By DR. LARRY MOSES
No one asked me but… A couple of weeks ago I attended a Power 2 Parent-sponsored Open House in Logandale. The purpose of the Open House was to allow the parents of the Moapa Valley to explore a variety of educational opportunities. Charter school, private schools (secular and religious oriented), home school opportunities, on line education, educational support groups, as well as the four public schools of our valley were present.
I myself was educated in public schools. I am also a 31-year employee of public schools. I taught in junior high schools and high schools for 18 years. I was a dean, vice principal and principal in junior high schools and high schools for 13 years.
Yes, junior high schools! Middle schools had not been invented yet.
I did have a short stint as a principal of a grade 6-12 school. That was the closest I came to working with elementary students.
During most of this career, I was diametrically opposed to education outside public schools. I truly believed that the public school provided the best education available.
However, over the years having seen the deterioration of the public schools of Clark County, I am now not so sure that many of the alternatives offered are not a better option for a parent who is seriously interested in the educational growth of their child.
In our local schools, we have the fortunate situation where parents can still influence the educational setting. However, even our schools have been affected by the oppressive policies of a board made up of seven people who do not realize that all communities and all school children are not the same in needs and desires in the pursuit of an acceptable education. The comprehensive high school is being bled of its best students as the district has opened a myriad of elitist “magnet schools.” These schools are reserved for only those students fortunate enough to be selected to attend them.
Many affluent parents in the inner city have elected to remove their students from the regular school setting and have placed them in private or charter schools. Other parents, seeing the deterioration of the regular public school, have elected to home-school their children. In many cases this leaves only those too poor to escape left in the regular public-school setting. It has also led to “white flight” that has left “segregated” schools having as much as an 80 percent minority population.
With the exception of rural schools and some of the more affluent segments of urban Clark County, the Clark County School District has developed into a minority-majority school district, as well over seventy percent of the students in the district are what is deemed to be “minority” students. While the population of Clark County itself is almost 60 percent Caucasian, according to the latest figures available, only 28 percent of the students enrolled in the Clark County School District are Caucasian. Do not take this as a racist statement; it is merely a statement of fact.
In a discussion with an old retired teacher friend of mine, we began to speculate at the possibility of the public school becoming an anachronism.
Looking at all the options offered at the Power 2 Parent Open House, it seems this could become a distinct possibility. One might at least return public education to its original purpose: that of teaching reading, writing, and math.
If the child learns those basics, and this could be done by no later than the third grade, all else could be taught at home by computer or tutors. Who knows, you may even have robot purveyors of knowledge.
Every child in our local schools is presently being presented with a Chrome Book and the teacher monitors the learning through computer curriculum. That could easily be done at home. There would no longer be a need for an ineffective five-billion-dollar education system. Educators could free-lance their talents as tutors. We would no longer have to spend millions upon millions of dollars on central office personnel to tell teachers how and what to teach. This should end the “unknowing telling the unwilling to do the unnecessary” and allow teachers to once again teach. Now I understand that schools will probably be with us forever, but it is a nice thought.
One must come to the realization that K-12 education in America is really a holding tank for our youth with an educational setting attached. Whether we like it or not, children in the American society have become a luxury item rather than a necessity.
There was a day in America when children were an integral part of family support, and that is no longer the case. This helps explain why Americans have come to accept the abortion of hundreds of thousands of infants every year. Since the child has no practical value, it is easy to regard their existence as a nuisance.
Now that mom and dad are both working to support the family, there is a need for a place to house the child and that has become the basic role of the public school.
This brings to mind the parent who is suing her school district because school ends at 3 o’clock and her work ends at five. This leaves her eleven-year-old daughter without supervision for two hours. She believes the school should set up a program to house her daughter until she can get home.
One begins to wonder sometimes if the only time a parent wants to be around is at the conception and everything after that becomes the responsibility of society. Our left-wing extremist friends would say amen to that. The hazard of that is, since the school will now raise the child, the school will demand the right to instill values that are contrary to the beliefs of many parents.
As good as our public schools are here in the valley, they are still being weakened every year by the demands of the central office policies.
The better our schools are, the more programs we find unfunded so the money can be channeled to the failing inner-city schools. This has resulted in the opening of a private elementary school and an increase in home schooling in our valley.
I wish all the parents the best no matter what educational route they select. I would, however, hope that those running our central office would come to recognize that they need to return our public schools to a point that the public schools would be the best possible choice.
Thought of the week… Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know.
-Daniel J. Boorstin