February 28, 2014
My daughter recently received a Post-it note on her homework that read, “Your [sic] Awesome!” A year or two ago her teacher had written, “No merkers! [sic]” on an assignment. How does one not know how to spell “marker”? Why doesn’t “your” look strange to a teacher when she uses it as a contraction of “you” and “are”? Does she not read? Is she not familiar with what words look like?
My daughter attends one of the better public schools in Brooklyn. Since the demand for private school has gone through the roof, prices have followed and parents have been forced to try their local public schools. Still, I’m starting to wonder if public schools are reparable in the first place. You can’t fire the teachers. That’s what’s wrong with socialism, and all the after-school programs in the world can’t make up for such a fatal flaw.
On Sunday, the New York Post published letters that high-school students had sent in defending blended learning. The program has become a pathetic trick where students are granted an easy pass by playing a video game and watching a show. Their teachers are so illiterate and incompetent, they assume their students are capable of a letter-writing campaign. “[Y]ou can digest in the information at your own paste [sic],” one student suggested. Another claimed, “I passed and and [sic] it helped a lot you’re a reported [sic] your support to get truth information [sic]….” The letters the Post received from these high-school students were rife with errors, and none of the students deserved to be above second grade.
This shocking slaughter of the English language is not unusual in NY public schools. I recently interviewed a teacher whose students didn’t realize “nigger” was a bad word. I met another who didn’t know that you don’t pronounce “ask” like “axe.” A local parent told me about a notice his kid’s school gave out telling parents not to wear pajamas when they drop off the kids and discouraging them from smelling like “illegal substances.” A neighbor of mine taught in East New York and told me she didn’t teach all year. I didn’t understand her until she said, “No, you’re not hearing me. I mean, I did not teach for one second of one day for an entire year. One hundred percent of my job was telling kids to sit down and shut up.” She quit after two years because, as she put it, “I didn’t sign up to become a Corrections Officer.” In late January, police discovered the dismembered body of Avonte Oquendo, a handicapped child who was abandoned by his teachers. Public schools let this happen all the time. Recently my son’s best friend wandered from his school and was discovered almost a mile away walking down the snowy streets without a jacket.
Sending your kid to private school is a tough decision to make. Here in New York, demand has made the price between $20-40K a year, and even then there’s a line around the block. Parents will do anything to get in, including spying on each other. Many move upstate where you can get the same education for $3K a year if you’re willing to do the two-hour commute back to the city.
I used to scoff at homeschooling. Kids who are homeschooled always seem like weird little adults to me. They make up their own superheroes and carry around a homemade wand wrapped in tape, but I’ll take a disturbing nerd over a kid who thinks “pace” is a type of glue.
Private-school teachers make much less than public-school teachers, but they take the hit because it’s satisfying. Being coated in the Teflon of tenure is bad for morale. Humans benefit from taking risks, and those who don’t take risks tend to go extinct. We need to be rewarded when we do well, but public-school teachers are encouraged to do the opposite. It seems the only thing they’re professional about is complaining. The teacher’s unions have painted a picture of oppressed women working their asses off for no money, but these bitches get four months off a year! When you check their per-hour rate, they reportedly make as much as architects and engineers. But architects and engineers can get fired. Teachers can”t. Few seem to know this, but it’s not hard to learn. Peter Brimelow’s book The Worm in the Apple carefully explains exactly how difficult it is to fire a teacher.