Saturday, July 09, 2011

California Drives Another Stake

As we spend millions upon millions to develop an educational system in Afghanistan, we cut millions upon millions in the education system in California (and other late great States). We preach the virtues of how education is the defense against poverty, crumbling economic situations , and political unrest. Education is the cornerstone that all other things depend. Yet, we don't seem to comprehend that these situations could happen right here in California by disregarding our own preaching. Education clearly ranks lower compared to other political agendas.

Actually, educating children to the level of fighting poverty, enhancing economics, and bringing together people to support their country is cheap. The one-room school house did it and really all modern educational systems can be done with modest funding. Local neighborhood taxes did the job for decades. But when Big Government and corporate greed turned the spigot, huge sums of money started to flow. Not even the Mega-Lottery could generate enough to plug the holes and feed the massive administrative bureaucracy. The problem is not the educators or the students, it's clearly the massive load caused by the free-loading bureaucracy. Why don't we cut that instead of education? Why don't we practice what we preach? The corruption in Kabul has the same taste here at home.

When a new school is built, it has multi-million dollar buildings and a campus like it was an independent country. Where I grew up there was one football field that was shared by rival schools, and it was built by the city. Each school doesn't need totally separate world-class facilities for all activities. This is the product of bureaucracies being duped by architects an administrators willing to funnel huge sums of money to build these structures. What is relevant is facilities that enhance teaching, but not works of architectural greatness. Save that for the monuments to politicians. Their egos demand it. Teaching children to think, read, and understand the world around them doesn't need galleries of empty hallways and landscaping that runs into the millions. It's really silly.

Not all schools have had the light of grandeur cast upon them. In fact, they have had to suffer a lot of neglect. Why? Where is all this massive administration when you need it? Every district has well paid administrators. Why can't they do their job? What do they do - hire people to do studies, increase benefits and salaries for their own. Oh, now I see the problem. Yes, we have been way to easy on administrations enriching themselves at the expense of the jobs they were hired to do. Disgusting. Welcome to Afghanistan West. May all your schools have dirt floors while the administrator vacation on the Riviera.

Why do books for schools cost millions upon millions in an electronic world of e-books? Why do students lug backpacks full of books back and forth to school each day? Because someone is making a huge profit off of them, that's why. The only backpack I ever saw as a child was on a Boy Scout hike. The source material for a course can be put online for all students and it cost zero for them to access and it doesn't degrade their posture hauling dead weight around everyday. This is something administrators, if they were doing their job, would have thought of before the crisis emerged. The point is they didn't. It had to be pointed out by the media.

You're going to see a lot of backpedaling now that the crisis is upon us, finger pointing, and I told you so - like I'm doing. The trick is to sort out the BS and get kids back in schools where the teacher loading is such that a good education can be realized not politicized.

My interest in this is purely selfish. As a writer, how can I sell books if my audience can't read them? I need educated souls to be a writer.

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