My mother and I are teachers and between the two of us — and counting the years that Mother spent evenings, weekends, and summer vacations teaching language and vocabulary to my brother, who was deaf — we have been teaching for about 88 years. (If we added Aunt Mildred’s 50 years to our total…)
Mother and I have been hardworking, dedicated teachers through all of these years. We both are still teaching, yet while we believe that we have made a difference in the lives of a few hundred disabled children, we nevertheless have failed to make a lasting impression on the field of education.
Our hopes — that colleges would greatly improve the transfer of instructional skills to future teachers; that special education directors would require teachers to remediate and release students in the shortest time possible; that skilled teaching would reduce the number of children identified for special services — have all been dashed. The number of special education placements continues to soar, and most labeled students stay in special education during the remainder of their years in school; too often left damaged by the experience. NO EXIT for them.
We have identified the major errors made by educators and legislators, but no one is ever interested — really interested and prepared to make needed changes. To relieve some of our stress at being set up to fail, we invented the When I Get To Be Queen game.
“When I get to be queen, I will hire Spalding.org to train every teacher in America to effectively and efficiently teach reading, spelling, writing.”
“Well, when I get to be queen, I will reform the Departments of Education.”
“When I get to be queen, I will CLOSE the Departments of Education!”
The game can be such fun! It is surprising how the act of vocalizing our frustrations, and discussing logical solutions, has been cathartic. It must relate to that need to find some humor in a problem before attempting to solve it. We have revamped and reformed American education numerous times, but as I said…those with the power to make changes are just not interested in scholarly schools in which the development of full educational potential in each student is the focus and the standard.
We have stated our opinions in jest, but they were formed in earnest. I flippantly threw out some of our ideas in a previous article, but now, in all seriousness…
When I get to be queen —
- I will order closure of all 51 Departments of Education, federal and state.
- I will rescind all laws pertaining to education — procedures, appropriations, accountability — at all government levels.
- I will order all educational tax monies to be returned to the elected officials at the local level for use in developing new small schools.
- I will order all change agents and others who manipulate American schooling, out of the country, returning full power to the smallest governing units. Local citizens will again be able to discuss schooling issues and make schooling decisions that are appropriate for the children living in their specific areas, be those: neighborhoods, sections, townships, villages, towns, precincts.
- I will order the burning of all books that in any way misinform, under inform and/or detract from the provision of honest, truthful, scholarship-intensive instruction.
- I will order all teacher training colleges to train all professors and all teachers in the Spalding method for teaching reading, spelling, writing, language arts thus putting every teacher in America on the proverbial "same page." America will then rapidly regain its status as a nation with a very high literacy rate.
- I will order all teacher training colleges to train all instructors and all future teachers in traditional math instruction, including the use of algorithms, facts memorization, precision, accuracy.
- I will order that all educators be trained to wisely choose books and materials; to recognize and destroy any that do anything to undermine scholarship, achievement, logical thought processes and development, and/or the way of life promised to citizens at the founding of America.
- I will close all consolidated schools, and eliminate busing. I will encourage local citizens to rebuild neighborhood schools in which children will be carefully and thoroughly educated.
- I will require that all children be taught to accurately speak Standard English as one of their languages.
- I will order that prisons and jails train staff in reading and math instruction so they will be on the same page as the schools, then expect them to effectively remediate academic and employment skills for all inmates.
- I will require that each local governing unit offer remedial reading and math classes to the adults in their communities.
- I will limit voting rights to adults who can read.
- I will render all UN and UNESCO contracts null and void; order all UN employees and delegates off American soil. I will have the UN building imploded as a symbol that We the People will crush global hopes for any American acquiescence in global government. (Thank you Holland and France, for leading the way!!)
- I will end all welfare programs, leaving charity and good works to the churches (without any government subsidies and strings) so that citizens, young and old, must face the fact that there will be no safety net if they do not become literate and educated.
- I will…
Well, while I wait for my ordination…I suggest that the people of America demand that all trade schools, community colleges, four-year colleges, universities, private and state, NOT ACCEPT any student who cannot prove academic readiness and a reading level appropriate for job training and/or college-level classes.
Next we can sit back and observe. It won’t take long before schools suddenly decide to mend their unscholarly ways. Change will occur very rapidly once millions of parents realize that unskilled, uneducated, unemployed teens and young adults may not leave home — EVER; once millions of parents show up at the schools demanding, of administrators and teachers, accountability and remedial academic classes; once millions of parents refuse to pay school taxes until schools again educate children to levels of competency necessary for employment or college success.
Let’s name it: Project Instant School Reform
Maybe I won’t need to be named queen, after all.
Linda Schrock Taylor [send her mail] is an educational consultant, homeschooling mom, and public school special ed teacher. She is available for presentations, inservices, and workshops.