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What To Do About N.D. Education?

January 8, 2016
Joseph Chiang, ND Teacher , Pierce County Tribune

Currently I am a teacher working at 4-Winds High school. I am concerned about education in North Dakota. North Dakota education, as with the rest of the nation, in my opinion, is broken. This is not a small broken, but a compound fracture broken, with the bone sticking out. All of the current statistically proven "improvements" currently forced on teachers are like band aids, they are nice to cover an exposed bone with, but I think the bone should really be set first and not exposed through the skin. I understand the problem and have devised a solution. The solution has two parts. The first part of the solution must be first implemented by the state legislature to fix education state wide or by national legislature to fix nationally. I would appreciate discussing this topic with your district members and legislative candidates so education could be fixed in North Dakota. This is a synopsis of my request. The following explains my points further.

I am a nobody. Therefore, I have no platform from which to address the legislators or candidates. I believe that if the district leaders and district members understand the problem and how to fix it, they will be able to transmit this need to candidates. In addition, candidates, in order to win, need to offer more than being against something, like Common Core, which is bad. They need to be offering something positive, like identifying what is wrong with education and a promise to fix it. The public as well as candidates and legislators need to be educated and I cannot do that alone.

The problems with education are layered through modern history. The top layer is the socialist and communist interest in destroying the USA and Capitalism. Back in the 1920-1980s was the big communist and socialist growth. Nationally these were exemplified by Russia, Italy and Germany. FDR was a BIG proponent of socialism as practiced in Italy and Germany despite the war. Many of their socialist ideas are built into our progressive programs like Social Security and currently ObamaCare.

However what is special about the USA is capitalism and its promotion of self reliance. What makes capitalism work is education to know HOW to be self reliant, the reason our Founding Fathers insisted on an educated citizenry. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is the key to understanding and innovation. It is new innovations that drive our capitalistic system. So destroy education, specifically the mechanism to communicate (language arts) and the next generation will not be able to learn on their own, through their own reading and studying, but will have to rely on what they are told. Our great history that explains this is being compromised this way. Educators are now stopping the teaching of reading and writing in cursive. The result will be the inability for student personal research of original documents, all written in cursive. Knowledge of and doing primary research is a history standard that will have to be dropped when students can no longer read or write cursive. Therefore, students will have to rely on whatever the liberal instructors say the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, and The Bill of rights, say.

The method of attack is to lower the education level of our students. Remember that in language arts, phonics was taught for the three hundred years before 1950. The Americas had the highest literacy rate in the world, and then education professionals fixed that problem. We now graduate citizens unable to read or write. Mathematics broke accidentally, but has been kept broken on purpose.

As long as school districts were independent and locally controlled, the administrators would push for superior education. The period between 1950 and 1980 was dangerous as there was no direct liberal Federal oversight of local schools to lower education quality. Eventually, the administrators would have seen through the fake "fixes" being presented by college professors. So, a more permanent break in education had to be devised. The Department of Education (DOE) was established as a cabinet level agency by Jimmy Carter in the 1980's for this purpose.

The Constitution does not permit Federal control of education, so indirect control is gained through funding. This began through unfinanced mandates requiring schools to do more and more with no increase in funding. The school districts needed funding and were thus more receptive to accepting Federal funds with strings attached which would keep education broken. So, the DOE offers funding for control. The funding is being offered for LOW test scores. The lower the test scores ("at need" schools and students), the more funding they will receive. If schools significantly improve test scores, their funding is reduced (4-Winds lost $80,000 this year because of increased scores last year.). Today, school administrators work very hard to maintain LOW test scores while pretending to try and get the scores up for public consumption. Teachers are forced to keep test scores low or lose their jobs. I used to have a 95% overall pass rate in Virginia and 100% special education, the highest special education pass rate in the state. I was fired because the school needed funding and the only way to obtain the funding was to lower the test scores and my scores were stopping the school from qualifying for "Schools in Need" type funding. In North Dakota, I was told separately by the superintendent and principal at Warwick, "Under no circumstances are you to fix math education" at our school. The school had one of the five lowest pass rates in the state and they wanted to make sure it stayed that way. I considered this a compliment as they would not have so warned me to NOT fix education unless they KNEW I really COULD fix education, and I can, but I do not have the authority to fix it.

The second layer that needs to be fixed is classroom instruction. That is a simple fix by comparison. The funding must be fixed first. This is why I wish to speak to the district, perhaps 15-30 minutes plus questions or whatever time you feel this subject justifies.

In short the fix begins with breaking from the Federal teat. Our North Dakota school funding needs to be based on successful proficiency scores. Thus, the higher the school proficiency scores, the more funding they, the school districts, will receive. Until administrators WANT higher test scores, our students will not get the education to achieve those higher scores. We do this in business. We pay more money for higher performing work and less money or termination for low quality work. Why should schools be motivated differently?

 
 

 

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