Public education is deteriorating and between the politicians, the education bureaucrats and the unions, it is not likely to be reformed. It will continue to crank out a generous quantity of functional illiterates. But if it were going to be reformed, the first step would be to repeal compulsory attendance laws.
Many of today's parents look upon public schools as a free baby-sitting service. They need to be reprogrammed to the fact that public education is a privilege, not a right and if they send their little hoodlum to school, that is exactly what you will get back home. The message should be, you re an ill-mannered ogre, and you live with it.
Public schools need to flush out the delinquents. Now, if you wish to build separate institutions for them, so be it, but teachers can not be expected to teach academic subjects if they have to also act as surrogate parents, bouncers, psychologists and psychotherapists. Far too many social problems are being dumped into the public schools.
I once considered teaching high school social studies. I was quickly cured of that idea after substitute teaching at a couple junior and senior high schools. Once I was asked to sub in a computer class during the second half of the day. I asked the teacher of that class if I could come in and observe how she connected the class during the morning hours-to see what the norm was. She agreed. It was terrible-she had absolutely no control of the class. A couple of kids were making out in the back of the classroom (I'm talking about getting it on). Paper wads were thrown around and the teacher paid it no mind. Instead she focused her attention in on two girls at the front of the class who were making a concerted effort to learn. I knew then that I was in for a rough time.
That after noon I was kicking kids out of the class left and right and sending them to the office only to have them sent back to me. Soon the office sent me word that I was not to send any more students to them. I told that office to send the students home. They said that the school was a closed campus. I sent word back to them to open it up and send them home anyway.
Classroom discipline should be as tight as a boot camp. Under no circumstances should any pupil be allowed to display rude behavior. Schools and staff should be given sovereign immunity against lawsuits. Suspensions and expulsions should be irrevocable and there should be no appeal. We need higher standards placed on academics.
The present public education system can not sustain this nation. The floodwaters of ignorance and stupidly are rising relentlessly. We have college graduates who do not know eight-grade English grammar or even how many states make up the union. Or what the union is. We have too few engineers, scientists and doctors. There are no more historians. We have grown soft and irresponsible. We are afraid to condemn bad behavior. We are too tolerant of everything and have abandoned all standards of performance and behavior. Unless we determine to set and enforce higher standards, it will continue to deteriorate.