Iâ€™ve seen this coming long before No Child Left Behind legislation tried to put a band-aid on the nationâ€™s disgraceful excuse for â€?education.â€?
Actually, I got my first clue when I was still a junior in an Atlanta public high school. It was 1968. My 2300-student-plus, suburban high school was integrated that year. The formerly all-white student and teacher body received three â€” yes, only 3 â€” newly enrolled black students, and one â€” yes, only 1 â€“new black biology teacher. Our new students were just like us in all ways that counted. They dressed like us. They talked like us. They studied like us. Back then, a middle-class American was pretty much interchangeable with every other middle-class American.
But our new black biology teacher was in all ways different from our heretofore all-white teacher brigade. She spoke without regard to the rules of English grammar. She rambled through hours of class time, telling stories from her life rather than teaching. Her tests were either taken from the teacherâ€™s text or were so badly written that no student could even decipher the questions. The complaints about this new teacher flooded the principalâ€™s office. Parents demanded her firing before the school year had even gotten past the first holiday. These parents werenâ€™t racists; they were just responsible citizens demanding qualified teachers.
The teacher stayed. The fix was in. The principal put his â€?integrated facultyâ€? accolade above his studentsâ€™ education.
Parents became surrogate biology teachers or hired tutors. Some of us students took novels to class to dull the boredom. Others passed notes. But no one complained once the new code of silence about the uneducated new black teacher was accepted as Orwellian reality.
The death-of-public-education die had been cast.
[Why the Shock Over Atlanta Teacher Cheating?, Thursday, July 7th, 2011]