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School's in Session, and All Students are "At Risk"
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Post School's in Session, and All Students are "At Risk" 

Students in the U.S. are headed back to school and the educrats are blabbing away on the talk shows, about the need for more funding, better school buildings, more funding, less crowded classrooms, more funding, better textbooks, more funding, more technology, more funding. You get the idea.

And one term you're sure to hear is "at risk." At risk youth. At risk students. At risk families. At risk population. Of course, the government schools want to help these "at risk" groups, provided, of course, they get "more funding." There are states in the U.S. spending more than$13,000 per student.

American educators, formerly known as teachers, have been failing abysmally, for decades. There are thousands of teachers with good motives and good hearts. But a good teacher in today's institutionalized education factories is like a skilled bricklayer with rotten mortar. He can put the wall up, but from the first brick laid, it is doomed to fall.

Teachers are given a bad college education, bad textbooks, bad supervision. And when education fails, the educrats--the degreed fools who run the education colleges, state and federal ed departments, and big school systems--never admit fault, but always come up with some new program, and demand more money to implement it.

Are there "at risk" youth in our public/government schools? Yes, every last one of them.

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Post Endangered Kids Need Cash, Too 

Granted, there are bad teachers. But it's tough to really feel motivated when you're trying to direct a classroom (capacity: like 2) overflowing with 30+ students, teaching from a curriculum that tries so hard to be accessible that everyone's reading "Henry Huggins" up through 8th grade, and not even having enough copies of that book to assign homework from it because you need to keep them in your classroom for the next class that will use them later that day.

There are some problems that can be addressed by funding. The funding issue can easily sound like a cop-out, but if a small high school overflowing with 2,000 kids (these are real examples from a Chicago high school I'm familiar with) can't expand, or fund Honors and Special Ed programs, or even give students books to take home with them, it makes a bit more sense.

We shouldn't be so narrow-minded to think "At Risk" means someone can be pulled back into "Safe" without a lot of work. Students aren't endangered African elephants - the problem can't be solved by one little thing (i.e. stop killing them for their ivory). But we shouldn't rule out how helpful something like funding really could be.

Plus, then principals wouldn't have to try to make money from elephant hunting.

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Post watch where you're pointing that finger! 

Having been an "educrat" in a previous professional life, I can relate to the frustration of NonPartisan's post. I can also relate to Shawn G's reponse. The system is flawed beyond repair, but blaming teachers isn't going to get us very far. Neither is throwing money at the problem.

Why, in a country based on self-determination and free enterprise do we allow the government to have a monopoly on schooling? Shouldn't every family have the right to decide how their children are to be educated? Wouldn't almost *anything* be better than the system we have now?

In my work in Sudbury schools (see www.empoweringchildren.org for more info), I have learned that education is an even more volatile issue than politics or religion. Who's in charge of the country or the universe is not nearly as touchy a subject as what's to be done with our children.

The issue is not so much "problem children" as "problem schools." They're antiquated beasts from the Industrial Revolution. A system designed to instill compliance with authority, to train obedient workers, cannot be made humane.

I've got way too much to say on this subject for one post. If you want to hear more, reply to this and/or check out a piece I submitted to the local paper where I used to teach: http://www.columbiatribune.com/2004/Nov/20041121Comm007.asp.

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blame can be put everywhere. what about the parents that don't care, don't have time to research, and/or just need somewhere for their kids to "go". a lack of morals contributes to a lack of care in what happens to our youth. they will be ruling the world tomorrow, isn't that important enough? hell they're ruling the world today.

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