What Isn't Education?

Here is an actual example of a math problem given to a 3rd grader:

Add 26 + 17 by breaking apart numbers to make a ten. Use a number that adds with the 6 in 26 to make a 10.
Since 6 + 4 = 10, use 4.
Think 17 = 4 + 13
Add 26 + 4 = 30
Add 30 + 13 = 43
So, 26 + 17 = 43

This example from an elementary level social studies textbook makes “slavery” sound like a “job opportunity.”

IAS

The following are actual quotes from a book on how to turn bullies into your friends:

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Page 7  “The real reason they bully you is because you get mad and try to stop them. Without realizing it, you are actually making them bully you.”

Page 28 “We may not want to admit it, but bullies tend to have a trait we admire: courage.”

Page 28 “If you understand what bullies want and make them happy, they will stop making you miserable. They can even become your friends.” 

Page 28 “Bullies want respect. Everyone does. If you get mad at them, you are disrespecting them.”

Page 36 “If someone calls you stupid, tell yourself they are saying it not because they want to hurt your feelings but because they want to help you be smarter. So how could you be mad at them? Or if they call you a fatso, it is because they are trying to encourage you to go on a diet. So be appreciative.”

Page 43 “If you don’t want to be the loser and you don’t want to have enemies, you must decide not to defend yourself when someone attacks you.”

The book is 107 pages of similar statements, including advice to the reader to not tell on bullies. The author boasts that he has successfully cracked the bully situation and is an adviser to mental health practitioners and schools across the United States. Yet bully related suicides are at an all time high amongst youth. The statements in this book, in my opinion, are grossly irresponsible.

Any material that is confusing, over complicated, false, prejudiced, and so on, which does not contribute to the student mastering a skill or gaining knowledge that he or she can form a judgement about, should be considered ineffective and dropped from curriculum. I further think the author(s) of such academic confusions should be terminated from their publishing positions and replaced by someone who can effectively write a lesson plan and inspire a student.

In this country, we operate under the arrogance that our educational system is “perfect”. Billions of dollars are poured into our schools with no result. We have replaced phonics with something unworkable and math has become a massive confusion justified as “critical thinking.” Science and social studies have become “brainwashing” subjects where students are molded into a certain way of thinking. And every day, they are diagnosed with various “learning disorders” without anyone ever challenging the textbooks or lessons.

What is needed is a change. Change means “completely new.” And when one changes a flat tire they do not keep ANY of the old tire. Our school system desperately needs a change, not more of what doesn’t work.