Just me. on MY ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS &… Deana on MY ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS &… Just me. on Progress of The MACE Mani… stephenpruis on Progress of The MACE Mani… Just me. on The MACE Manifesto: Part Three…
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.
Thanksgiving Eve at Taco Bell
Note: I hastily wrote the following essay tonight at Taco Bell. I just stopped by to eat three of the Fresco Tacos with low calories (but, of course, I usually get a couple of small containers of guacamole and two of pico de gallo. Tonight I noticed that the ladies in the back had put four of these tacos on my tray. I noted to them that I had too many, but they just smiled and waved. I presume that this was my Holiday treat. LOL! As usual, I brought a book with me (Double Down by John Halperin and John Heilemann about the 2012 campaigns – similar to their Game Change about the 2008 campaigns which, I believe, was made into an HBO movie). For all practical purposes, this book had been written, even with the unusual combination of a Forward, a Preface, and an Introduction. But, I had a Dollar General Steno Pad and a cheap but smooth-writing plastic pen with me, and I stared writing. Just stream of consciousness, baby! I thought that I was just writing notes, but it became a short essay which may serve as a good overview of what the real issues are in public education today. Some things we will say often in this book, but we basically learn in two ways, viz., sudden impact and space repetition. Some of our stuff in this book will be perhaps shocking and sudden impactful. Other sections are repetitious with different slants, shades, and angles. Let’s get started.
By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD
Most appointed superintendents are characterized by perfidy, not integrity. By definition, they are driven by ego and money, but, by choice, they tend to be craven when it comes to doing the right thing. There is an abject leadership vacuum in public education in the U. S. today, and leadership does matter. We have intimidators, not leaders. They prefer a distorted notion of leadership by intimidation instead of a guileless leadership by inspiration. These soulless educational sluts are bent on the pursuit of power and filthy lucre, the love of the latter of which is, as St. Paul opined, “the root of all evil.” Paying these worthless superintendents $300,000 to $550,000 (including the hidden benefits) per year – and their sycophantic educrats/rats $150,000 to $225,000 per year – is anathema and unconscionable. Their focus is to protect and promote this educational gravy train at the public trough at the expense of (1) sound discipline in the schools, (2) a freed-up teaching corps, and (3) effective learning among the students. These pretenders have the unmitigated gall to act as if their gargantuan salaries have positive consequences in the classroom. It is just the opposite. These arrogant, whoring educational sluts actually undermine what could be good in local public education. They bring their snake oil shows to town, promising to raise test scores (which will result in these educational sluts hopping into another school board bed in another part of the country with a much higher salary and profile), only to ravage any vestige of goodness within the local school system.
A top-down, heavy-handed “leadership” which squelches speech and respectful dissent among the teachers and administrators who have here-to-fore not seared their consciences results in organizational cancer, rot, and bile which permeate the school system corpus. The teaching conditions become abysmal in this totalitarian model which has become the dominant model in just about every hamlet and metropolitan area in the land, but most especially in the metro areas. The burgeoning and neophyte principals, educrats, and superintendents are actually trained to be tyrannical. In fact, when a person comes along and actually thinks that he or she can show some strains of humanity toward the teachers and others on the school staff, this principal becomes a threat to the school system and is snuffed out with efficient alacrity. The teaching conditions worsen, smoldering like a seething cesspool of mindless ass-kissing and unquestioned goose-stepping. Have you ever wondered how systematic cheating on the magnitude of Atlanta, Washington, D. C., or Houston could take place? This is how. The teaching conditions are horrendous. Everyone is afraid for their jobs. They never know when a Michelle Rhee-like school tyrant will abruptly become piqued at them and fire them, ruining their careers and lives. The test scores have to rise, even if their consciences have to be seared.
U. S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has stated very publicly that if the test scores don’t increase at the chronically “failing” schools in this country, then the administrators and teachers at these schools must be replaced. The media asked me once what I thought about this contention of Arne Duncan, and I replied that he was replacing everyone except the ones who really mattered, viz., the students. I further stated that many of these students were lazy and unmotivated and refused to do any work. My comments went viral on the internet, appearing in educational publications all over the country. Mr. Duncan was confronted about my statement when he was talking to the media about education in the presence of President Obama, and he demurred that this concern about the students not doing any work had to be addressed also. No shit, Dick Tracy! These two educational dumbasses (well, I could be nice and call them faux and treacherous educators), Arne Duncan and Michelle Rhee, are the loyal acolytes of two billionaires who are also clueless about public education, Bill Gates and Eli Broad. Gates and Broad are apparently setting the educational agenda in the United States today, and their treacherous faux educators, Rhee and Duncan, get out on the hustings pushing this educational pornography. Duncan hails from Chicago where he was a political hack and was installed as the Superintendent of the Chicago City Schools (although he had never been an educator).
The word “education” cannot be found in the United States Constitution and yet we have a billionaire-backed non-educator, Arnie Duncan, officiously using his undeserved position as U. S. Secretary of Education to push and mandate (with the bribing power of several billion dollars appropriated by the U. S. Congress) a federalized educational agenda via the Common Core Crap Curriculum (pushed hugely by software app guru Bill Gates and Pearson Education, the largest publisher of educational materials in the world) and the inflammatory anti-teacher propaganda that leaves the classroom educators thinking that they are teaching in Gulag-type conditions…and doing so without anyone hearing their plight. MACE hears their plight. MACE was founded in 1995 to speak out on their behalf and to advocate for their empowerment as classroom educators. From the very beginning, MACE stated the same mantra which MACE espouses today: “You cannot have good learning conditions until you first have good teaching conditions.” © Big Daddy Publishers, 2014.
My Acknowledgements and More – Trotter
Deserving Acknowledgements – Haynes
Thanksgiving Eve at Taco Bell – Trotter
Forward – Trotter
Preface – Trotter & Haynes
Introduction – Trotter
۩ Part One – Expounding Theories ۩
Let us just tell you how things really work in public education.
Chapter 1 (Trotter) – On Learning & MACE’s DAM Theory of Learning. 33
Chapter 2 (Trotter) – July the Fourth Brings to Mind when Teachers were Allowed to be Creative and Students had Fun in the Classroom. 39
Chapter 3 (Haynes) – Good Theory: At Risk Students Need Structure and Order Too. I Know. I Grew Up At Risk. 47
Chapter 4 (Trotter) – Family Income is Predictive of Academic Achievement and School Reform Doesn’t Make a Dint in Academic Achievement. 53
Chapter 5 (Trotter) – On Effective Teaching and MACE’s Law of Teaching. 58
Chapter 6 (Trotter & Haynes) – Basic Theory: Children are not Cookie Dough, and Cookie-Cutter Approaches to Curriculum and Pedagogy do not Work. 71
Chapter 7 (Trotter) – Theoretically Speaking, What’s Really Wrong with Public Education? What are the Real Issues? 78
Chapter 8 (Trotter) – For Kids’ Sake, Let Teachers Teach! Part I. 91
Chapter 9 (Trotter) – For Kids’ Sake, Let Teachers Teach! Part II. 96
Chapter 10 (Trotter) – For Kids’ Sake, Let Teachers Teach! Part III. 103
Chapter 11 (Trotter) – For Kids’ Sake, Let Teachers Teach! Part IV. 107
Chapter 12 (Trotter) – For Kids’ Sake, Let Teachers Teach! Part V. 112
Chapter 13 (Trotter) – The Differences in Public Schools and Private Schools. 117
Chapter 14 (Trotter & Haynes) – Pedagogical, Teaching Role cannot be Combined with Custodial, Babysitting Role. 122
Chapter 15 (Trotter & Haynes) – What Our Urban Students Need. What All Students Need. Discipline and Real Knowledge. 127
Chapter 16 (Trotter) – The Key to Learning is the Motivation to Learn. 133
Chapter 17 (Trotter) – What Makes Good Schools? 142
Chapter 18 (Trotter) – Relationships: Why Teachers Teach. 147
Chapter 19 (Trotter) – The Genetic Make-up and the Cultural Conditioning of a Student Generally Affect the Student’s Academic Capabilities and Aspirations. 151
۩ Part Two – Explaining Race ۩
Let us just get down to the brass tacks and discuss a subject that everyone else is afraid to broach.
Chapter 20 (Trotter & Haynes) – In Public Education, Don’t Kid Yourself: Race Matters Big Time! Section One of Five Sections – Race Matters. 158
Chapter 21 (Trotter & Haynes) – In Public Education, Don’t Kid Yourself: Race Matters Big Time! Section Two of Five Sections – Race and the Breakdown of Discipline. 167
Chapter 22 (Trotter & Haynes) – In Public Education, Don’t Kid Yourself: Race Matters Big Time! Section Three of Five Sections – Let the Transition Begin. 175
Chapter 23 (Trotter & Haynes) – In Public Education, Don’t Kid Yourself: Race Matters Big Time! Section Four of Five Sections – Cultures are Different but Boredom is the Same. 183
Chapter 24 (Trotter & Haynes) – In Public Education, Don’t Kid Yourself: Race Matters Big Time! Section Five of Five Sections – NLCs, Elmer Gantries, and Moneymakers. 192
۩ Part Three – Exhaling Rants ۩
We can’t neatly categorize everything, but if you will pull up a chair and read some of our rants, you’ll recognize the ring of truth and you, even if you’re a good Baptist, will be saying, “Dammit, they’re right!”
Chapter 25 (Trotter) – Too Many Pimps, Sluts, & Bitches are Running Our Public Schools! 198
Chapter 26 (Trotter) – Due Process Protects Good Teachers from Bad Administrators. 202
Chapter 27 (Trotter & Haynes) – There’s an 800 Pound Gorilla in the Parlor! 206
Chapter 28 (Trotter) – Have SACS and Other Accrediting Agencies Outlived Their Usefulness & are They Wielding Too Much Power Over Our Schools? 209
Chapter 29 (Trotter) – Some Thoughts about Discipline, Bill O’Reilly, Rotten Teeth, and Public Education. Let’s Call it a Thanksgiving Potpourri! 215
Chapter 30 (Trotter & Haynes) – The Educational Policymakers and Influence Peddlers Never Want to Listen to the Teachers! 219
Chapter 31 (Trotter) – Long Title: Most Appointed School Superintendents are Jackasses! They Apparently Expect Their Asses to be Kissed! It is a Vicious Cycle of Passing Along These Educational Sluts from One Naïve School Board Bed to the Next. These Gypsy Superintendents Churn & Burn Outrageous Contracts, and Their Pimps (ASS Firms) Make Off Like Proverbial Bandits as Well! It’s all About the Money, Folks! Yes, All About the Money! If it Were About the Children, then These Educational Sluts Would Stay Put in One School Board Bed. No, it’s Churn & Burn in this Educational Commercial Complex! 224
Chapter 32 (Trotter) – Principals without Principles: This New Generation of School Administration is Bent on Evaluation and Intimidation and is Really Full of Defecation! 231
Chapter 33 (Trotter) – Paradigm Shift Revolt: Administrators, Get the Heck out of the Classrooms and Let the Teachers Teach! 236
Chapter 34 (Trotter) – The Charter School Reality and the Voucher Movement Undermine Traditional Schools. Chartering is the New Segregation. 240
Chapter 35 (Trotter) – Merit Pay for Teachers: More Bullshit from Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and Arne Duncan! 244
Chapter 36 (Trotter) – Spoiled, Rotten Children: What is Missing is the Board of Education! 253
Chapter 37 (Trotter & Haynes) – If We Were the Devil… 259
Chapter 38 (Trotter & Haynes) – Mercy for Teachers, not a Fractured and Severe Justice, is Needed in the Atlanta Cheating Scandal. 267
Chapter 39 (Trotter) – More Elected Officials are Questioning Common Core. Good. We Hope that Tenaciously Holding onto Common Core will Prove to be a Political Liability. 270
Chapter 40 (Trotter) – They Could Not and Would Not Teach in Today’s Public Schools! 273
Chapter 41 (Trotter & Haynes) – The Gates of Hell Have Prevailed against the Local Control of Public Education! Rants and Fulminations against Bill Gates, an Anti-christ of American Public Education! 280
Chapter 42 (Haynes) — Recognize that Gangs are Prevalent in Urban Schools and Cut Off Thug Rule. Otherwise, You Have Pre-prison Schools. 288
Chapter 43 (Trotter) – School Reform Causes More Harm than Good. 293
Chapter 44 (Trotter) – MACE Potpourri: Ron Clark, Clayton County, Fayette County, Greene County, Pat Conroy & Beaufort, South Carolina, More on Ron Clark, and School Reform. 297
Chapter 45 (Haynes) – Arm School Staff to Protect the Children! 302
۩ Part Four – Exposing Myths ۩
All of the trendy and pet theories of public education are full of shit and need to be exposed.
Chapter 45 (Trotter & Haynes) – Introduction to Exposing Twenty-five Myths of Public Education. 303
Chapter 46 (Trotter & Haynes) – Myths One through Five – The Discipline; The Students; The Parents; The Teachers; The Value Added Evaluations & Merit Pay. 308
Chapter 47 (Trotter & Haynes) – Myths Six through Ten – The Teaching Conditions; The School Reforms; The Benchmarks; The Standardized Tests; The Accreditation. 312
Chapter 48 (Trotter & Haynes) – Myths Eleven through Fifteen – The Curricula; The Funding; The School Board Attorneys; The Superintendents; The Principals. 318
Chapter 49 (Trotter & Haynes) – Myths Sixteen through Twenty – The Scholarship; The Elections; The Due Process; The Unions; The Memory. 325
Chapter 50 (Trotter & Haynes) – Myths Twenty-one through Twenty –five – The Origin; The Embarrassment Approach; The Paddle; The Charter Schools; The Peer Pressure. 331
۩ Part Five – Exhibiting Appendices ۩
These ten appendices are gems – real diamonds in the rough, if you will. Don’t neglect them!
[To be arranged.]
The MACE Manifesto: Part Four – Exposing the Myths. Myths Twenty-one through Twenty-five.
All of the trendy fads and pet theories of public education are full of shit and need to be exposed.
Myths Twenty-one through Twenty-five
By Dr. John R. Alston Trotter and Norreese L. Haynes
Myth Twenty-one – The Origin…
Myth – Materialistic evolutionary theory is the only plausible explanation of the origin of the Universe and life as we know it.
Reality – The materialistic evolutionary explanation of the origin of the Universe and life as we know it is not subject to the Scientific Method and therefore should not preclude the design theory as a plausible explanation of the origin of the Universe and life as we know it.
Our public schools will do well with just jettisoning the teaching of any theory about the origin of the Universe and life as we know it. What is now presented in public schools is a materialistic theory which discounts any design, though our Universe is full of the most intricate design that man could ever imagine, or as one scientist calls it, irreducible complexity. Einstein, perhaps the most celebrated scientist of the 20th century, was awed by the design of the Universe and nature. Darwin himself admitted, in The Origin of Species, that trying to explain the eye from “natural selection” was “absurd in the highest degree.” To put forth that the only plausible explanation of this complex Universe with the laws of nature and the complexity of the animal kingdom and the mind-boggling sophistication of the human body and mind is a material evolutionary theory is a bit auspicious and downright biased. Ben Stein, one of the irreverent intellectuals of our time, produced a documentary film, Expelled – No Intelligence Allowed, in which he exposes the gripping censorship of America’s public universities concerning creation or design theory of the Universe and life as we know it, despite the fact that hundreds, if not thousands, of modern-day scientists have openly stated their preference of a creation model for explaining the Universe or have openly expressed grave doubts about the sufficiency of the evolutionary model to explain this phenomenon.
We are not proposing that the Bible be taught in the public schools or even that the Judeo-Christian creation story be taught in our schools. But, what we are proposing is that the public schools cease being so biased and one-sided. In the hope of trying to appear open-minded, the policymakers and educrats have cut off real debate over the origin of the Universe and life in the Universe. In this faux attempt to be liberal, they have actually become very closed-minded. Or, to look at it in another perspective, they have become so falsely open-minded that their brains have fallen out. The Universe is full of design. No, rather it is built entirely upon order and design. So, to only allow for one theory to be presented to our school children is benighted and truncated intellectualism. A theory is only an attempt to explain phenomenon. To allow for only one theory that is not subject to the Scientific Method and is contrary to known laws of science is unconscionable. The intelligent design theory should be presented along side of the random chance and materialistic evolutionary theory.
The materialistic evolutionary theory of the Universe begs for many anomalies to simply be accepted at face value, with no explanation. For example, from whence did the first minute bit of matter come? The first atom? If the Universe is to be explained without an Intelligent Designer behind it, then how do we explain the matter which supposedly got “banged up”? How did life come about? A known law of science is the Law of Biogenesis, viz., life comes from life. From whence did the first life come? O. K., even if we grant this first inexplicable anomaly, then these evolutionists would have us to believe that all of life as we know it today derived from a sexless one-cell amoeba. Goodness. Wow, it is much easier to believe in Santa Claus and the Wizard of Oz than to believe in this rather fanciful theory. Have you ever read through National Geographic magazines and books and noticed the complexities of the world even in the oceans. Thousands if not hundreds of thousands of varieties of sea creatures alone. Just study the thousands of different birds with their intricate beauty. These proponents of presenting only one theory would have us to believe that all of this complexity and beauty came about through random chance and later natural selection that took place over trillions of years. Ha! But, we have no transitional fossils. If this explanation were plausible, we would not just be looking for “a missing link” or a few fossils, but there would be millions upon millions of extant missing links and transitional fossils ready for us to examine in museums, not plaster-made objects and hoaxes like the Pitltdown Man.
Materialistic evolutionary theory requires the believer to beg for trillions or more years for the theory to even appear somewhat reasonable, despite the fact that there is strong evidence of a “young Earth.” We hear all of the talk about carbon dating, as if this is some strong evidence, we suppose, like the “evidence” for global warming. (We’ll leave this myth alone for now. Suffice it to say that we have seen about 20 years of consistent global cooling.) If we assume that some Intelligent Designer (yes, we will capitalize the letters out of enormous respect) created, by fiat command, the Universe and created humans to be fully grown, wouldn’t the first man and woman appear to be adults even though they had been created the day before? So, we have what we will call real time vs. ideal time. The same could be applied to carbon dating. The Earth could look like it has been here for eons of years the very day after it was created. The Grand Canyon is a beautiful scene of nature, but if we adhere to a creation model or explanation of the Universe, then the Designer obviously made it to look like it looks today with the beautiful and resplendent gorges just like the Designer could have created the first man with a full beard and a woman with child-bearing capacity immediately.
Any theory about the origin of the Universe and life as we know it should not be presented to our school children as if it is “factual.” Any theory is simply an attempt to explain this phenomenon. The question of origin is not even subject to the Scientific Method. Science deals with what happens, not with what did happen or what could have happened. If you combine two elements of hydrogen with one element of oxygen, then you will get water…every time. This is subject to the Scientific Method. This is observable. The origin of the Universe and life as we know it is not subject to the Scientific Method. It does not fall into science. History deals with what did happen. Trying to determine what did happen requires us to examine public documents, diaries, newspapers, testimonials, artifacts, etc. But, the last time we checked, we are not aware of any person who claimed to have witnessed the origin of the Universe (but, of course, according to the evolutionary proponents, this person would have to have lived many trillions of years to have witnessed it!). The origin of the Universe is simply not subject to historiography or historical methods. What, then, is left? Philosophy or religion. Philosophy and religion deal with what could have happened. But, since the origin is a matter of speculation and belief, then it should not be masquerading around as if it is a subject of science.
Like we stated, we are not pushing for a Biblical version of creation to be presented in public schools. We are simply advocating that if one theory is to be presented to naïve and impressionable school children, then a balance of the intelligent design theory be presented alongside the materialistic evolutionary theory based on random happenings with no viable explanation of the first bit of matter. After all, the latter theory violates known inexorable laws of science like the Law of Biogenesis and the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The latter law of science posits that the Universe is in a running down state. We know that from the mere driving of a new automobile off of the sales lot. This new, shiny car will eventually be taken to the junk yard after years of use and oxidation. This Second Law of Thermodynamics is conveniently ignored by the proponents of the evolutionary theory which requires trillions (if not zillions) of years of upward progression instead of regressive mutations. We would prefer that our school children be presented with another theory of the origin of the Universe and life as we know, not to supplant the theory that is now exclusively being taught but to offer an alternative along side of the current theory, if theories are going to be proffered as scientific facts. This alternative design, we believe, is more in line with the laws of science (after granting just one anomaly, viz., a Designer, as opposed to granting an innumerable number of anomalies for the other theory). But, as we have stated, it is best to just leave theories of the origin of the Universe and life as we know it out of science all together. They should stay in the realm of philosophy and religion where they belong.
Myth Twenty-two – The Embarrassment Approach…
Myth – We should never embarrass the children.
Reality – Fear of embarrassment and humiliation is a great motivator.
We have already noted in this book how that it is often the tough, demanding teachers who would embarrass the heck out of us if we did not prepare for class or did not behave in class that we hold in great esteem after many years looking backward. At the time, their method of using an embarrassing touch might have made us a bit unhappy at the time, but it worked wonders for our academic preparation and deportment in class. But, in today’s mushy, don’t-embarrass-the-kiddies culture in our public schools, the teachers are at the mercy of trying to “reason” with the children to do their school work and to behave in class. This is outrageous and simply doesn’t work.
A teacher needs to have many tools in his or her toolbox to use in the classroom to help motivate the often lazy and disruptive students. By taking away this tool to embarrass a student when the time is called for is simply another way of denuding the teachers and stripping them of authority. Do you think that when these students go to law school or medical school or to their jobs or in the armed services that those in authority are going to worry about embarrassing them? Better yet, for those miscreant students who are bent on causing destruction in the schools, do you think that the police officers are going to worry about embarrassing them when they thrust their hands behind their backs and put them under arrest? What about the prison guards when the former students are incarcerated?
When Coach Nick Saban at the University of Alabama verbally crawls all over one of the Crimson Tide players who misses an assignment or dogs it on a play, is he being a “bad” coach? Hardly, and his players understand this. When Coach Saban does goes off on a player verbally, the players just laugh among themselves later, kidding each other about being “Sabaned” or “Sabanized.” But, guess what? They make sure that they don’t do the same thing again. Embarrassment has a way of motivating a person to avoid that which caused the embarrassment in the first place. This embarrassment methods makes them better players…and often helps make them National Champions. No, rather than jettisoning the ability to “jone” or “jank” (translation: embarrass or humiliate) a student in class, the teachers should again be granted the right to use this effective tool to motivate students. This tool has been used for centuries in the classroom until our Dr. Spock-brainwashed educrats started thinking that they had become wise when in fact they had just become fools. The students understand this tool, and they respect it. Hence, they do what they have to do to avoid its use on them – just as students do in schools throughout the world. American public schools have just gotten soft and have turned the teachers into proverbial Pillsbury Doughboys or Doughgirls. We need more Batmen and Wonder Women in the classroom.
Myth Twenty-three – The Paddle…
Myth – Corporal Punishment Is Cruel, Barbaric, & Brutal.
Reality – This little pissant punishment has kept many a potentially stray kid in line and has worked miracles for teachers for centuries.
This issue has been addressed in detail in another chapter devoted entirely to it. But, for this glossary of myths, we certainly couldn’t omit it. This notion that corporal punishment with a wooden paddle to the buttocks or a ruler to the hands or knuckles is going to destroy the psyche of our children and leave a lasting damage to their precious emotions is laughable and just shows us how “soft” our dominant culture has become. The “board of education” has been used for hundreds of years in American schools (and is still used on a regular basis in many parts of the country, especially in the South), but today, especially in the urban and suburban areas, the very thought of spanking a student who has gotten out of line behaviorally is anathema. Educrats get squeamish and think that anyone who even deigns to think that students (or even kids at home) should be spanked must be veritable monsters. But, if you ask adults in their 50s or older (and in many cases younger) if they had ever been spanked in school, in the South the response is almost a universal “yes,” and the guys (it’s usually always guys) don’t hold their heads in shame about the spanking, but speak about it as a point of pride. Yes, proud that they made it though the teen passage of learning that there are boundaries in life. They laugh and regale about their paddlings and talk about how this form of punishment kept their in line and straightened them out.
Many a young man was kept in school because he took his paddling and went on his merry way. But, today, since we have so many wusses setting policies for our schools and so many weasels running our schools, the corporal punishment option is not available for many of the pissant and annoying disturbances and disruptions in school that the spineless and gutless administrators keep ignoring. They ignore these problems because they know that if they engage the problems and assign the students time in Detention Hall that often times these errant students will simply ignore their Detention Hall assignments. So, what is left to do with these students? These booger-eatin’ and nervous principals just let them get by with their defiance and the problems fester and get worse in the classrooms and the teachers are about to pull their hair out. Finally, the students get so out of control that the administrator has no choice but to suspend the students. The students get so far behind that they can’t catch up, even if they wanted to. Chaos abounds! But, these little pissant problems could have been resolved quickly and effectively with a “tune-up” in the office, always with another adult present to witness the paddling. When these students keep doing creating the disturbances in the classroom, they just need some immediate feedback. It’s been our experience that the student usually respects this quick punishment, has his bad behavior purged and his record wiped clean for that particular incident or episode, can get back to class (not that same class period, obviously), and can stay in school. If, in the future, this student contemplates getting out of hand with his conduct, then there will be some pause because etched in his memory is the pain to the rear end that he experienced last time he got out of line. We speak from experience. Both of us had the “board of education” applied to our tender posteriors.
Myth Twenty-four – The Charter Schools…
Myth – The innovative approaches of the charter schools have proven to be successful.
Reality – The charter schools are really private schools operating with public monies.
We address the issue of charter schools in an earlier chapter devoted entirely to it. Essentially, charter schools are quasi-private schools operating with public funds. Theoretically, the schools are open to all students, but we know that several hurdles are set up which keep some children from enrolling. There may be a requirement for a parent and child interview. This may not sound like much of a requirement but for a child who has very unmotivated parent(s), this becomes a problem. Or, the parent(s) may not feel confident enough in their dress or speech to appear before an interviewing committee. To them, this could be quite daunting, as is the requirement that they provide their child’s transportation to school. Often, a child has to furnish the last year’s attendance and academic records which may prove to be embarrassing. So, the poorer student stays put at the local public school while the highly motivated parents get their kids segregated with other kids whose parents are highly motivated. This really develops into a dual public school systems, especially if there are a number of charter schools within the same school system.
The successes of these charter schools have mixed results. Some are more successful than the average public school within the same school system. Some have achievement scores which are actually worse than their counterparts in the regular public schools, and some are about the same. But, the question that we ask is this: Why aren’t all of them much more successful, given the fact that the usual selection of the students is from the cream of the crop? One more question: If it is so important that these charter schools be relieved of the onerous burden of the state regulations to be successful, then why isn’t it also just as important that the regular public schools be freed up from these same burdens relative to pedagogy and curriculum? It seems to us is that what is good for the goose ought to also be good for the gander. If not, why not? Creating a dual school system just doesn’t have the ring of truth. Heck, just free up all of the schools and let all of the parents select the schools for their children like the parents did back in the day. Having a school system that is half bond and half free seems to be incongruent and smacks with injustice. All students should be treated equitably.
Myth Twenty-five – The Peer Pressure…
Myth – Students make decisions in a vacuum, irrespective of what their peers think.
Reality – Until we analyze schools as social institutions, all efforts to impose improvement from the outside are futile and fruitless.
It appears that policymakers, school boards, superintendents, and educrats think that they can just pass a policy or mandate and the put into practice certain procedures without first examining the school as a social institution. If the educational literature has borne out anything through the years, it has demonstrated the dominating influence of the students’ peers, especially in the middle school and high school years. If the adults have a sincere goal of improving the students’ academic achievement (however this is measured), then they must first analyze via student interviews, observations, etc., the social make-up of the school. Which students are the centers of influence? Do the students think that learning academic material is cool or nerdy or useless? Who influences them to think this way? Do the dominate groups on campus denigrate academic achievement? Do students who really want to learn and to go on to successful ventures in life (be it college or work) have to cut themselves off from their own peer group, as one study indicated (“Academic Attitudes of High Achieving and Low Achieving Academically Able Black Male Adolescents,” The Journal of Negro Education, Winter Quarter, 1981, John Trotter, University of Georgia)?
The adults have to figure out (and it may be different at each school) how to isolate, curtail, and cut off the negative peer influences and be willing to do so. In the beginning, it can be as simple as what garments students are allowed to wear in the school building and at school functions. Will bling-bling be allowed? Will “redneck” T-shirts be allowed?
After simply figuring out what to allow or not to allow, the more challenging part is next. How do the adults set up reward systems, both extrinsic and intrinsic, which motivates the students to buy into the positive peer system which results in the overall peer pressure elevating the conduct in the school and consequentially and eventually the academic results. Most of the students are just waiting for adults to show some leadership. They don’t like the thugs exerting the negative influences and, in some cases, actually running the schools. Many of the administrators are afraid of the thugs and gang members. If so, their schools will be basket cases, as many are.
We can’t really tell the administrators what to do or how to do it when figuring out how to flip the negative peer pressure into something wholesome and positive instead of malevolent. We both have been successful in the public school settings concerning this, but it is so unique at each school, and it would be counterproductive to try to delineate what we have done which may not even be appropriate at another school setting. Schools are so unique, and this is one of the reasons that schools resist different forms of standardization and homogenization. Unlike the robotic and misguided vision of Common Core, we know that one size doesn’t fit all. All children are indeed capable of learning at some level and at some depth, but the teachers have to be freed up to reach these heretofore unmotivated students who are academically bedraggled because of the negative peer pressure weighing them down. © Big Daddy Publishers, 2013.
The MACE Manifesto: Part Four – Exposing the Myths. Myths Sixteen Through Twenty.
All of the trendy fads and pet theories of public education are full of shit and need to be exposed.
Myths Sixteen Through Twenty
By Dr. John R. Alston Trotter and Norreese L. Haynes
Myth Sixteen – The Scholarship…
Myth – All students need to learn the same things at the same time.
Reality – The attempt to make all students scholars is as asinine as trying to make all students NBA players.
As ridiculous as this myth appears at first glance, it is nevertheless the prevailing myth that is strangling our public schools today. It is so extreme in its application that the nation’s No Child Left Behind Act had and has in its regulations that unfathomable regulation that the scores of the Special Education students have to be factored into the overall score of a school to determine if a school passes the Annual Yearly Progress (AYP). We’re not talking about scores on a separate standardized test; we are talking about the scores of the Special Education students on the same standardized tests. Our culture which dominates the public schools just cannot acknowledge that some students are simply more capable or have greater aptitude to do well in certain academic subjects than other students. To think otherwise, is to be politically incorrect. Well, we told you at the outset that we are not interested in being politically correct. All these pabulum slogans about “All Children Can Learn” fail to point out that that though all children can learn some things or concepts, all children certainly do not learn with the same speed or with the same depth. In fact, we think that it borders on criminality to keep telling these students that they can learn all subjects just the same as the smarter students and then make them feel stupid for not being able to do so. Some students’ mental aptitude simply is not adept at much academic learning. But, if these same students were allowed to take various vocational/technical courses, they would be thriving in these courses and feeling like they were successes because they would be successes.
We don’t know why certain children have certain aptitudes, but they do. We suppose that it is just part of their DNA constitution. We don’t believe that the innate abilities have anything to do with culture, race, nationality, or ethnicity because we have witnessed academic geniuses across the span of all of these groups. But, because some social scientists in the past have suggested that different aptitudes could be race-based, this subject of DNA as it relates to academic aptitudes has become radioactive and quite untouchable. We believe that academic aptitudes are obviously DNA-based but we believe that this is trans-racial and trans-cultural. But, to deny that it matters who the child’s parents are to a certain extent when it comes to aptitude is denying the obvious. Earlier in the book, we posited that if a African American child or a Latino child had parents who were attorneys and accountants or physicians, then likely this child would go on to be quite successful in his or her life too because of the good DNA mixture as well as the cultural conditioning of the importance of academic success. We believe that a child’s family culture and larger social culture will affect the child’s academic aspirations. On the other hand, if a child comes from parents who themselves are the offspring of low-achieving and fairly listless parents who do not hold down regular jobs, etc., more than likely this child’s culture will not condition him or her to have strong aspirations for academic achievement, though sometimes these children are blessed with strong DNA academic aptitudes. After all, to run a good, thriving drug trade takes some mental acuity. To be evasive about responsibilities and to game the government about benefits without working also takes some mental acuity. So, we should never assume anything…certainly not assume that because a child just happens to be born on the proverbial wrong side of the tracks he or she cannot be academically gifted.
We think that treating all children (especially when the children get to the middle school or high school years) as if they have the same talents, aptitudes, interests, etc., is stupid and unrealistic. We need to do what our schools did years ago. Allow students to go in the direction of their aptitudes and interests. Pushing students who hate math and have lower abilities in math into higher levels of algebra or calculus or trigonometry is crazy. Who uses the information in these fields? Mostly engineers. The average well-educated businessman uses basic math, along with the understanding of statistics and angles. We were talking to a well-educated and highly intelligent businessman (a real estate developer) recently who stated just such the other day. He deals with millions of dollars but he never goes beyond statistics and a few geometrical angles when it comes to math. Ask yourself the last time that you used some higher form of algebra. Almost never, we’d wager. But, our public schools today are sending all students into the same basic math courses until the last two or three years. Perhaps we dwell on math so much because we sympathize with those students who hate these higher levels of math and are not that good at them because that is our weakness too. LOL!
Making the teachers of 9th grade Geography to teach the exact same thing at the same time in each school in the school system is also stupid. A 9th grade Geography teacher at Smith High School should not have to be on the same page on the same day as the 9th grade Geography teacher at Jones High School on the other side of the school system. There’s no room for creativity, flexibility, or engaging in in-depth curriculum detouring for the teachers and students. Teaching and learning become boring, and the students begin quickly to disengage.
Back to the genetic influence on intelligence: We both are fascinated by our 42nd President, Bill Clinton. Here is a man whose IQ is literally off the charts. The narrative of his life is that Bill Blythe, the man who died in a car wreck before he was born, was his biological father. Blythe technically was a bigamist, a high school dropout, and has been described as a “drifter.” There had been rumors for years that Bill Clinton was really the son of Dr. George Wright, Sr., one of the local physicians in Hope, Arkansas who was seen by all as highly intelligent and an inveterate reader, as is Clinton. Clinton’s mother, Virginia Cassidy, was a nurse and helped Dr. Wright set up his practice in Hope in 1946 “right off the bat.” According to Dr. John Gartner, a psychologist on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University Medical School, Clinton bears many resemblances to Dr. Wright and Dr. Wright’s sons, in both physical looks and intellectual prowess. The Wrights and the Clintons socialized together on a regular basis and when the Clintons moved to Hot Springs, the Wrights took two week vacations each summer to Hot Springs and little Billy Clinton spent considerable time with the Wright household. Dr. Gartner describes in his book, In Search of Bill Clinton: A Psychological Biography (St. Martin’s Press, 2008), his trip to Arkansas wherein he interviewed people who were alive in the little town of Hope when Bill Clinton was born, and one elderly lady at the Hope Public Library confirmed this “open secret” about Dr. Wright being Bill Clinton’s biological father. She stated, “Dr. George Wright was Bill Clinton’s father. Everyone in town knew that.” Gartner replied: “Everyone knew? I heard that there were lots of different rumors about a variety of suspected fathers.” She retorted: “On no. There were not lots of different rumors. There was one rumor, and it was no rumor. Everyone in Hope knew it was Dr. Wright” (p. 78). Dr. Wright was dead by this time, and Gartner interviewed one of his sons who had a physical resemblance to Bill Clinton, being tall and having blue eyes. George Wright, Jr., confirmed that he had heard the rumors his whole life and had often wanted to ask Bill Clinton about them possibly being half-brothers. He says that he would like to submit to a DNA test but would not do it behind the back of the former president.
The above scenario about Bill Clinton’s genetic make-up did not come from some quack. Nigel Hamilton, a foremost authority and biographer of Bill Clinton, had nothing but praise for Dr. Gartner’s psychological work on Clinton’s life, writing: “Written with lucidity, humor, compassion, and amazing insight it is a tour de force that not only helps explain one of the smartest yet complex men of our time, but shines a fascinating spotlight onto the problem of the supergifted individual in our society.”
We bring up Bill Clinton’s background to shed light on the power of genetics. A person’s DNA makeup does influence how well a student does on traditional academics strands of intelligence or other strands of intelligence like the art or drama or vocational endeavors. There’s more than just one kind of intelligence, as we have mentioned a few times in this books, drawing on the powerful insights of Dr. Howard Gardner of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. So, why do we force all of the students to take essentially the same courses and test them constantly on just two kinds of intelligence, the verbal-linguistic and the math-analytical? It is crazy, and this madness must stop. Let the schools become the kind of schools that their communities that they serve want them to be, not the kind of schools that Bill and Melinda Gates, Eli and Edyth Broad, Michelle Rhee, and Arne Duncan want them to become. One size doesn’t fit all, and variety is the spice of life.
Our schools need to go back to how they were 40 or 50 years ago, as we have stated earlier. The teachers need to be considered the kings and queens of their classroom. They need to be supported in disciplinary matter. They need to be respected when it comes to their professional insights, discretion, wisdom, and judgment on matters of curriculum and student comportment. The schools need to be freed up of the onerous and counter-productive federal mandates and regulations. We need our schools to to backward to the future.
One more note about the influence of a person’s culture and how it affects the person’s aspirations: The other day, we were watching a Bowden family interview on one of the sports channels. Legendary college football coach Bobby Bowden and his three sons, Tommy, Terry, and Jeff were sitting around the room and interviewing each other. As we know, Bobby Bowden was the highly successful football coach at Florida State University for many years, winning a couple of National Championships and coming extremely close to winning three or four more. But, what struck us as so unique was that fact that his three sons have been successful college football coaches in their own right, including many assistant coaching stops and head coaching stints, two of which were Auburn University and Clemson University. Do we really think that these young men would have gone into college football coaching and would have been as successful as they have been without having grown up in the household of Bobby and Ann Bowden? We don’t think that geneticists have identified a “football gene” yet but we can easily see in this case the power of the family culture influencing the direction of these sons’ vocational aspirations. You might ask, “What does this have to do with this myth of all students needing to learn the same thing at the same time?” Well, we just want to re-emphasize the unique culture that each child comes from and how this culture plays a huge role in influencing that student’s aspirations – both academically and vocationally. We need to respect each student’s DNA makeup (it’s so unique there’s not another one like it is in the entire world) and the student’s unique cultural experiences. Trying to impose a standardized and inflexible curriculum on all the students accompanied with a life-defining and asinine standardized test is maddening and must be stopped in the public schools of the United States.
Myth Seventeen – The Elections…
Myth – We need to take politics out of education.
Reality – Taking transparent politics out of public education only reduces the game to cryptic Soviet-like scheming and conniving of the worst order.
Politics will never be taken out of public education. Never. It’s like taking hydrogen out of water. It can’t be done, and nor should it be done. Politics is not a dirty word. We live in a political system. Politics comes from the Greek word politikos which is a word relating to or dealing with the affairs of the citizens of the city – or any government for that matter, though it originally dealt with the Greek city-states. It has become a word today which stands for the art or science of governing. But, we have a derogatory view of “politics” today. Therefore, it has become trendy to say that we need to take politics out of the school system. Why? So that some appointed technocrat whom we call a school superintendent can rule the roost without having to answer to the citizens? Politics should never be taken out of a school system. The truncated effort to do so by appointing school superintendents instead of electing them has resulted in a leadership (if we can loosely call it that) that is tyrannical and unafraid of the people.
Today’s superintendents remind us more of Roman Emperors like Caligula rather than American Presidents like Thomas Jefferson. They are surly, churlish, petty, petulant, vindictive, and cruel. They care little for how things are really operating in the individual schools; rather, they only seem to want the school principals to sweep brewing problems (especially the school’s disciplinary problems) under the proverbial rug so that no “bad news” comes before the school board. An elected superintendent is not as prone to do this because he or she knows that you can fool some of the people some of the time but never all of the people all of the time. People talk.
An elected superintendent knows that you cannot keep people from talking. The students will talk. The parents will talk. And most certainly the teachers will talk. In an elected superintendency, politics is very transparent. The superintendent has to the keep the citizens happy. This is good. He or she has to answer to the People. The People are in control. The politics is a shotgun approach and very up-front. But when you have an appointed superintendent, all that he or she has to do is keep a majority of the school board members on his or her side. This can be three, four, or five people, depending on the size of the school board. This is not hard to do, especially since the superintendent has to recommend all personnel actions and contract actions to the school board before the school board can address them with an up or down vote of the superintendent’s recommendations. An appointed superintendent knows how to throw a few choice relatives or friends into the mix – or leave their names out – to secure his support among certain school board members. This is a rifle approach to politics. The superintendent just takes aim at a few school board members’ asses and kisses them most profusely rather than doing those things that will please the majority of the electorate. The politics of the rifle approach is much more cryptic and behind the scene. It is full of subterfuge and reminds one more of Soviet-like scheming than above-the-board politics which is much more healthy and clean.
Myth Eighteen – The Due Process…
Myth – With tenure, it’s difficult to get rid of bad teachers.
Reality – Due process only protects good teachers from bad administrators, not bad teachers from good administrators.
We devoted an entire chapter to this myth earlier in the book. Due process simply protects good teachers from bad administrators. Perhaps in collective bargaining states some real war stories have arisen because of the lengthy time which it took to get rid of some bad teachers, but more than likely the reason for the delay is caused by the administration, not necessarily by the teachers. In Atlanta, the cheating scandal broke out nearly three years ago. Many of the teachers are still on payroll and awaiting criminal trial. But, this enormous delay, again, is not attributable to the teachers and their lawyers. This desultory action is directly attributable to the administration in the Atlanta Public Schools which is wont on simply ignoring the Georgia Statute concerning a quick hearing for a teacher who is accused of a situation of moral turpitude. The Georgia Code Section states, for example, in O.C.G.A. 20-2-940(g) that the superintendent may remove the teacher immediately but temporarily from the classroom, pending a hearing for “charges [which] are of such seriousness or other circumstances exist which indicate that such a teacher or employee could not be permitted to continue to perform his duties pending hearing without danger of disruption or other serious harm to the school, its mission, pupils, or personnel.” The statute further states that a hearing should be provided for the teacher within ten days with the charges and compulsory power and notice of the hearing provided to the teacher “at least three days prior to the hearing.”
Many Georgia school systems (especially the large ones like Atlanta) simply ignore this law. These school systems are egregious violators of the Georgia Code Section, but the media and other centers of influence just benignly neglect this issue. Meantime, the teachers languish in “the penalty box” while their friends, colleagues, and relatives might secretly question whether the teacher is really guilty. In the Atlanta cheating scandal, a few of the teachers were finally exonerated without benefit of a hearing and after being subjected to intense media coverage and the smearing of their good names.
As you probably can tell by name, we don’t have a great deal of faith in today’s genre of school administration. Many of today’s administrators aren’t worth their own salt or a plugged nickel. They’d sell a penny off a dead man’s eye and sell their momma down the river in a heartbeat if it meant furthering their own careers. Some of the male principals operate in their official capacity as if the female faculty members were their own personal harem. Some are so brittle and insecure that if a teacher walks with an unbent back and looks at them eye-ball to eye-ball, they will use the evaluative process to corporate execute the teacher. We have seen it happen so many, many times on a regular basis. The due process established in most states for teachers is set in place to protect the teachers from these rogue administrators. If a teacher is truly a weak teacher who cannot be helped to improve sufficiently or has done some grievous actions, then give the teacher his or her hearing, present the evidence in a cogent fashion, and almost invariably the trier of the facts will reach the right outcome. More times than not, the teacher will forego a hearing and resign.
Myth Nineteen – The Unions…
Myth – The teacher unions are ruining our schools.
Myth – The unions look out for the interests of teachers just like the school board associations or superintendent associations look out for the respective members.
The political right has made the teacher unions the boogie bears of the leftist mentality, and in some case, the right is right. Many times the teacher unions are fronts for political organizing. This is not so true in the Southern states (with the exception of Florida) which have no collective bargaining and are obviously not closed-shops. Teachers in the South can choose to join a teacher associations or unions (whatever you may choose to call them) or not join. But, with a few bad apples in other states, the teacher unions throughout the country get painted with the same inaccurate broad brush. At MACE, we collect no money for political candidates of any kind. We make no endorsements whatsoever.
With that said, what is wrong with teachers forming associations or allying themselves with organizations which have as their stated goals to look out for their interests? This freedom of association is a basic First Amendment right defended by the United States Supreme Court. But, to hear and read what some politicians, pundits, and other advocacy groups say and write about those nasty “teacher unions,” you’d think that they were communist organizations committed to the overthrow of our great Republic. This is strange.
No one gets apoplectic when the superintendents join their groups which advocate for them. (We have already stated that we believe that the regional accrediting agencies serve as quasi-unions for these superintendents.) Here in Georgia, the superintendents have the Georgia School Superintendents Association (GSSA) advocating for them, with former Henry County superintendent, Herb Garrett, serving as its Executive Director and the superintendents’ chief lobbyist at the Georgia Capitol. The Georgia School Board Association (GSBA) serves the interests of the various school board members in the State. Sis Henry and others serve on GSBA’s executive staff. And you know what? We think that more times than not the taxpayers actually pay the dues for the superintendents and the school board members. They also have legal counsel in case their asses’ get in a legal sling and they need help. The principals also have their exclusive advocacy groups like the Georgia Elementary Principal’s Association. But, the overreaching advocacy group for all school administrators and supervisors in Georgia is the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders (GAEL). Among these groups, there is a lot of cross-pollination with GSBA members showing up for GAEL’s annual confabs in Jekyll Island and GAEL members showing up for GSGA’s meetings in places like Savannah. But woe to the teachers who think that it is in their best interests to organize themselves! LOL! What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, don’t you think?
Myth Twenty – The Memory…
Myth – Students don’t really learn by rote memory.
Reality – If students have not memorized facts, then any process-oriented learning is pure mental goulash.
Is there any other way to learn except by committing information to memory? Good grief. Whoever came up with the cockamamie notion that memorization of information is wrong probably has mushy lima beans for brains (we were going to say “shit” but decided to be nice here) or was simply coming up with a way not to hold students accountable for learning facts and information, just like some educational morons came up with the notion of Ebonics so that some students would not have to learn to speak Standard English, the language of commerce and international understanding. Sure students have to memorize stuff. Without information committed to memory (like the multiplication table, the list of states and capitols, the periodic table of the chemical elements, the correct gender for pronouns, dates in history, etc.), the student is drowning in ignorance. Without these facts and information committed to memory, the students are lost as geese. Completely lost. Today, however, certain educational policymakers and superintendents (see Robert Avossa in Fulton County) seem to want to have the schools to engage in lots of group learning and project tasks wherein the deficiency of certain students’ knowledge base can be lost in the shuffle like one red sock in a washing machine full of purple shirts. We now have schools where the classrooms are “student-centered” rather than “teacher-centered.” How are students who don’t know shit from Shinola going to teach each other? No longer do these school systems want the teacher to be a sage on the stage but a mere guide on the side – and the students are just pooling ignorance and ending up not learning jack-shit.
Let these same students matriculate to law school, medical school, veterinarian school, or pharmacy school, and let’s see how far this “group learning” gets them! LOL! If they ever matriculate to one of these schools, they had better put their memory cap on in a hurry, if they can get this long-forgotten cap to fit around their big, inflated heads. The professors will pour it on them and expect them to memorize what he or she has stated in class as well as what is located in the large textbooks! A commitment to memorize cases, concepts, medicines, parts of the body, etc., is a necessity, and having gone to these schools which downplay memory will only amount to a great disservice. The professors want real facts and information and syntheses based upon facts and information, not a bunch of mental goulash. © Big Daddy Publishers, 2013.
The MACE Manifesto: Part Four – Exposing the Myths. Myths Eleven Through Fifteen.
All of the trendy fads and pet theories of public education are full of shit and need to be exposed.
Myths Eleven Through Fifteen
By Dr. John R. Alston Trotter and Norreese L. Haynes
Myth Eleven – The Curricula…
Myth – The courses, the programs, & the methods count.
Reality – They count for money. It’s all about the cheddar, baby. All about the cheddar.
Norreese Haynes between Dr. Trotter’s parents, Daniel D. and Jo Trotter.
The educrats run around like they have received the latest dispensation from on high…the latest twist for the curriculum, the latest textbooks or computer applications, the latest programs and staff development courses for the teachers, and the latest pedagogical methods that the teachers just have to adopt. Yes, these educrats who are a complete burden on public education go trotting out to conferences all over the country and staying in the best hotels and eating at the finest restaurant all in the phony game of learning more about the latest wrinkles for the local curriculum…all at the expense of the taxpayers. It’s all a bunch of bullshit. Pure bullshit. The fads come and go, like yesterday’s adolescent clothing styles, but at the time, to hear the gravity in the voices of these educrats, it’s these conferences which are going to reveal the latest balm for the ailing test scores in the local school system.
There is nothing new under the sun. No, not one thing. The students just need to be taught how to break down words and learn to string them along for complete sentences/thoughts and later into cogent paragraphs. They need to be taught the basics of mathematics, using the old reliable thing called rote memory to be able to pull facts and concepts like the multiplication table right off of the top of their heads. You don’t need new textbooks or applications to teach such basic facts and concepts. We would do well to use the same textbooks that were used 50 years ago to teach these facts and concepts. We don’t need to change the basal readers every year or so. The water-down, opinionated-filled Social Studies texts that companies like Pearson Education Company are now pawning off to our schools systems are frightening. New textbooks and new applications are all about the money…about Pearson’s money, not the taxpayers’ money.
The 1972 Rand Report, commissioned by the President’s Study on School Finance, concluded: “Research has not identified a variant of the existing system that is consistently related to students’ educational outcomes.” This study was completed over 40 years ago, but the same principle holds true today. All of the hype about the latest teaching methods, the latest organizational breakthroughs (remember the big push for the middle school concept in the 1980s which is now falling out of favor?), the latest understanding of learning styles (can we take any more of the torture from “differentiated instruction”?), or the latest curriculum insight (are we still gagging on “new math” and the “whole language” approach to teaching reading?) is just that – hype. There is nothing new under the sun, and none of the latest educational fads will substitute for the students’ motivation to learn and for letting the teachers teach – letting the teachers diagnose the situation and employ the appropriate strategies and tactics for that particular situation and for that particular child. So, when the smarmy educrats from the central offices start their annual trek to all of the schools in the county with the latest this or that in their new attaché cases, we just need to realize that this too will pass.
We are living in revolutionary information age. Besides learning the basic facts and information that helps a student to become a contributing citizen who can read, decipher, calculate, and compute with a decent mastery of knowledge of information, terms, and concepts that also makes this young citizen a culturally literate American (ala “cultural literacy” popularized by author E. D. Hirsch), what do the particulars of the curriculum really matter? In other words, does it matter that Georgia History is taught in the 7th Grade or the 8th Grade? Obviously, some information and concepts are not developmentally appropriate for First Graders or for 12 Graders for that matter. But, can you really remember what year that you were first introduced to Geography or to diagraming sentences or long division or the scientific method? (Heck, today’s students may have never been introduced to these subjects/concepts.) Teaching some fundamental concepts and subjects are very important but when and how they are taught can be left up to the school – or, more desirably, to the individual teacher.
There is nothing magical about “the curricula.” Nothing. So making the curricula of the state, the school system, or the school some holy grail is laughable. We just need to teach the basics (like the multiplication tables) but we need to teach the students to develop study habits and try to instill in them the ability or at least the desire to be life-long learners in this information age. Heck, if we want a pizza now, we can look on Bing or Google and in ten seconds could have the phone number of the nearest pizzeria. How does this fall in some magic “curricula”? It doesn’t. Any curriculum will evolve. What was important to the curriculum insultants and educrats twenty years ago might be in neglect or disrepute today.
All of the latest panic or excitement about latest curriculum coming down the bureaucratic pike is really just bullshit. The latest fad might have been conjured up by a university professor who needed to publish a couple of more journal articles to secure tenured status. Seriously. A book publisher like Pearson would see this latest fad as something that it could pawn off to statewide textbook committees which would recommend certain books on this fad to the State Superintendents who would recommend these books to the State Boards of Education. Boom! Money is made to the tune of millions of dollars on that new curriculum fad along. If it catches on and becomes a nationwide movement, perhaps several billions of dollars are made. Never forget that our schools are led by this Commercial Curriculum Complex, which is not unlike the Military Industrial Complex that President Eisenhower warned Americans about when he was leaving office. We warn you now that our public schools in American are dominated by the Commercial Curriculum Complex.
We leave you with one other thought about “the curricula.” It really doesn’t matter one bit what curricula is foisted on our schools if the students are bouncing off the walls. If the schools are not orderly but are full of confusion and chaos, you could be teaching that the moon is made up of green cheese or Coney Island Hotdogs and it would not matter. Before schools pay any attention to any curriculum, the students need to behave and the schools must be run in an orderly fashion.
Myth Twelve – The Funding…
Myth – If our schools had sufficient funding, our schools would improve.
Reality – Trying to solve our problems in American Public Schooling by increased funding is like pissing into a tsunami.
Tom (Thug) Berry, former Chicago and Atlanta teacher and loyal MACE Associate.
Since the promulgation of The Nation at Risk in 1983, the public funding of public education in the United States has increased precipitously, but there has not been a concomitant elevation of student achievement. So, you would think that someone would ask, “Why?” We are telling you “why” now. Despite the inordinate increased funding of public education, the students now metaphorically get away with murder, especially in the large urban areas. The student discipline sucks. Actually, in many quarters it does not even exist. So-called students (and in many cases, thugs and gang members) curse the teachers and administrators, threaten them, and, quite frankly, intimidate them. They actually bully the teachers and administrators, not to mention the fact that they frighten the hell out of well-behaved students. So, trying to solve this kind of problem is like pissing in the wind, if you think that it can be solved by applying more tax dollars. No, instead of more tax dollars, you need more intestinal fortitude from the wimpified little weasels now called principals. These schools don’t need more tax dollars; they need more guts in the administration.
The 1984 Rand Report stated the following: “As bureaucratization took hold in American Schools, teacher salaries slipped from 49 percent of educational expenditures in 1972 to only 38 percent in 1982” (Linda Darling-Hammond, Beyond the Commission Reports: The Coming Crisis in Teaching, The Rand Corporation, July, 1984, p. 18). Imagine how the latter percent has shrunk that much more in the last 30 years. It may be down to 30% or lower today. What does that tell us? It tells us that there is a lot of bureaucratic bullshit going on in the name of public education. I know that in public education, we have to take all comers. Educating the mentally, emotionally, and physically handicapped students costs much more than educating the regular education students. But, we suggest that the cost overruns in public education is the millions upon millions of dollars that each state pays to a bunch of educational bureaucrats (or, educrats, as we call them). The school systems could get rid of nearly all of them, and the learning will increase in the schools, the morale among the teachers will skyrocket, and the school systems will run much smoother. There educrats, we are almost ashamed to say, are akin to educational rodents. They are the rats of the school systems. They contribute nothing to the wholesome elevation in the classroom but they threaten, intimidate, and live off the hard-earned cheddar of the classroom educators. This is where millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars are now going…feeding the rats on the sinking educational ship. The governors and legislators need to grow some backbones and jettison these educational rats.
Myth Thirteen – The School Board Attorneys…
Myth – We need professional lawyers to guide the school boards in the right direction.
Reality – The school board attorneys are the biggest pimps in town.
Let’s get this straight at the outset: Although school board attorneys are theoretically hired to guide the school boards in the right legal direction, they are in actuality used to cover up the bullshit administrative decisions that the superintendents make and the mess that these same appointed superintendents make by misleading or lying to the elected school boards or holding back pertinent information from these elected school boards. School boards attorneys really do in actuality work for the appointed superintendents, not the elected school boards. They are essentially pimps, and they realize that as long as they keep pimping for these appointed superintendents and covering up their shit, then they more than likely will keep their gravy train school board accounts.
When the elected school boards finally take all that they can stomach from these jerks called “superintendents,” they rise up and finally can count a majority who want to get rid of these jackass superintendents. (The national average was under three years but it has climbed a bit in recent years to around a three-year tenure.) This is when this new majority on the school board finally remind the attorney that he or she technically works for them. These members tell the school board attorney to work out a separation agreement with the departing superintendent which results in the departing superintendent getting a pretty hefty separation or buy-out package (often worth several hundreds of thousands of dollars). With an “enemy” like these school board attorneys, the departing superintendents don’t really need any friends. This is how the game is played. This is how these “professional” lawyers/pimps roll. They don’t want to burn any bridges, you know.
Myth Fourteen – The Superintendents…
Myth – We need to do a national search for a superintendent.
Reality – Appointed superintendents are educational sluts and will leave their “babies” and jump into the bed of another school system for just a little more money.
Picketing in a torrential rainstorm about “systematic cheating” in DeKalb County before the media jumped on the issue.
This is one huge, entrenched myth – that school boards (especially the school boards in large metropolitan areas) need to do a national search to find the “best” superintendent available for their children. We can’t help from guffawing over this myth. When it comes to this myth, school boards act just like three years old who are anticipating the ole jolly Chimney Man coming down the fireplace on Christmas Eve. There is, quite frankly, a better chance of a 350 pound jolly ole Saint Nick coming down a skinny suburban chimney after parking his reindeer on the roof than it is for a larger urban or suburban school system finding a super superintendent candidate who will come to town and turn things around. It just doesn’t happen, and it is appears to happen, then you need to wake up and smell the Folgers Coffee and the Oreo Cookies because cheating has taken place. We remember when the Atlanta Board of Education brought Beverly Hall to town in the summer of 1999. But, the school board apparently didn’t do a big search (Google, for the record, had just gotten off the ground back in 1999) because her professional past was more checkered than a Dalmatian puppy. She was not the toast of the town in the New York City Schools nor the Trenton, New Jersey Schools. But, this pattern has been repeated hundreds (actually, probably thousands) of times all around the country but on a smaller scale. Remember the cat that came from Oklahoma to Cobb County a few years back? We can’t even remember his name now because he stayed, if we remember correctly, less than a month because the Cobb County Board of Education here in the Atlanta area finally was tipped off about the financial mess he was apparently leaving in Oklahoma. These appointed superintendents are migrant superintendents. They are Gypsy Superintendents, as we first coined this term at MACE many years ago. They are willing to up and move on a moment’s notice. They have no roots in the community. In fact, the artificial “community” of which they are a part is the Community of Gypsy Superintendents (CGS) which has each superintendent’s back and helps each banged-up superintendent to get re-cycled.
Part of this Superintendent Re-cycling Industry (SRI) are the “search” firms. Or, we prefer to call them the Appointed Superintendent Search (ASS) Committees. These are faux “searches.” The searches are not real. A few phone calls are made to members of the CGS to see which superintendents are now out in the pasture (in other words, which ones have recently been kicked to the curb) or are trying to move up into a more luxurious school board bed with more money, more benefits, and a higher profile. When these ASS Committees get about three names, then they figure out how they will have to clean them up to re-market them. Of course, these ASS Committees usually make a certain percentage off landing these superintendents a new contract, besides the usual set fee from the school board to serve as “the search firm.”
Do you remember when the search firm “sold” Stephen Dolinger to the Fulton County Board of Education in Atlanta, Georgia in 1995, claiming that Dolinger’s high school in Fairfax, Virginia had an auspicious number of national merit scholars? However, when the facts were checked out, his high school, Thomas Jefferson High School, had in fact the lowest number of national merit scholars than any of the approximately dozen high schools in Fairfax, Virginia. How embarrassing! But, did the school board rescind the contract with Dolinger? No. He stayed as superintendent for about 7 ½ years! But, if there are inaccuracies on a teacher’s application, we hear of school boards firing the teacher – even if the inaccuracies were unintentional. Every time that a search firm lands a superintendent a job, the search firm can make between $50,000 to $75,000 or more. Now, you see why these search firms have such strong motivation to make their candidates look as good as they can. They “spin” stories of the superintendent candidates’ accomplishments on their previous jobs. And, of course, the school board members who are trying to get rid of the superintendent dare not give the superintendent a “bad rap” because they want to get rid of the superintendent as smoothly as possible, remembering that they were the ones foolish enough to begin with who were gullible enough to hire him or her.
That’s why the DeKalb County (Georgia) Board of Education members were publicly saying how they were going to miss Superintendent Johnny Brown – yeah, miss him like a root canal! The DeKalb County School Board apparently didn’t know what to do with its “mistake.” After all, Brown was DeKalb’s first African-American superintendent, and there’s always the racial matter to consider – especially with racial demagogues involved. In fact, one high ranking DeKalb administrator stated to us that one notorious racial demagogue helped “kill” Brown in DeKalb by attacking the school board members in public – even calling them names. This demagogue was considered to be Brown’s staunchest supporter. Johnny Brown had been a bone of contention in Birmingham, Alabama when he was the superintendent there before coming to DeKalb County in the metro Atlanta area. The teachers actually walked off their jobs in Birmingham in protest against Johnny Brown – and hardly ever happens in a Southern city. What on Earth convinced the DeKalb County Board of Education to hire Johnny Brown? A “search” firm, we are sure. Well, the Clayton County Board of Education made the same mistake with Edmond Heatley three or four years ago. He was scorned by many for his practices as superintendent out in Chino Valley, California before the one-man “search” firm, attorney Glenn Brock, apparently “found” him within the circle of the Broad Institute and started selling him to Clayton County. The Clayton County Board of Education had no excuse. Google and Bing internet search sites had been kicking for years. But, Brock brought his “savior” to Clayton County, and the Clayton County Board of Education was naïve enough to hire Heatley who was, in our opinion, the most despised superintendent in the history of Clayton County Schools. He didn’t last very long in Clayton County either. HE abruptly resign, apparently thinking that he was about to be hired in Berkeley, California, but the people out there apparently got wind of his controversial ways in Clayton County and Chino Valley and backed off of hiring him. He finally got on in another country, Bermuda. By the way, Mr. Brock often becomes the school board attorney or gets the lion’s share of the legal work after he lands one of his superintendent “finds” a new job here in Georgia. Brock only brings back one finalist. LOL!
We could go on and on about how these guys and gals are just re-cycled. Look at Michael Hinojosa in Cobb County (another “find,” we think, from Glenn Brock). They were apparently about to run him out of Dallas – or at least he was feeling some strong heat from certain school board members in the Dallas Independent School System. No, if you are looking for a good, effective superintendent, you won’t find them, we think, in Eli and Edyth Broad’s Superintendent Brothel. These superintendent wanabees and re-cycled supes are usually characters who are willing to traipse all over this country and even out of the country (as we see in Heatley’s case) to secure a superintendent’s job with big money, big benefits, and big power. If you really want a good superintendent, you would probably need to search the smaller school systems where the superintendents are part of the communities, grew up in these communities, go to church in these communities, and have their children and grandchildren living there too. But, they are not looking to move across the country. They are content where they are. You would almost have to pry them away from the communities that they love. But, these Gypsy Superintendents will move on a dime and in a New York minute. It is these Educational Sluts that you have to be wary of. They get these phony awards like Beverly Hall nabbed a couple of years before The New York Times named the Atlanta Public Schools under her so-called leadership as being the home of the most notorious cheating scandal in U. S. History. It was Rod Paige who was superintendent in Houston, Texas where he performed “miracles” and was appointed the U. S. Secretary of Education under President George W. Bush, only to have his school system later exposed on national news for its egregious systematic cheating.
Myth Fifteen – The Principals…
Myth – The meaner the principals, the better our schools.
Reality – We have entirely too many bitches – including the female bitches – running our public schools.
Dr. John Trotter being animated in hearing in Griffin, Georgia.
Many of our public schools (especially the urban schools) have principals and assistant principals who have sour and dour personalities. They have the personalities of small sacks of shit and appear that they have been baptized in lemon juice. They seem to think that it is the job of the principal to micromanage, snoopervise, threaten, and intimidate the teachers…and to inflict as much mental and emotional pain on them along the way. This, to them, is what being a principal is all about. This is probably what they experienced when they were teachers, viz., their principals were hard taskmasters and cruel leaders. Their goal apparently was to escape the classroom themselves so that they too could become educational assholes. Perhaps each of them envisions himself or herself as an educational Attila the Hun.
These small-minded and insecure principals had rather be feared than liked and respected. Actually, those principals who do practice leadership by inspiration rather than intimidation are adored by the teachers and staff. But, these myopic and abusive principals who apparently think that “servant leadership” means that they are the kings and queens and everyone else is their “servant” see constant turnover at among their teaching faculties. Teachers don’t want to teach in angst and fear. They want to be able to use their creative powers in the classroom and to take some risks. But, in a fearful, threatening, and intimidating environment, the teachers are very reluctant to take risks and to do anything out of the ordinary. The teaching conditions suck with a mean-ass principal at the helm of the educational ship, and without good teaching conditions, you simply cannot have good learning conditions. It is just that simple, but these petty, insecure, and mean-spirited principals either don’t know this reality from a pedagogical perspective or don’t give a rat’s ass from an ethical perspective. This issue of top-down, heavy-handed, mean-spirited, intimidating, and threatening leadership reminds me of Nazi Germany who had this type of leader. The German people fear the destructive and egomaniacal Hitler. But, the Brits adored Prime Minister Winston Churchill. “Winnie” (as the Brits affectionately called Churchill) led by inspiration, not intimidation. Sadly, these ignorant and mean-as-hell principals in the schools today who don’t care one whit if the teacher’s physical health is deteriorating because of the principal’s screwed-up notions of what a leader should do are, in many cases, not ever aware that they are suffering from a leadership deficiency because they actually don’t know the difference between leadership by inspiration than so-called leadership by intimidation and fear. The politicians don’t know the difference. The policymakers don’t know the difference. The superintendents don’t know the difference. The school boards unfortunately don’t know the difference…unfortunately until it is too late. Therefore, we have a slew of these little Nazi principals wreaking havoc in the public schools in American each day. Our entire public school community at-large has ushered into our public schools the wrong kind of leadership. The ex-coaches who had already demonstrated leadership qualities and skills have been replaced by insecure, petty, mean-spirited, angry, and abusive men and women who most of their lives had never shown themselves to be leaders. But, they quickly and on a continuous basis had proven to be sycophantic kiss-ups who would eat shit if their bosses told them to. Hence, when they finally get into a position of leadership, they too expect people to kiss their nasty asses.
Obviously, as we have stated a number of times in this book, we are not talking about all principals and administrators. Many are good people and are real leaders and really care for the people on their staffs. But, we are disgusted and pissed off that so many of the principal positions today are filled by these piss-ant kiss-ups who don’t give a shit about the teachers and staff members. All they seem to care about are themselves and their fat paychecks and benefits. You know them. You know who we are talking about.
We have way too many bitches – including the female ones – who are principals in our public schools. Being a bitch as a principal certainly does not bode well for a collegial and open learning environment. In fact, those who think that having a bitch for a principal will raise the level of learning are just stupid simpletons, especially the superintendents. Placing a bitch in a principal position will go a long way in destroying the teaching and learning environment at a school and destroying the morale among the teachers and staff members. Remember what we always say: You cannot have good learning conditions until you have good teaching conditions. Having a bitch for a school principal violates good theory about how people respond to certain stimuli. It pays no attention to theories of Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Kurt Lewin, et al. These little vindictive and petty bitches running the schools today are destroying the schools – and under no thoughtful theory of how people operate at optimal levels. The teachers certainly will not operate as self-actualizing teachers because all of their lower needs will not be satisfied while they work for a self-aggrandizing and threatening principal. The bitchy-principal model is simply bad theory. Actually, it is not even based on a rationale theory at all. It’s just a pure thug-leadership approach which never has a positive outcome. We need to de-bitch our public schools. We need to hire ladies and gentlemen, not bitches, for principal positions. © Big Daddy Publishers, 2013.