To the editor:
It can be said the reason public education continues to suffer criticism is that teachers are unable to preach to the choir.
Not that teachers ever preached, or taught, to an enraptured audience. Before the distractive miasmas that envelop public education today, many students had mastered the art of feigning attention, especially during the golden days of country schoolhouse learning when lack of appropriate concentration brought swift ruler-over-the knuckles justice.
Good students in the one-room days were able to focus with enough enthusiasm to gain the approval of their mentors while enjoying the ability to determine what was important in order to pass a test a week or two later. They still do today to a lesser extent.
Today's student is mutated by the mind numbing inanity of television and computers. With the advent of phone texting and the inappropriate activity associated with it, it remains a mastery of deftness that students remember anything that has to do with book learning. Proficient kids can text while preaching to a choir of buddies who are also texting.
The older a student gets the more convincing he or she becomes at faking it in the choir.
What is never discussed and what has always been true is that kids do not learn well in a mass environment. With the seeming irrelevance of today's society, there are too many who do not care.
The dominant defense to that truth, offered by teachers and an alarming number of parents, is that schooling is the facilitator for appropriate social behavior. Indeed, parents have been indoctrinated to believe that raising their child is secondary to the social skills learned in classrooms.
Need it be said that the family teaches social skills? Kids are pretty much sociable by the age of five unless the TV has been their babysitter. This is why elitist schoolteachers want your children fresh from the womb, for studies with a pedagogical agenda have shown that they are better prepared by the school to assume their subordinate part in the global community.
Need it be said that not all students are tuned in to geography at 8:45 in the morning? Need it be said that the majority of kids are not the least bit interested at any time in the three branches of the federal government and what they do? The last thing kids want to do at 2:15 in the afternoon is identify prepositional phrases and subordinate clauses. Are kids robots? We think they are, for teachers continue to preach to the catatonic choir.
How many times have you heard older folks say they wished they had paid more attention in school? If they could reverse time and do it over again, they would do worse.
Today, however, when graduates begin to realize they are no longer the center of the universe and develop an interest in things other than themselves, the holocaust, for example, they easily learn everything there is to know in one-tenth the time and at one-tenth the cost fully immersed in the subject while ignoring the choir.
Wayne C. Beaver