Education in the Twenty-First Century
Where has the time gone? It’s almost as if some sneaky shyster stole eighteen hours from every twenty-four. And you approaching three score or more know what I’m talking about.
I’ve suddenly reached the age that when I look in the mirror, I see my Dad. And it is now easy for me to understand my grandparents’ wonder at the drastic changes that took place during their lifespan.
My paternal grandmother who came to Texas in a covered wagon saw not only the first automobile, but also the first airplane and then the first moon landing. That had to be one heck of a cultural shock for her.
And now, as many old codgers, I find myself in the same confusing dilemma. I remember the old crystal radios, and today-golly, we have the internet and twit or tweeter or twickel-whatever those things are.
But, I don’t believe anything has changed so dramatically as public schools. I spent forty-one years in education. I enjoyed it. From time to time over the last five or six years, I’d even toyed with the idea of doing some substitute teaching, but then a very good friend told me, “Kent, you wouldn’t survive. You and me,” he said. “Could never fit into it today.”
And I guess maybe he’s right.
Last year, the coach at Texas Tech was canned because he allegedly stuck a player in a dark room. Can you believe it? I couldn’t help laughing-not at the consequences, but at the idea a dark room was some kind of punishment.
I must have spent a third of my grade school days in the book room. Now, I’m not going to say I sought punishment just to go there, but being a book room, there was all kinds of books in the book room. Duh! (this was well before the days of sleaze)
One of my favorites was the pen and paper sketchbook with dialogue of the birth of Texas. I just about memorized that booklet. I still have one. For someone like me, the book room was a treasure trove of reading, whether it was old library books or literature books. I remember one set of ancient encyclopedias called “The Book of Knowledge.” There were about twenty volumes, and each had not only several stories, but also eight or ten of Aesop’s Fables.
Punishment? Not hardly. I was Brer Rabbit in the briar patch. Remember that?
Until you’ve had the palm of your hand torn up by a ruler or an apple switch wrapped around your legs, you don’t know what punishment is. You hear talk about the sting of a willow switch, but I kid you not, apple switches put the puny willow to shame.
Something is out of kilter today. Schools punish kids for being kids. A kindergarten boy gives a classmate a kiss on the cheek, and he is suspended. I’m surprised that some of those idiots who call themselves administrators haven’t tried to file sexual harassment charges in such situations.
Oops! I apologize. In Canton, Ohio, a six-year-old boy was taking a bath, naked naturally, when he heard the school bus approaching. He ran outside to stop it. Yes, he was still naked. And the school, it all its smug idiocy, suspended him for sexual harassment.
Such stupidity isn’t confined to Ohio. At Denair Middle School in California, a young boy rode his bike to school. For two months, he flew the American flag on the bike. Students complained, and the boy was ordered to remove it because it was racist.
Racist, mind you. Racist! Only in California. (if enough of us wish for it, maybe it will fall into the ocean)
He did as he was told, but when word spread, and it did, over two hundred American veterans on their Harleys escorted him to school, each one waving a flag.
The school backed down.
And then elsewhere in California, during art class in one middle school, the teacher asked the students to draw a picture of whatever they chose. One young girl drew an American flag with the words “God Bless America” written between the red stripes.
Her teacher said it was offensive, and in the next breath, praises another girl for her drawing of Obama.
The teacher refused to explain why she considered the drawing of the American flag offensive. In all fairness to the administration, after several months and numerous complaints, moved the teacher to elementary.
Smart move, huh?
Now she can mess with the little elementary kids’ minds.
Someone like that has no place in education.
Ask any educator, current or retired, and he can name half a dozen people who don’t need to be in the business. And I wager in every case, administration is well aware of the problem. They do nothing for they want no trouble.
Today, it is extremely difficult to fail a student. The most painless solution, the one that keeps the parents off the school’s back, off the principal’s back as well as the teacher’s, is to pass them. Let someone else worry about them.
Is it any wonder that colleges must offer more and more remediation classes for incoming freshmen?