I’m constantly amazed at how columnists of different cultures can get away with accusing those who disagree with them of bias, a reprehensible behavior many of them are pulling off with every word they write.

I don’t know if they perceive their slant, their view, to be biased or not. To compound the problem, many of them do not understand some of the subjects of which they write.

One, a national columnist who is Hispanic, took on President Obama’s speech to school kids, but in doing so, he revealed his own lack of expertise in the realm of education, a lack of expertise shared not only by many columnists, but most legislators.

As in many of his columns, he displayed Hispanic bias. Now, you can call it “cultural pride,” “Latino experience” or “Hispanic histronics,” or whatever, but bias is bias is bias.

I read the speech. While I disagree with much of the president’s agenda, I saw nothing wrong with his speech.

I did agree with the columnist when he suggested throwing money at education did not automatically improve it. He continued by remarking that some of the highest funded schools in the country are the worst while some charter schools are accomplishing much more with less funding. Why? Greater autonomy and flexibility.

He’s right. Throwing money at education doesn’t make kids smarter.

I could only shake my head when the writer put the blame for black student failure on teachers by claiming that many teachers have a lot of trouble imagining black American students as being high achievers. I don’t know what he meant by “many.” I do know of all the hundreds of teachers with whom I taught over a lifetime, I could count on one hand the type of whom he spoke. But, however you cut the deck, so few could not have created the dreadful problems so many black communities today face as he stated.

The suggestion is made that parents ask the schools why their low-achieving kids (of all races) are being short-changed. I think that’s a great idea, although not in the way he intended. I like it because in order to ask the question, those parents will have to get off their lazy tails and up to school. (fat chance)

Perhaps if the columnist had more experience in pedagogy, he would not have permitted the current federal administration to lead him by the nose when it suggested education reform by “charter schools, merit pay, greater accountability, etc.”

First time I heard that nonsense was in the days of Mark White.

Jeez, how long ago was that, a century?

To begin, merit pay is simply a shaggy dog story!

What unbiased instrument will be used to determine which schools or teachers receive extra pay? Who will evaluate? A robot?

Years back, Texas tried such a plan. Many of us remember it as a joke, a senseless effort by state legislators to justify teacher raises.
The plan had supervisors evaluating teachers under them, teachers with whom they had worked for years. So, take a wild guess at the results.

There is no fair and impartial means to determine merit pay just as there is no way to establish fair and impartial guidelines for accountability. Testing can’t measure school quality. All it simply measures is which districts spent more time teaching the test.

Perhaps the closest thing to it is coaching. Win or die. And that’s pretty harsh, gambling a career on 16-18-year-olds.

How would you pull off that little miracle in an English classroom?

When the columnist, or President Obama, or Education Secretary Arne Duncan find out, I wish they’d let me know.

I’ve seen thousands of kids go through school, and ninety-nine percent of them who do well have support at home. And yes, many of the homes were one-parent, but that one parent supported, disciplined, and loved the kid.

I have no idea how to solve so many of the problems that plague youngsters in deteriorating communities, but whatever the answers might be, parental love, discipline, and involvement has to be at the very top.

 [rconwell@gt.rr.com; www.kentconwell.blogspot.com]