluts in hope of finding a bigger school board bed (john) to jump in. This is a bigger scam than the national TV preachers demanding 10% of your hard-earn money under the threat of you going to hell. (Heck, they say that the money is going to the Lord, but they give the viewers their own personal address.) The so-called superintendent search firms and attorneys pimp these educational sluts because they get their cut too. It’s a shameful game. It’s an unconscionable racket. It’s a travesty and a joke foisted upon unsuspecting school board members and the public at large. It has to be stopped. But, too many of the well-connected are making money off this pimpified system of appointing school superintendents. They will fight like rabid hell-bound cats to keep this hoax in place. But, the People need to rise up and demand from their legislatures to change the laws so that the People can once again elect their superintendents – educators whom they know and have vetted locally.
In this book, we deigned to write five chapters on race, discussing this all-important topic in APE. Whereas most superintendents, educrats, and principals will deny that race matters in APE, they are unmitigated liars. It matters big time.
What also matters big time is a student’s natural capabilities (or as we say, their “gifts” or “talents”). Neither one of us happen to be blessed with a lot of mathematical “talent,” but we have other talents. In our public schools, it is simply politically incorrect to state that some students are more naturally talented in certain endeavors…yes, based on their DNA and genetic-makeup. And, on top of this, some students have actually been culturally conditioned to aspire to excellence in certain endeavors. We believe that there are several different types or strains of intelligence. There are multiple intelligences. But, American Public Education (APE) only focuses on (1) verbal-linguistic and (2) mathematical-analytical. We subscribe to the theory of Dr. Howard Gardner of the Harvard Graduate School of Education who delineates at least eight different types of intelligence. Usually, when someone has the temerity to suggest that DNA and genetic-makeup influence a student’s capabilities in certain endeavors, people get all nervous because they think that race – the all-forbidden topic – will come up. But, we don’t believe for a moment that race and/or ethnicity have anything to do with intelligence. We believe that it transcends race and ethnicity. Saying that it is race-neutral does not mean that it is DNA and genetic-makeup neutral. It does matter what kind of genes (= capabilities) that a student has when the student aspires to master a certain endeavor.
Some of us are very capable in verbal pursuits, math problems (not us!), artistic projects, musical scores, mechanical craftsmanship, social-political interactions, etc. Usually, not every person is super-skilled in most or all of these endeavors. But, once every so often a Leonardo da Vinci comes along. But, just because a student has the great desire to be a great musical whiz does not mean that he or she will be the next Mozart or Ray Charles or Little Richard – or even Elvis or T. I., for that matter. These guys were/are musical geniuses. A youngster can want to be the next great scientist, but he or she must also have the “scientific gene” to be on the level of Albert Einstein, George Washington Carver, Jonas Salk, or Madam Curie. By the way, Einstein was not a good traditional student in grade school but we know of his genius in science. Also, Churchill was not a good student at all until his parents finally sent him to military school where he excelled. His “military genes” kicked in, and we know the rest of the story.
We have mentioned Einstein, Carver, Salk, Curie, and Churchill. What about others who are considered “geniuses” in their particular field? Do you think that they were just as capable in every field in school – or are they just prolific in one or two fields? Einstein once reportedly stated: “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Think about geniuses like those above and other geniuses like Michaelangelo, Mahatma Gandhi, Michael Jackson, Tyler Perry, Nelson Mandela, Rembrandt, Malcolm X, Steven Speilberg, Maya Angelou, Shakespeare, Oprah, Spike Lee, Salvador Dali, Pele, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Husain Bolt, Snoop Dog, Michael Phelps, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, John Grisham, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Michael Jordan, Pistol Pete Maravich, and others. Do we think that these geniuses in certain endeavors are/were geniuses in all endeavors? Hardly. God gives different gifts to whom He chooses. Just as a person’s toenail has a distinct DNA pattern, he or she also has different and unique gifts or talents or capabilities. Humankind is a kaleidoscope. Enjoy it. Don’t ignore or suppress it.
Our gifts are varied and therefore the curriculum should be varied to fit and maximize the talents of the students. Trying to impose a one-size-fits all curriculum on the entire country is ludicrous. Trying to make all students to be college-bound (as Bill Gates has apparently famously claimed that he wants) is crazy and unconscionable. To push a student into a higher level of algebra (not even calculus or trig) when the student has demonstrated that he or she is not very apt or gifted in this subject area is ludicrous. Why do so? Just to make the student feel like a failure? The student is obviously not going to be an engineer or specialize in other ventures which will call for a grasp and understanding of a higher level of algebra. We need to totally rethink how we force students into taking courses which they have demonstrated that they are not so talented in. But, this is what happens with the homogenized curriculum for all, and this will be much, much worse with the Common Core Curriculum. This is like a country suffering under a command economy. The Soviet Union and its satellite countries showed that this does not work. Yes, Bill Gates is pushing like hell to get all of our 50 states to adopt the quintessential one-size-fits-all curriculum. Come to think of it, Comrade Bill comes across as the new Trotsky of American Public Education Curriculum (APEC). He is the Premier-in-Charge. It will not work. It will be an abject failure. It will run its course, resulting in an inexorable downward spiral until we hardly recognize locally-controlled public education.
Vocational and Technical Education (VTE) should return to secondary education with great fanfare, not tepidly like the feckless leader sticking his or her proverbial toes in the curriculum pond. VTE ought to be brought back in full force, and hopefully VTE will go a long way in keeping many students from disengaging in the learning process and dropping out of school at the first opportunity.
Screw the standardized test scores. Screw the standardized tests themselves. In fact, jettison those damnable tests faster than you can say “Melinda Gates.” They are designed to make failures of the students and the schools – at the least those at below the national norm, thus necessitating the “need” for improvement materials sold by the companies like Pearson Education (with Microsoft creating the “digital learning apps”). By definition, on a norm-referenced standardized test, one-half of all students who take the test will score below the national average. If you have four children in your family, two of your children will score below the family average. Do you want to label your two children who score below the family average as your “failing” kids? Hardly. This is bullshit! These damnable standardized tests are bullshit! Yet, these feckless and ignorant so-called educational leaders lap up shit served to them by the likes of Bill and Melinda Gates.
I doubt that either Bill or Melinda have ever attended a public school in his or her life and yet they seem to think that they know what is best for the poor family living in the trailer park off Tara Boulevard in Jonesboro, Georgia or the upper-middle class family living in the Summergrove subdivision in Newnan, Georgia. Quite frankly, they don’t know jack-shit about public education and they still have the unmitigated gall to throw around untold millions of their 76 billion dollars to change American Public Education (APE)…for the worse. No one asked for their help. They weren’t elected to anything. But, they apparently want to take away the local control of APE, and we, unlike most others, have the guts to tell you about it. The Gateses have the right in this country to kibitz in a big way. We have the right to expose them while they do so. We expose them for their hypocrisy and their stupidity. Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, is doing more to destroy America Public Education (APE) than any man on this Earth.
Let us make this clear: Because we are calling for the jettisoning of those damnable standardized tests does not mean that we are not for the learning of facts, objective facts, and key information. To the contrary. We are calling for the learning of this, just like this kind of learning that took place on a high level 40 to 60 years ago – and without the damnable standardized tests having actually dumbed down the curriculum in our public schools. It is amazing and shocking what little information that our public school children know. The teachers need to be freed up from the manacles of cookie-cutter teaching methods and the slavish loyalty to the shallow and test-driven curriculum. This is what is killing our schools. The teachers aren’t free. They are treated like pedagogical peasants, being told what to teach, how to teach it, and when to teach it. Influence peddlers (IPs) like the Gateses, Eli Broad, Arne Duncan, and Michelle Rhee don’t seem to have a grasp on what makes teachers tick and what makes schools click. They obviously have an industrial view of teaching and schooling, thinking that teaching students is the same as marketing computer software, building houses, or selling insurance. It is not, and we pointed this out in this book. These IPs actually think that you can have good learning conditions without first having good teaching conditions. They are educational morons. They are clueless. They are dangerous. You cannot have good learning conditions until you first have good teaching conditions. They are operating under a false theory and therefore they have disastrous results. Their results will continue to be disastrous – and you read about it here in The MACE Manifesto.
These are some of the things that we unapologetically have written in this book. We have written other things as well. Read’em and weep. © Big Daddy Publishers, 2014.