The Education Industrial Complex

The Education Industrial Complex

By Dr. Harold A. Black

blackh@knoxfocus.com

There is an old saying that all politics is local. That certainly was corroborated in the Virginia gubernatorial election. Despite the Biden Administration being a total disaster and supposedly unpopular in Virginia, the democrat candidate still had campaign appearances with Biden and Kamala Harris (who is even less popular). The inflection point in the election came when the democrat said in a televised debate that “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” That comment, along with the controversy over access to girl’s bathrooms and locker rooms by boys who profess gender confusion, swung the election in favor of Youngkin, the republican. As I have written earlier, my solution to the bathroom controversy is to remove the male/female symbols from the bathroom doors and put up pictures of genitalia instead saying “if your privates look like this, then enter here.”

Of course, the usual apologists in the media made stupid comments like, “My parents shouldn’t tell my math teacher whether to teach the central limit theorem.” This assumes that the teacher knows what the central limit theorem was. No, the point was that parents should know if their children are being indoctrinated rather than taught. A great example is a liberal friend who objected to her school board adding LBGT books to the elementary school curriculum. She said at the school board meeting that she supported many LBGT issues including gay marriage but that such issues were for discussion in the home and not at school. When the board decided otherwise, she took her children out of public schools.

Schools should be tasked with teaching reading, writing and arithmetic and little else – although it would be nice if they also taught about our system of government. Yet schools are failing at these basic tasks and are not motivated to do better. If a child comes from a nuclear family with both parents college educated, then what transpires in the schools is almost irrelevant. One of my favorite professors said “I have never ruined a good student.” However, children from single parent households where the parent is not college educated face an uphill struggle. In a more rational world, the performance of our community’s children at Sarah Moore Greene and Green Magnet here in Knoxville would be cause of termination of the superintendent and system administrators. Those schools have dedicated teachers who are hamstrung by curricula and teaching method imposed on them by the Education Industrial Complex that have little to do with learning and retention. The abysmal scores go unpunished. I guess the consolation is that those scores look like Ivy League compared to those in Memphis.

Youngkin in Virginia has an aggressive education agenda. In it he states that all children are to be able to read by the third grade. Lots of luck with that one. What he doesn’t realize is that the Education Industrial Complex has no interest in teaching kids. The textbook companies, the textbook authors, the colleges of education, the teachers’ unions and the accreditation agencies all have agendas, none of which contain quality education for children. The annual convention program for the teachers’ unions reads like a socialist playbook with not a session on effective teaching. Several years ago, I was approached by a foundation to lobby for a program that emphasized reading for grades K-3.  If children cannot read by the third grade, then many are condemned to high drop out rates, incarceration and a subsistence dependent upon the government. The foundation was willing to fund a reading curriculum in our poorest performing schools. The school superintendent told me that he could not put the curriculum into the schools because it would not be approved by the state’s accreditation agencies because it “contained too much reading.”

Given that the teachers’ unions contribute 95% of their political contributions to democrats, it is no surprise that the democrats are not interested (as a party) in educating our children and oppose virtually every educational alternative. The republicans have endorsed vouchers, charter schools and have advocated merit pay for teachers (all strongly opposed by the unions), smaller classrooms and increased funding. None of the above will work. They are all doomed to fail so long as the Education Industrial Complex is in place dictating teaching method and curriculum.

So if you are interesting in educating our children (all of our children) the only solution is to blow up the entire Education Industrial Complex. Lastly, this not solely about minority children. All of our children suffer as evidenced by the following chart. The question is why do we tolerate this abysmal performance?

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