Today’s educational standards are being diminished because of a lack of interest in teaching by teachers, their discontinuing educational advancement and taking extra courses, and by their dwindling reserves as state legislatures attack their salary base. Students are equally apathic to contemporary education with the resurgance of religious intolerance, blindness and ignorance based on private interpretations without the keys to legitimate understanding and base bibliolatry instead of a genuine conduct of inquiry transversing to discovering, determining and detailing reality.
The disinterest in education and the quest of knowledge is not just in states or nations chained to taut theological immovable ideologies, but is also found in secular states where beer, sex, and drugs are considered more important and used more often than one finds a book being opened, read and discussed or used as a tool in determining the author’s intent or purpose for its creation. The evaporation of excellence in education is especially true in the USA where education is cannibalized by the least educated Americans, like Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) and Rep. Michele Bachman (R-MN), but also by the pseudo inteligensia ranging from Mitt Romney to Rand Paul and Glenn Beck, where once-reputable and once-respectable universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, and Harvard and Yale in the USA, are now pathetically approaching the point of nearly selling degrees to those who reject the very disciplines they were taught, as with the case of Stephen C. Meyer (who helped found the Center for Science and Culture (CSC) of the Discovery Institute (DI) and is a spokesman for creationism) who took a doctorate in history and science. These institutions, once considered seats of true learning, must be looked at with caution. Their graduates now are disproving the very motto of each university’s quest to seek out the light of wisdom, by returning to the deathly dark ages a millenium ago. Meyer, like other graduates, wrote the appropriate papers as required to earn his prestigious degree and then rejected every principle of serious research when they had their degree in hand, selling out all patent principles of science in favor of biblical creationism, racism, discrimination, and values more in keeping with fascism than democracy and education.
Once he had his degree, Meyer helped push the myth of creationism into public classrooms in Delaware, to the dismay of students and colleagues. Fortuantely, those brave enough to challenge the idiocy of ID had a champion to pick up the sword in quest of justice and stab into the darkness of past myths, leading to a lawsuit that resulted in the [Tammy] Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District where ID was ruled to be religion and not science. The eight Dover school board members who voted for the intelligent design requirement were all defeated in a November 8, 2005 election by challengers who opposed the teaching of intelligent design in a science class.
Instead of being an objective researcher, Meyer is a proselytizing Presbyterian preaching creationism from feigned fifteenth and later centuries garbled translations of his Bible as if the stories in the book were fact and literally true actually written by the Finger of God, rather than the stories being allusions and legends, metaphores and myths created by a host of writers in an effort to explain what few understood–but that perspective was banished by Meyer who argued that such declarations came from “liberal theologians”–not from intellectuals based on ancient textual translations and interpretations.
Like Islamic jihadists and their theological students (Taliban) and other fanatical fundamentalists that blanket the globe with intolerance, Meyer argues that his Bible is the only valid source for science and all other subjects. With funding by the super-rich in the USA and abroad, Meyer now writes and publishing books that border on the ludicrous and absurd, rejected by the leading experts in his own field who have worked more years and harder in the field of research than Meyer has while sitting at his desk–but his publications are but a quaint imitation of his university’s greed for cash and so embosses its coat of arms and imprints it name upon books without merit or value, such as the IB Programme texts that glorify and subtly encourage theft of copyrighted material (as found in the FCE textbook and disks). By sending out the draconian IB Programme to hapless Third World Nations, Cambridge University is transmogrifying the English language into vulgar street expressions so that in time few will understand the merits of a regulated language. Already there are professors in minor universities and colleges which claim that rules of grammar are constantly changing, while at language institutes underpaid and poorly educated instructors tells their students not to worry about grammar as “the medium is the message” further dumbing down erudition and education.
At present 7000 students in the USA dropout of high school every day (one every 26 seconds). Illiteracy has risen to more than 45 million people who cannot read, write, or think independently. As a friend and correspondent wrote to me the previous day in an e-mail:
I’m finding that the largest faux pas here in this city is that
students are trying to use poor dictionaries to find English words,
and their writing ends up being a word-by-word translation, which
makes no sense whatsoever. The second largest mistake is that I have
heard (from a few foreigners I’ve met) institutions do not appreciate
foreigners here. Why could this be? Perhaps since the teachers think
they “know” English, they do not come to learn and be corrected. This
is a huge oversight. In the south, I had teachers coming to me daily
for cultural input, questions, feedback, etc… to learn. I would
assume this is because due to the number of foreign influx there, the
instructors knew their English was far from perfect and needed
improvement, while here… maybe since there are no tourists, the
local teachers may not know. What is your idea about this at UCV? ….
My friend was most kind in her choice of words. I would not have been, but then the difference is she has friends and I do not. I, admittedly, offend people quite deliberately to make a point: to get them to think, to enable them to ask the famed Socratic question: Why? Most people prefer not to think; t hey would have others do their reasoning for them.
This problem of not wanting to determine one’s own destiny is not isolated to Perú or Bolivia (which ranks at the bottom of the world’s academic rating scale) but is everywhere; it is found in the home, the school, the government and is seen in the passivity of the German people who said nothing while all knew that Hitler was exterminating millions of people, it occurs in the USA with the ongoing and senseless wars in the Middle East, and it exists in Perú where many voters will cast blank ballots as they do not like either candidate and thus hand the presidency of Perú over to one who never worked even one day in her lifetime. Sadly, Perú tends to elect the least competent, as seen in the second election of Alan Garcia Peréz who fled Perú in disgrace, first to Costa Rica and then to France, allowing for the entronement of Perú’s bloodiest dictator: Alberto Fujimori (who robbed the Perú treasury of a little under $1 million to send his four children to schools in the USA).
The students in Detroit are, for the most part, functional illiterates. In part it is because of the high crime rate, but most of it is because of extremely poorly prepared teachers who do not even have a basic knowledge of the subject matter they are teaching. As Michigan Governor Rick Snyder admitted: “In grades fourth, seventh and eleventh statewide, less than 50 percent can write proficiently at their grade level. Only 16 percent of all high schools in Michigan can claim to have all of their students college ready when they graduate. In the alternative, 238 Michigan high schools, a staggering 33 percent have no [let me repeat ZERO] students college ready according to ACT scores.” What the governor failed to mention is 95 percent of all school children do not meet grade level reading scores and it wasn’t so long ago the high school graduation rate was less than 30 percent. Michigan’s high school graduation rate is somewhere near 75 percent (http://www.clickondetroit.com/education/27666286/detail.html).
Much of the problem in Michigan schools, as in other schools throughout the USA, and especially in Latin and South America lies with “bad teachers”. These teachers are not subject matter experts. They do not seek out other, more advanced and better prepared teachers for assistance, reject continuing education courses, but are more interested in methodologies and strategies than content matter, and as several of my students at the National University of Pedro Ruiz Gallo in Lambayeque, Perú told me by e-mail, want “friendly and kind teachers” who do not require much work and will give out appropriately high grades. The graduate students in the School of Language have as their goal to be teachers who are “loved by the students” and, add as an afterthought, the students learning anything is inconsequential. Worse yet, teachers throughout the world seldom give meaningful comments on student papers or orations, and when I publish online (or in class in a PowerPoint presentation) student papers (deleting the student’s name) to go over errors and explain how the paper could be better written (and facts added along with academic citations) I am openly verbally accosted as a Neanderthal as “education is not important as I have a friend who will get me a job [cronyism]” or “I can always work for the government”.
Governing bodies want to correct tenure problems (tenure seldom exists in Latin or South American nations) since “firing bad teachers is too costly” (http://www.freep.com/article/20110520/NEWS05/105200398/Lawmakers-seek-tenure-reforms-say-firing-bad-teachers-too-costly). 72% of the teachers in Michigan who have been asked to leave, were requested to vacate their positions due to “gross incompetence”–but before those who were judged incompetent were allowed to hold their posts until they were given generous severance packages to the economic detriment of the state and school district (http://www.docstoc.com/docs/34383873/In-metro-Detroit-bad-teachers-can-go-on-teaching). Perú, to the surprise of many and delight of most parents, actually tried to determine who the bad teachers were
in 2005, when Minister of Education Antonio Chang (who resigned from the government of Alan Garcia Peréz on March 18, 2011, where he served also as Prime Minister) required Perú’s 300,000 teachers to be tested for basic competence — and only 151 passed marginally). Protests were launched by SUTEP, a corrupt teachers’ union, but the tests were given as scheduled. Those who failed rioted, leading protest marches, and demanding Chang’s ouster and their return to the classroom where they would say little, and what little was said was nearly always incorrect–with one teacher telling me that he taught his class to sing Beattle classics in an effort to teach them the English language. Perú’s weak, vacillating, and self-promoting president, Alan Garcia Peréz, caved in and the bad teachers returned. Many shrugged, and noted that Perú is used to inferior education as it accustomed to inferior goods. Most Peruanos will buy items made in China than by the same goods made in Perú in order to save a few pennies, but this is a reality created by a government out of control, overtaxing everything while delivery little in the form of services or education as the average worker labors 12-14 hours a day six days a week.
The problem in Michigan and Perú is that governing bodies tend to fire teachers with seniority and get higher wages to cut costs, while maintaining novice teachers who are barely out of school and whose knowledge is limited and teaching skills undeveloped. A Licentiate (Lic.) in Perú took this added qualifier (it is not a degree, but given for time earned after the baccalaureat is completed) comes from many universities in Perú in hopes of effectuating their return for the master program. It is barely equivalent to a high school diploma in the USA, and the bachelor’s degree in the USA is less than a high school diploma.
With the rejection of grammar rules and rise of street English, the removal of real science in classrooms and laboratories in favor of biblical science, and the rewriting of history (now a priority in Texas) to meet the dictates of racists, religious fundamentalists, and conservative, the USA is becoming a Third World nation in the area of education. Worldwide, the doctorate in most fields, is a consolation prize for spending exorbitant amounts of money to sit in a classroom and, in a majority (not most) cases writing a worthless dissertation that makes no significant contribution to the area of study and is never published. In Perú, the few doctoral dissertations that I have read (the degree is primarily offered only in Lima) are not even worthy of a high school term paper; and in Lambayeque, BA and MA theses are the equivalent of eighth or ninth grade term papers. At one private university I visited in March of 2011, I was mildly surprised to read a thesis authored by five students consisting of twenty pages. When I taught at UNPRG I never received an essay that was more than two pages, and the three that I did receive were triple-spaced (leading) with 2.5 inch margins–the total word count being under 250.
Another problem in Michigan is that the Tea Party government now is cutting funding for public education (up to $300 per student, over the existing $170 cut; read: http://www.freep.com/article/20110520/NEWS05/105200398/Lawmakers-seek-tenure-reforms-say-firing-bad-teachers-too-costly).
The legislature spends more money on Michigan prisons than it does on education, as Nathan Bootz, Superintendent of the Ithaca Public Schools, a district with about 1,300 students, noted when he called on the legislature to make his school a prison. Bootz noted in his letter to the legislators:
Roof over their heads, clothing on their backsides, three square meals a day, health care, access to a weight room, access to a computer, access to an education — all that stuff we provide them because they have Constitutional Rights. But what about the Constitutional rights of children?
(http://news.michiganradio.org/post/school-superintendent-challenges-lawmakers-make-my-school-prison and http://www.themorningsun.com/articles/2011/05/12/opinion/doc4dcb4f4b11953790636898.txt?viewmode=default). This is true throughout the USA where the Tea Party has taken over state governments, following the failed policies of right/fascist governments of South America (in Perú, under Alan Garcia Peréz, the national budget for education was under 5% but far higher than under its former dictator Alberto Fujimori–whose daughter Keiko Sophia Fujimori is running for the presidency and wants to return Perú to the days of her father’s imperial rule and his politics of assassination using paramilitary assassins).
Texas education is worse than the education in Michigan and is rapidly approaching the intolerably low-level of learning in Perú and South America. Much of the incompetence in Texas schools is because education in the Lone Star state has been cannibalized by evangelical extremists pushing faith over facts and demanding a rigid Christian education. This became critical when the Texas Board of Education came under the threat of http://www.themorningsun.com/articles/2011/05/12/opinion/doc4dcb4f4b11953790636898.txt?viewmode=defaultas a possible head of the education department. Dunbar, who home schools her own children and has spoken out publicly against the public
education system (which she calls a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion” and calls public schools “unconstitutional” and “tyrannical”) that many wanted her to run, has been criticized for a number of things, including her 2009 claim on the Christian Worldview Network Website “… that a terrorist attack on America during the first six months of an Obama administration ‘will be a planned effort by those with whom Obama truly sympathizes to take down the America that is threat to tyranny.'” In her book, One Nation Under God: How the Left is Trying to Erase What Made us Great [HigherLife Development Services, 2008], Dunbar claims that the USA’s founding fathers created ‘an emphatically Christian government’ and that government should be guided by a ‘biblical litmus test.’ She endorses a belief system that requires ‘any person desiring to govern have a sincere knowledge and appreciation for the Word of God in order to rightly govern (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/religion/6148239.html). Texas Governor Rick Perry (Tea Party/GOP), in the end did not select Dunbar, but one far worse: Gail Lowe.
Gail Lowe is not “just religious” (to the far right) but as one reporter wrote: “Lowe’s penchant for mixing education and political agenda — especially her efforts to cast doubts about evolution and global-warming theories — troubles us as inappropriate” (http://www.wacotrib.com/opin/content/news/opinion/stories/2008/10/14/10142008waceditorial2.html). She is as anti-science as Robert Vander Plaats in Iowa, who matches Adolf Hitler in style and word choice in his attacks on science and education, and 74% of the Tea Party/GOP Senators in the US Senate.
In 2003 and 2009, Ms. Lowe supported dumbing down the state’s public school science curriculum acknowledging that she did not “have a clue” on most educational requirements and needs, but with unrestrained enthusiasm, Lowe voted to include unscientific, creationist criticisms of evolution in science textbooks and curriculum standards. Lowe noted the last science textbook turned down [by the state board] was an environmental science book [that was not in keeping with her Christian Bible]. She went on record as saying “she guarantees she will turn down any book encouraging population removal or blaming global warming on the normal activities of everyday people” (http://tfninsider.org/2008/10/08/gail-lowe-straight-talker/). Lowe’s appointments have all been religious cronies: evangelical extremism, where the student is short-changed in knowledge by having to master biblical principles as if they were in a similar jihadist Islamic school (Madrasah ʿāmmah (Arabic: مدرسة عامة) public schools, or Madrasah dīniyyah (Arabic: مدرسة دينية) religious schools, even Madrasah ʾIslāmiyyah (Arabic: مدرسة إسلامية) Islamic [fundamentalist] schools).
The illiterate right-wing of the Tea Party has always been after transmogrifying and rewriting history, in keeping with their economic supporters (the Koch Brothers) interests in an ill-educated electorate and workforce. To this end Lowe and the Texas Board of Education, like that emerging in Iowa, is prancing gaily for the removal of agriculture union organizer César Chavez, Anne
Hutchinson (baptized July 20, 1591 – August 20, 1643) who became the leader of a dissident church discussion group and began to preach her own interpretation of the Bible, and the first Black U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. The evangelicals demanded that these historic figures be replaced with Sam Houston and Billy Graham, applaud George W. Bush’s war in the Middle East and erase any mention of the LGBT community while glorifying US Senator Joe McCarthy (R-WI) for his witch hunts.
efforts to end the teachers’ unions exposes good teachers to the pressure of vested interest group, such as the Tea Party that wants all qualified and gifted science teachers out of the classroom for fear that they will teach evolution or other material that is contrary to their bibles. Under former Governor Chet Culver (D-IA), the Iowa Department of Education was revamped to include criteria on teacher excellence and encouraged parents to actively participate in the education process, visit classes and their children’s teachers, and become involved in the learning process (http://www.iowa.gov/educate/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1589&Itemid=2369). While bad teachers must be removed from the classroom, good teachers will not stay if they do not have the tools to train the minds of their wards, nor have the opportunity and finances for further studies, or use bad textbooks, dictionaries, and other learning material–all which lies with state legislatures where those states under the control of the Tea Party are cutting back on education essentials while ignoring the real problem leading to student and teacher apathy: the knowledge that their society, their state, does not care (http://oh.aft.org/index.cfm?action=article&articleID=169b0fc4-4115-4bf8-945d-545071d2ed54).
(home of Pat Robertson [and his 700 Club] and Michele Bachman of MN and Cynthia Dunbar of TX in Virginia), Oral Roberts University (Oklahoma), and Bob Jones University (South Carolina) which has as its charter to “instill Christ in the classroom” with a blanket rejection of any scientific finding or an understanding of history. States like Minnesota will issue a restricted license only to a teacher who has already been fully prepared in a teaching field but who needs to complete additional coursework in order to enter from out-of-state or switch to a new field or teaching level. Such a license from Minnesota is only good for one year while the necessary coursework is completed. Others, like Louisiana and Texas, will issue an emergency license to a person who does not even hold a bachelor’s degree, and will renew it for several years while the candidate makes little progress toward becoming licensed and no requirement for a definite date for completing the course work and receiving the diploma.
OH), all of whom are facing recall for their bombardment against the established laws protecting competent teachers in their zeal to end all collective bargaining rights. This means that a student in one state might have only a 50/50 chance of being taught by a teacher who is well-prepared in his field, while in another state, nearly all students are guaranteed a fully prepared teacher. Louisiana is uniquely the worse state in the USA in the area of teachers of science, as the science courses must stress creationism and “expose” the “evils” and lies of evolution, which led to Zack Kopplin calling for a debate against presidential candidate and Canadian born Michele Bachman who trumpets Biblical literalism in all areas of science (http://smd12364.newsvine.com/_news/2011/05/10/6620351-louisiana-students-take-a-stand-against-creationism). The Louisiana State Board of Eduction finally rejected creationism in 2010 (http://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php/culture/education/5440-louisiana-school-board-rejects-creationism), while Bachman has not responded to Kopplin’s challenge.
When a bad or poorly performing teacher is known to the leadership, or concerns are reported by students, the person responsible for the teacher must sit in on several classes to see if the reports justify counseling or expelling / firing the teacher. Textbooks must be reviewed for currency and accuracy–neither partisan nor parochial should be used in any classroom unless there is a second volume that refutes the first so that students are required to make their own judgment on veracity, credibility, and reliability/probability that can be proven more than once from and of the sources required to be studied.
The teacher must be offered the option of visiting with a senior teacher who has a more substantial education, or taking remedial courses at a local college or university–on the time and at the expense of the deficient teacher. When education (or anything) is free, it is taken for granted, used/understood haphazardly, and easily discarded; when a person pays for something of value, such as an education, that individual will study harder, read more, write with greater clarity and accuracy with sources cited (not plagiarized), and speak more eloquently with real information that must be defended and justified especially during a peer-review. All educators must give a public presentation within their subject field to strengthen their own understanding by discussing the subject and also to gain the invaluable feedback of peers and other experts in their field. No teacher has a right to any position because of age, race, or other criteria, nor a right to teach if the teacher is not thoroughly knowledgeable in the area being taught, and that erudition must be known by students and other faculty. Credibility of the speaker is paramount.
To make teaching exciting for both the teacher and the student and to meet the needs, demands, and goals of parents, communities, and governments, scholarship programs must be funded that function like forgivable loans. This will enable fully prepared candidates to move into high-need fields and high-need locations in professions like medicine as well as teaching in poorer areas, weaker school systems, and distressed environments. Teaching must recognize the reality of global warming and climate change despite the millions of dollars thrown against such teaching by those who profit from polluting the earth, air, and waters, be they the Koch Brothers of Kansas or Alabama lumber and mining interests in Perú and throughout South America.
Most Perú schools remain bad as neither the students nor the teachers care–the students are in class to be awarded a degree, and the teachers are in class so that they receive a paycheck. This is especially critical in teaching a foreign language, as when I was in the hospital next to the university where I teach English as a foreign language, I visited with numerous nurses and a dozen doctors–all who told me that they studied English at the local National University–but not a one could say even three words in English that made any sense–and all the nurses had graduated from the National University the year before after completing four years of English studies. It is for that reason that Stephen C. Meyer took a Ph.D. at Cambridge University in the UK in science and history and today is a proponent of ID which has been roundly condemned by all Noble Laureates in science, and all competent historians–still Meyer finds religious and partisan publishing presses that will print his books and give him a veneer of academic respectability and authority.
Education must become a thorough training, not only a four-year (or more) investment in time to gain a diploma. Learning must be open to the true concept of φιλοσοφία (philosophia: philosophy): a love of wisdom / knowledge–not a mere study of the words of Socrates or other thinkers, but the understanding and appreciation of the plethora of all arts and sciences (les sciences et les arts as defined by Jean Jacques Rousseau), of which each is based and grounded in the area of φιλοσοφία. It is the Weltanschauung that is a praxeology (or methodology) or theory of action: “How should we attain our goals?” It is by educating ourselves, our coworkers, our students, our world (cf. Tadeusz Kotarbiński (1929), Elementy teorii poznania, logiki formalnej i metodologii nauk; reissued in 1990 at Wrocław by Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich, 426 p.).