A Worldwide Pig Trough – Schools In Your CountryFriday, July 15th, 2011
Sometimes I fall into the mistaken belief that it is in my own nation, the United States, where corruption and greed are destroying any value that schools might have had. It is certainly true that public education in the United States is generally a cesspool of greed and terrible results, for many reasons – but the problems we experience here are not isolated.
I ran a little search today and came up with some disturbing results – disturbing even to me, and I expect the worst of institutional educators. The quotes below came off of the Anti-Corruption Resource Center, and are directly quoted. I’ll comment afterwords.
“In 2001, 25 million secondary level schoolchildren in Bangladesh started the school year without textbooks. When the textbooks were finally delivered, they were full of errors, yet they had to be purchased by pupils at a higher price than previously announced. A report card survey carried out by Transparency International Bangladesh revealed that students had to pay an additional Tk 670 million (approximately US$ 12 million) due to the textbook crisis.”
“Low quality schools turn out students who are badly prepared for college, thus forcing parents to hire private tutors to ensure that their children pass the entrance exams. Often the most popular tutors are the same professors who sit on admissions committees of higher education institutions. As the examinations are oral the grading criteria are subjective, and “tutoring fees” therefore become de facto bribes.”
Chronicle of Higher Education, 2002
“Public school teachers in Pakistan demand payment for each child in the form of “tuition”. If parents do not meet these payments […], the teachers were reported to beat the student or submit a failing grade for him or her.”
The World Bank’s Voices of the Poor survey
“In Georgia, professors are reported to hand out price lists for passing exams. Student can practically buy their way through education, paying for every exam and, ultimately, a diploma. Moreover, students can bypass the higher education system altogether by simply buying a diploma from an established university.”
The World Bank’s Voices of the Poor survey
“In pre-civil war Liberia, the process of replacing teachers who had died or left teaching was highly complex and corrupt. New teachers needed 29 official signatures to get onto the payroll. As a remedy, headmasters were allowed to appoint temporary substitutes who could cash the pay checks of the teachers they replaced. Principals quickly realized that they could cash these pay checks and keep the money without appointing new staff. A high incidence of “ghost teachers” resulted, and when district and central officials realized this, instead of trying to eliminate the practice they demanded a cut of the proceeds.”
“A study of sexual violence in Botswana (2001) revealed that 67% of girls reported sexual harassment by teachers. 11% of the girls surveyed seriously considered dropping out of school due to harassment (despite the fact that Botswana provides 10 years of free education) and 10% consented to sexual relations for fear of reprisals in respect of grades and performance records.”
Well, it’s sure good to know that we in the United States are not the only people being victimized by corrupt educational systems and “educators”. Yup, it’s good to be able to think that perhaps we Americans aren’t the only fools on Earth. As it turns out, the victimization of students and families by institutional education is both international and systemic.
Isn’t that great?!
Of course, it’s not! Wipe that all-American grin off your face! Teachers who engage in bribes, sexual abuse of students, and abuses of the kind described above are a plague wherever they show up. They cripple their nation, the families and students exposed to them, and all of civilization.
Needless to say, cases of sexual abuse in U.S. schools are occasionally well documented, and many of them have been made public. But how many thousands of such cases are never reported out of fear of teachers and schools, or fear of stigmatizing the victim? Believe me, we are in no position to posture about ethics and integrity in our schools.
Consider for a moment the degree of trust we place in teachers. We hand our children over for the majority of each week day. “Here’s little Johnny and little Susie. Take good care of them”. And then, we hope for the best. We assume that the system has built-in protections that prevent teachers from abusing our children…even though there have been literally thousands of documented cases of this simply not being so! Why do we keep hoping for the best in the face of the worst? Because we look at a runaway train of a system and feel it’s too big a problem to face? Is this so in spite of the fact that it’s our children and their lives that are at stake?
Consider that school is generally mandatory, a fact that teachers, teacher unions and their lobbyists have worked hard to enforce. This is so, even though schools are so dangerous that they themselves install metal detectors to locate the odd gun or knife in a student’s lunch bag. They place enormous fences surrounding their campuses, to accomplish what – the keeping out of undesirables, the locking in of students longing to escape? It’s for both purposes, is it not? And as you read, schools are sometimes bastions for the worst kinds of child abuse. Yet, school is MANDATORY. You MUST send your child into danger, into one of these cages and do so every day! Why, we are told, schooling is a service provided by government or private institutions, a SERVICE. It’s FREE! (There’s a great, big lie.)
I thought that the definition of a service was something done for another which they wished to have done, and which would result in some sort of benefit to the party being served. I don’t think I ever fully understood that “service” in the case of education meant the serving up of our bank accounts, our children and their future for dinner.
Consider that we assume a trained teacher is an expert in the area of educating our child, in spite of clear and overwhelming evidence to the opposite. This in spite of the fantastically awful results most public and private schools get, year after year and decade after decade. We continue to trust these “educators” even as we see little Johnny and little Susie suffering in agony with school work they hate, and working it up to 3-5 hours at home on occasion, after their jail time…oops, I meant school time…has ended for the day. We assume our schools have developed rational, logical standards of some sort that will guide the education of each child, and shape it. We do so again in spite of all the evidence – students by the tens of millions graduating High School who can’t sign their name, can’t read, and are barely equipped to hold down a job at McDonald’s. And I’m NOT talking about drop-outs, here! I’m talking about kids with diploma in hand.
Consider our folly, and sigh with relief that we of the United States are not alone. Nope, looks like a whole lot of the world suffers from a level of gullibility that would astonish and delight the local used car salesman. Looks like we’re all standing in that same line. Institutional education, your friend. Sold with a big grin and a hearty political handshake, so that you don’t notice the salesman as his other hand picks your pocket and ruins your child’s life.
Then consider homeschooling. Decide to be gullible no longer, wherever you live. Find a way out of the system, if you can. Change the system if you must. We are not all hopeless suckers. There will be others like you, many of them, who see the system for what it is – institutional feeding by educators at the public trough, without the need of any return on investment. Get together with others who see. Within the limits of your governmental system, make a noise. Demand your right to not be forced to use the system, and to be supported in your effort to actually provide a real and safe education to your children.
And if you live in Germany or Sweden, or some other land where homeschool is actually illegal or about to become so – consider moving to a less gullible country. Or run for office on a pro-homeschool ticket.
As you probably know, I am an advocate for homeschooling. It’s my belief that homeschooling potentially provides a student with a vastly superior education than schooling in any form. This is backed up by a lot of numbers and research. I’ve taught for public and private schools, at the University level, as a private instructor in thousands of workshops, and as a homeschool dad running a homeschool group. Homeschooling by far works best for most students- and most families.
But I understand that many parents do not believe they can effectively homeschool. They’ve been told that they “don’t have degrees,” and that they “aren’t qualified.” This is all nonsense, of course. You’re legally not required to have any kind of a degree to homeschool your kids anywhere in the U.S. A lot of people who have degrees and who call themselves “professional teachers” are simply awful, and even destructive at what they do. A lot of parents…hundreds that I know of…have homeschooled their kids right into universities and careers.
In a serious effort to make homeschooling easier to do, and more commonly successful in terms of education received, I’ve authored my own curriculum. It took some 15,000 hours to write, over more than a decade of work, and is intended to replace the need for schooling a student from age 5-Adult Continuing Education. The curriculum is called Connect The Thoughts (or “CTT”). It has been used by over 20,000 students worldwide over the past 10 years. Hundreds of “success stories” attest to how well CTT works.
CTT courses are written in a way that gradually allows the student to take over his own education. Each course itself largely does the teaching, relieving mom and dad of that duty unless they wish to use our daily lesson plans in various subjects as springboards for family discussion and discovery – as many families do, every day. The parent has the job of making certain the student is working and has what they need to study. (And you’ll need to find a good math program for homeschooling as we don’t provide one. There are many.)
Below are links to our site discussing each level of curriculum, and every subject at that level that we offer. (You can start any level at any time. We don’t have “semesters” that start at a certain time, and each course stands alone well.) You’ll find free videos describing how every subject and each level works. You’ll discover free samples of every course we offer. Our site offers many other services and surprises, including numerous free courses you can download and try out.
Starter is for ages 5-6, and for preliterate students of any age. It focuses on starting to develop literacy skills, while teaching about various subjects. Starter includes full two-year programs in Reading, History, Science, Creative Writing, and Living Your Life, courses that develop life and study skills for the youngest students. Every lesson plan at the Starter level works to develop literacy.
Elementary is for ages 7-8, and for students who are developing literacy. It includes two-year programs in Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing (which also teaches the parts of language at this level), and Living Your Life courses which develop life and study skills in preparation for more advanced studies to come.
Lower School (ages 9-10) offers two-year programs in Study Essentials, Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing, P.E. Electives, and in various arts such as Animation, Music Theory, and Acting. At this level, students must read fairly well, and studies are progressively turned over to the student.
Upper School (ages 11-High School, and Adult Continuing Education) provides programs in Study Essentials, Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing, Current Events, Literature Guides, P.E. Electives, and in arts such as Animation, Acting, Music Theory, and Music History.
For parents who wish to teach at home, but are intimidated at the thought, and for parents who just wish to improve the homeschool experience, we offer a ten course homeschool program for homeschool teachers, as well as several books about education and homeschooling today.
We want you and your children to win with homeschooling!