I recently read an article about charter schools as a panacea to our continued educational degradation. It is common argument and it fits many agendas. It showcases the bureaucracy of unions and the bloated administrations that accompany public schools. It suggests, at least lately, that most teachers are more concerned about using the correct pronouns instead of explaining the definition of a pronoun. I don’t believe this is true. It makes dramatic headlines and provides an easy scapegoat, but does little to represent, or solve, the country’s education dilemma.
As has been mentioned in a number of previous posts, the education system has failed to adjust to current society, but one thing it has done very well is to cast blame on others. One side blames the unions and administration and the other the lack of “equity” and funding necessary to bring the efforts up to standards. Creating and perpetuating divisiveness keeps the focus off the lack of progress. Laptops and internet connectivity are often cited as reasons for failing districts. In the succinct words of Col. Sherman Potter.
People understand punishment, or at least they used to. I am not talking about getting paddled by your parents or the quick cuff by your mom, I am talking about repercussions for failing or doing an inadequate job. We, as a society, are no longer permitted to respond in what is often perceived as a draconian fashion. If a person does make an effort, they can fall short. In many cases this is known. Most of us know when our effort is less than one hundred percent and in some cases the rationale is justified. In most cases, it can be chalked up to human nature: Applying enough energy to get the job done.
It is not always bad.
We have all seen it in all walks of life. The normally hard working employee has a bad day. It is excused since this person is, on most days, an exemplary employee and contributes a great deal to the organization. In fact, this employee contributes more on off days than some employees contribute on their best days. This occurs from pre-school to old age. The old adage, walk a mile in my shoes suggests things happen to people. Most of the time, we have no idea the circumstances that surrounds a person’s life. Maybe their child had a rough night and they got little sleep. Maybe they care for an aging parent. Maybe their spouse is a jerk. At some point, sympathy, empathy, or guilt become a problem.
It becomes systemic.
The goal is to be good people and give every benefit to every doubt. To be kind and understanding and provide second, third and infinite chances. Instead of critical thought, society becomes an expert in rationalization and justification. To call someone a criminal is harsh and unsympathetic. It clearly shows an inability to “walk a mile in their shoes”. People are intolerant of critical assessments, even after the jury has deliberated and a verdict announced.
It needs to stop.
This is where we are with schools, and other policy areas. We make excuses for the participants and refuse to punish them for failing to apply themselves. There are no repercussions. If the student fails at school, the system will care for them later, in one way or another. Until repercussions are brought back into the equation, education and other policies (health care and other government support programs) will continue to fail and erode society. Some segments will avoid it longer than others, but as we approach critical mass, those who believe they are protected from the ignorant masses will be sorely disappointed.
The Piper must be paid.