To the editor:
Recent studies have indicated that 80 percent of graduates from high school cannot read. How is that possible? How did they ever get to high school? The answer is not very complex. The past 40 years we have been more interested in teaching political correctness and cultural diversity in place of true hard facts and process. The feelings of the student have given way to too much priority in how things happen. How history was. Certain cultures have been more demonstrative in evolving than others. That is still true today if one looks at third world countries. That some groups have utilized their intellectual curiosity; others have not. The reasons are varied. In some cases evolvement was not necessary for survival while in others it was paramount. The movement of peoples because of wars and migration forced changes from the status quo. To deny that this occurred because it shows one group more progressive is to deny education and reason.
So today, in order to save students from facing facts of their heritage we supplement it with excuses and non-teaching. This is coupled with not wanting to show some students that they lack the intellectual capacity to keep pace with their cohorts. These students are passed along grade to higher grade without acquiring the needed skills to succeed in the future whether that be in college or in the working world.
The fault however is not the teachers alone who may be at fault. We must examine the processes that control the teachers and teaching itself to discover wherein the shortcomings are and then to have the courage to expose them and offer solutions without fear of reprisal.
We look to provide better teachers without having real tools to make changes, to discharge those in administration that support the above listed shortcomings and those union leaders who exist only to promote their own welfare.
In over 20 years of teaching at the college level I was constantly faced with students who lacked basic grade school level skills for writing and reading. Without those two skills it is very difficult to master further learning tasks. Proofs that this is the case are those remedial courses many students must take before they are ready to cope with the entry level college classes.
It does not end there. We must closely examine the college courses the future teachers are directed to take. Is there bias at this level? Are the texts so written to promote a particular point of view or are varied points of view shown to be effective?
The problem is systemic. It is a virus that permeates a tremendous portion of our educational facilities and the needed vaccine maybe be located in the tomes and teaching styles of an earlier time. Part of the vaccine will be requiring discipline in the schools, with parents held responsible for their children's attendance as well as deportment in class.
I said it was systemic. The vaccine must contain curing elements that are political, parental, and educational. It is systemic. It will be difficult for many to understand for they have for too long ignored the system leaving it to be a babysitting organization and all the while the children gain small benefit from it. Who will be the first to roll up their sleeves? Who will be the first to start the inoculation? Who will willingly support the efforts? It has taken years to get to this point and the sooner this is recognized the sooner the vaccine will be administered.
Joseph L. Kibitlewski, PhD.