human rights

The Educational System is Not A War Zone

The war against bad teachers is in full swing according to this report. Teacher tenure is believed by some to protect the worst teachers. This is apparently sufficient justification for fighting to eliminate it. And I do appreciate the author passing on the news, but do google it. There are many other articles discussing  the woes in the educational field.

Tenure certainly isn’t the only target.

A study mentioned in the same report, released in 2012 by economist Raj Chetty, claims that one year of exposure to the worst teaching could cost a class full of kids 1.4 million dollars in adult income.

The research is based on English and Math scores compared to tax earnings.

A very interesting study, and a lot of water has gone under the bridge since it’s debut. But Mr Chetty’s conclusion is still generating oodles of controversy, so I include it:


Reward high value teachers and fire low value ones.


Don’t bother to investigate what led to the disparity in teaching quality? Just base everything on outcome? Just throw money at it? Nothing else to learn here, folks – move along?


What Does Standardization in Education Mean?


Can you imagine a system for building a basic, reliable car where the rules differ, not just in every region, but even routinely diverge between manufacturing plants? Even from individual worker to worker? It might be considered miraculous that any of the cars turn out to be functional. It would certainly be no surprise that those from some areas fall apart, and that a mixture of results from each region are also noted. But instead of implementing a consistent standard for all, differences in manufacture are examined and fought about endlessly.

Rather than prompt us to come up with a workable, effective blueprint to guarantee quality, all eyes go to the failures. And from these are generated endless blame. All efforts focus on correcting minutiae, case by case, sometimes all the way to the top levels of the courts.

Laws definitely matter, but don’t do much good if they aren’t uniform or are inconsistently applied. Since the educational laws are in obvious disarray, it would make sense to begin with putting them straight, wouldn’t it?

If there’s no standard, there’s no basis for quality assurance – and no way to evaluate properly, either.

Blaming and extolling – labeling teachers as bad or good, high or low value, or what ever black or white categorization is currently in vogue, are reasoning errors for a reason. Wars and fights, too, come of faulty reasoning – not to mention much of this isn’t even legal.

Theses approaches are inexcusable substitutes for properly thought-out action.


All Kids are Entitled to an Education


Does anyone dispute that all children should have the right to learn properly? In order for this to happen, laws must be universal and strictly held to. Regional, or any other variation, is not allowed. It isn’t about testing, tenure, pay-checks, or any of the other red herrings commonly mistaken for cause.

It isn’t about groups or individuals, regions, or any other imaginary subdivision. Everyone in the educational system must learn and hold to the same rules.

The basic laws already exist and come ahead of all others. They are the very foundation of reasoning and consistent development of common sense.


Authority is Not a Person or a Group


These basic laws are the authority. No matter what level of responsibility any individual or group occupies in the system, all are responsible to – and are never above – them.

People who aren’t consistently taught about human and civil rights don’t understand them properly – and don’t know how to protect – much less teach others – about them. Think back to your own school days. Which teachers did you do best with? The ones who consistently treated everyone fairly and equitably? What about those who favored some over others or maintained other biased practices?

Can kids be expected to learn about and respect fundamental laws from educators and proponents who assume that declaring war, fighting, blaming and singling people out for attack are acceptable means?

Should we just assume that monetary reward and hiring and firing practices are solutions, rather than band-aids? Is the value of an education all about how much we earn later on? Turn the clock back a few hundred years. Was winding up financially well off on the labour of slaves any measure of quality? Anyone can become successful if they have the means to keep others working – or even thinking – for them. Remove the money. What’s left?



Rights are for Everyone


Discrimination is a huge and illegal barrier to effective learning – and quite a bit more. No one learns properly in a biased atmosphere, no matter which side of the line they are on.

Solid common sense relies on solid understanding of the rules. Without this understanding, what’s viewed as progress is no more than a series of patch jobs. The same old problems keep cropping up as the band-aids fall off. Even those who do manage to learn well don’t reach potential. And over time, the errors keep eroding progress until there are so many problems, the majority lose hope of ever straightening the mess out.


I shot an arrow into the air and where it lands, I know not where.


Standard Law of Gravity – what goes up must come down. We learn common sense by experience, to a point. But if we want a better educational – or any other kind of – system, we must maintain a steady and accurate aim. The primary goal is to repair the core issue – making the rules – and the value of the reasoning behind them – understandable to everyone.

Confidence comes of knowing what’s fair and equitable. Many of us gained much of our determination by struggling against firmly entrenched rights infringements. Doing it this way works, but there are far better alternatives. Teaching kids directly to protect their own and others rights eliminates time wasted on unreasonable distraction. The mind’s energy is freed from this unnecessary detour.


The real point – learning – receives the attention it deserves.


This kind of education is independent of situation, location, circumstances or subject. Standing up for and protecting the laws that protect us all – and doing it in full respect of them – must become second nature. These values need to be in place as the heart and brains of the system. And any laws – along with the mish-mash of reasoning errors currently making the rounds – that don’t back this goal must be eliminated or altered appropriately, ASAP.

Very few of us have had the opportunity to learn how to learn as well as we’re capable of, but there’s no time like the present to stop the battles and move forward.



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