“I get so tired of reading about the “decline’ and ‘failure’ of American education. It is not true….” (Thanks Diane R and Kathy DuPois) And it’s been going on forever. Read Richard Rothstein’s classic: “The Way Things Were.’ Then weep or laugh. I think Al Shanker’s excuse was probably part of the misguided “game”. He thought that getting attention paid to the sorry state of our educational system was bound to be a good idea, regardless, he explained to me. The more attention–and thus more money– the better. Even, alas, if based on lies.
He was right that our school system has never been very good (although “compared to”?) I hope that Al would agree that he was wrong, had he lived to see where the consensus he helped create has led us. Fact-checkers never ask questions as the lie gets repeated over and over and over on behalf of each liars own agenda.
It’s harder to dislodge than create such myths–especially if the myth makers have so much more access to the media and to the power of money to spread their myths. And the traditional cry (as Rothstein documents) that “once upon a time things were better,” or “when I I was young…” seems to resonate in our culture. When I was young, in fact, most Americans were not going to high school at all. There was no high school drop-out problem because most folks didn’t yet “drop-in”. And there were no annual tests to prove anything. Enough gloom for today–which is a beautiful day up/down here in Columbia County, New York. (Another day I’ll discuss my ‘discovery’ about Up and Down.) Deb
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