Monday, March 14, 2011

Orwellian Education

The mother came to see me first. She explained that her daughter was planning to attend BYU and therefore needed straight A’s. She pointed out that her daughter had assured her that she had an A, and when they had checked the grades on line on Friday, the report showed an A; however, after I had finished putting in all the scores that weekend, she had a B+ instead. I explained that at the end of the quarter I enter extra credit and participation points and also subtract points for those days when the student shows up unprepared. My records showed that this student had missed three class periods and been unprepared four times, the loss of these points would, I explained, account for the fact that she did not earn an A. I pointed out that all this was carefully explained in the “Course Disclosure” and that I did accept extra credit work to make up for emergencies, right up until the last day of the quarter. The mother left my room unhappy.

Later that day, I had a visit from the Vice Principal. She asked me to explain, which I did, she agreed that the student had not earned an A and assured me she would deal with “it”, which she did. But the mother would not give up. She continued to demand that her daughter get an A. The Vice Principal (a job I wouldn’t take for money) told me how the mother complained that it wasn’t fair that her daughter was punished for being unprepared. She pointed out that some of the students lie when asked if they have done their “reading and outlining;” when the Administrator did not at once accept the fact that this made the system unfair to her daughter, the mother demanded: “what do you want me to do, teach my daughter to lie?”

Once, Education had to do with learning; now it has morphed in definition into having A’s on ones report card to get into BYU. This “New Speak” pollution is not yet universal; indeed the majority of my students and their parents still want learning, but the contamination has begun. Like a catalytic reaction or the spread of an infectious plague, the redefining of education into “symbols on file” is pervading our culture.

I have been teaching in public schools for close to three decades. I started out at North Layton Jr. High where I taught six straight 45 minute lectures a day on American History. It was a difficult assignment. I often couldn’t remember which material I had presented, and was often asking my student, “have I talked to you about - - - .” Eighth Graders are not the best History students, their minds have not matured (in most cases) to the point that they can think abstractly or critically. The most common question I got was, “why do I need to know this?” At Christmas the Layton High School Choirs came to sing to our students, in the brilliance and beauty of their performance, the art of their effort I saw what I longed for in students. The next day I submitted my application for a transfer to a high school, any high school, to the District Office. Some time later I found a note in my box, “Call Paul Smith.” I had no idea who Paul Smith was, but I called. The secretary, Cookie Barker, answered the phone, “Layton High, how may I direct your call.” A few days later I was interviewed by my soon to be great Principal, Paul Smith. I would work for Mr. Smith for twenty five wonderful years, but that day was our first meeting and on that day he asked me a fateful question. “Can you coach Debate?” he asked. I had been prepping for just such a question. A year earlier, when I had been asked by the Principal at Preston High in Idaho if I would coach wrestling, I had given a similar answer. “I’ll be the best Debate Coach you ever had.” I replied. He took me at my word and for the next eleven years I did my best. I knew nothing about Debate. That first year was a nightmare. If it hadn’t been for the guidance of Mr. Dave Brimhall, the great teacher who I replaced as Coach, and Mr. Kim Burningham, coach at Bountiful High, I would probably have either died or quit. Instead I wept and muddled through, slowly as the years passed I became more and more successful. Our team began to win a few trophies, no tournaments mind you; just individual trophies, but they meant ever-so-much to me. By my second year, my motto was, “a peace of plastic a week is all I ask.” Debate trophies are almost always made of plastic. It was this drive for trophies at any cost that taught me my greatest lesson as a coach, the key to real education and so much else.

We were at a debate tournament at the Neanderthal school, the Utah Valley School down by Timpanogos cave. In those days I was not allowed in the tab room, but waited in the halls with all the students for the posting of the break rounds. Debate tournaments consist of many competitions in a host of events, Oration, Lincoln Douglas and Policy Debate, Extemporaneous Speaking, and so on. There might be sixty kids competing in each event. After the first three parliamentary rounds the “break round” is posted. In a major tournament, trophies are given to all who make it into the break rounds. Usually a big 1st place award, a somewhat smaller 2nd place and smaller still the 3rd place trophy. The three remaining competitors are given very small, but to me still very precious “finalist” trophies. My first year as coach, Layton High was usually done with the tournament by the beginning of the final rounds because no one ever broke, but this year we were winning a trophy or two a week – all I asked. You might imagine my joy when the “breaks” were posted and Dean Woodland’s name was up as a finalist in extemporaneous speaking. I rushed down the hall to make sure “my champion” had seen the posting. When I found Dean he was not as excited as I had hoped, surely not as excited as I was. “You better check what it took to break,” he said. I know my scores, and I don’t think I did that well. One wants to get the lowest score possible in a debate tournament. Three first place finishes will get you a score of 3 and a guaranteed seat in the finals. Two firsts and a second will get you a score of 4, two seconds and a first a 5 and so on. I dutifully approached the tab room. I made Dean’s request to the fellow accepting the ballots and he headed back into the library which served as the place where all the scores were tabulated and winners and losers decreed. I watched him approach a table where a rather large woman was seated, the scores of speakers cards spread in front of her. She picked up one, checked it and leaped into the air squealing with delight. You see, Dean was right, they had miss-added his score, and the next kid in line to “break” was one of hers. I left her dancing around the library and went to find Dean. I told him that he would be dropped form the final round. I couldn’t resist an angry jab. “If you had just kept your mouth shut, we would at least have won a trophy,” I explained. “Do you think I want a trophy, that every time I look at it says, ‘you’re a cheater’” he replied. What a lesson I learned!

In a discussion generated by Robert Weissberg’s Bad Students NOT Bad Schools, my interlocutor, as Weissberg had predicted many would, called me a racist. My friend insisted that separating students on a basis of ability would be racist. That, since large percentages of students thus “kept back” to master basics would be either Black or Hispanic, such a system would reinstitute segregation. The question is, “does such segregation equal racism?” In our new Orwellian world, does telling kids they are equal make them better than helping them to learn?

Consider a Math class, where there are many students who cannot work with fractions – should they be prevented from advancing to Algebra until they can understand fractions? If I say “yes,” am I a racist? Or isn’t the truth that advancing unprepared students into a study where they would be destined to fail higher math, and then give them phony grades masking their failure be harmful to them? This relativest agenda is New Speak right out of the mouth of Big Brother; the Thought Police in action to support Political Correctness.

In truth, just the opposite is the case. If students are forced into a situation where their only option is failure, (ex. Algebra without understanding of Arithmetic), and are forced into this situation because of their race; this is doing them harm because of their race – the reasonable definition of racism in a world where one goes to school to learn, not to get into BYU. We are forced to ask if we want to give our kids an education that every time they look at it it says, “You’re a cheater.”

I maintained that to keep back children, provide them with the Intellectual Boot Camp preparation that Weissberg advocates, would be empowering, liberating, and in all ways positive. In a real world of learning motivated education, students are given real rewards for real effort; and have the opportunity to build the true self esteem based on real and self earned success.

Finally, I feel the need to comment on the passing of the Advisory Program at our school. Some five years ago, Bill Gates and the Federal Government dreamed up a “solution” to all the problems of education, Small Learning Communities and Advisory. The pumped $1 billion of Gates money and who knows how much taxpayer treasure into the program, and although Gates admitted in 2006 that it was a flop, as long as the money kept coming, schools kept fighting this losing battle to the detriment of students and at the cost of some of our schools finest teachers. The argument was to place students in a sort of “scout troop” where they could learn to love school, get individual help with academics, get information, and form a bond with a caring adult. Like so many panaceas dreamed up by College Professors and others who have long forgotten what actually goes on in schools it was an expensive flop. It actually did harm to education. At last the grant money has run out and we can get back to teaching.

Let me restate my position on this subject.

First I strongly believe that the best place for our students, the place where we can best help them toward all the lofty goals of NCLB and other programs, not to mention the hopes of their parents and the needs of their country, is IN OUR CLASSROOMS. For this reason I recommend that we return to the full class schedule on Wednesday, completely doing away with the Advisory Schedule.

For those few programs that found place in the Advisory Schedule: Registration, Utah Futures, and Assemblies – they could still be held on an Assembly Schedule day, and always on Wednesday. Just not every Wednesday! Let those who utilize and present such programs develop a calendar in the spring and throughout the summer, and publish it at the beginning of the school year. Then all teachers will know when and how to plan. Any time lost by holding registration, on a rotating basis, in English and World Civ. classes will be more than made up by the time returned to our classes by the removal of the odious obligation of Advisory.

As for students needing remediation: it is not practical to rob hours of class work and study time from the majority of students in order to accommodate those few who need such help. The fact is that most of those who need tutoring or other basic help are not the least interested in obtaining it and are neither attend Advisory today, nor will they attend remediation classes. Let all departments take a lead from the Math Department, which offers successful tutoring classes. If the district does not feel that History tutoring is worth extra funds – the truth is, most failing History students do not feel such tutoring classes are worth their time. All teachers should be available before and after school and during lunch periods to help student in need of special attention. If students won’t come before or after school, they won’t come during a torturing session either, if they “can’t” come before or after school, perhaps they need to rethink their priorities.

As for “adult” roll model contact, friendship building, and the host of other pretended goals of Advisory: there are already a host of programs available in the school for every student with every interest; from Sports to Speech, Music, Drama, Business, Key Club, Anime, you name it. Students who have any desire for such support can easily find it in the broad diversity offered by our Comprehensive High School format. Those who do not want it – and sadly there are such kids – cannot be forced into such relationships through the arbitrary assignments of Advisory, or by any other similar program which lacks any mechanism of enforcing participation. All that Advisory has done is provide such students with a “sluff for free” opportunity.

Finally, as classroom teachers, anyone of our faculty is better equipped and enabled to serve the needs of students by our meeting with them every-other-day. In the classroom setting, we are best aware of their needs and best able to induce them to accept help.

Well that’s it: an admittedly somewhat disjointed rant on Education. I hope it will stir those who read to some reflection of this subject. I will attach some twenty-six pages of quotes from Robert Weissberg’s book, Bad Students NOT Bad Schools. The best have a double asterisk (**) the next best a single one (*) and the rest are also worth reading. I highly recommend one read the entire book; it should become the rallying call to educational reform in America.

Bad Students NOT Bad Schools

By Robert Weissberg

Some quotes:


*1. “. . . most of American’s educational woes would vanish if these indifferent, troublesome, students left when they had absorbed as much as they were going to learn . . . Putative [commonly accepted] experts refuse to confront this obvious truth, at least publically, so we lurch from one guaranteed failed reform to the next, squandering hundreds of billions while progress is, we are assured by opportunistic politicians, just over the horizon.” (pg vii)

*2. “Actually, much of the speech-making resembles politics in the old Soviet Union (“full-bodied Marxism,” so to speak) where ambitious apparatchiki assemble in Grand Halls of the People to trade blatant lies about fulfilling quotas.” (pgs x–xi)

Ch 1 – Introduction

3. ““Helping the Children” is today’s Great Society welfare colossus.” (pg 2)

4. “In the case of weight loss, the basic, serviceable formula of eating less, exercising more is too arduous for millions unable to control appetites; substituted instead are cosmetic plastic surgery, stomach staples, diet pills, hypnosis, and gimmick meal plans by the dozen promising instant, effortless slimness. Trying to lose weight often becomes shifting from one promised elixir to the next, just as in “reforming education.” (pg 2)

*5. “American schools have gone from teachers sternly imparting knowledge and punishing slackers (hardly fun but effective) to teachers helping students “discover” what they “already knew” to classrooms where ignorance is flattered to strengthen self-esteems or racial pride which, we are assured, will somehow inspire a thirst for knowledge. If students refuse to read books, add spiffy pictures; if that fails, add color; if that, too, falls short, pay them to read or replace textbooks with video games; and if that, too, is unsuccessful, denounce book learning as only one path to knowledge and hardly suitable for all children.” (pgs 6-7)

6. “For decades American schools successfully prodded students by ways largely verboten today –namely, the threat of corporal punishment, ridicule, shame (the Dunce cap and public tongue lashings), calling in parents to terrify slothful offspring, and countless other proven though politically-incorrect remedies. The bad news is that in their place are iffy “kinder” gimmicks concocted by Education School professors that more resemble entertainment than imparting discipline. This is a world where helping students means shielding them from purely psychological discomfort, let alone harsh criticism. Even forcing youngsters to sit still and silently concentrate as a precondition for learning, a practice central to Japanese schools, is “unacceptable: in today’s climate more attuned to “exciting” students’ “natural” curiosity.” (pg8)

7. “To exaggerate only slightly, if a $500 laptop does little good, updating it with a $1,000 model is pointless. Similarly, if drastically cutting average class size, as has occurred in recent decades, shows no appreciable academic gains, it is wasteful to reduce the number of students yet further.” (pgs 10-11)

*8. “Experts” instead insist that the repetitive exercises incapacitate learning by deadening the brain (derisively labeled “drill and kill). In their place, are “fun” activities that not only are virtually content free but fail to develop tenacity, and without resolve, future failures are inevitable. That these “fun” pet nostrums [questionable remedies] fail is irrelevant; they are supposed to produce, and promise is more important than results” (pg 12)

*9. “. . . – collecting vital data is being subordinated to insulating teachers and administrators from potential bad news. Perhaps education “researchers” dislike the truth, desire rubber yardsticks, and shaky fuzzy measures suffice by making it almost impossible to certify what succeeds or fails.” (pg 19)

*10. “In today’s odd incentive structure openly lying to co-believers can demonstrate political trustworthiness since the blatant falsehood assures supporters that the speaker will do anything to advance the cherished cause? That the public desperately craves easy miracles entices yet more deception. Recall the parallel with bogus diet programs—people crave illusions.” (pg 21)

Ch 2 – Bad Students, Not Bad Schools

1. Analyses of our educational woes abound with stupidities, but if one had to choose the most damaging, it would be that America is plagued by “bad schools.” So, if semi-literate students make zero progress, just move them to a “good school” and, voila, test scores will soar.” (pg 23)

2. “This is yet another triumph of that pernicious 1960’s “don’t blame the victim” mentality and, for good measure, it incorporates into national policy the corrosive mentality debilitating the impoverished (i.e., it is “society’s fault”). (pg 24)

3. “There is also official collusion in covering up loathsome student behavior (versus “the school’s” guilt). In the weird logic of NCLB, administrators are personally punished for having unruly schools so self-interest encourages lying.” (35)

4. “Student indifference and outside distractions creates a downward spiral of low achievement. Faced with bored students, many tried from work, teachers stop making the extra effort to inspire, even just to impart the basics, and this, in turn, confirms to students that schooling is just a waste of time. Meanwhile, professional pedagogues who sense the disengagement attempt to make learning “exciting” with bedazzling textbooks and ancillaries, films and other attention-grabber “fun” stunts to jump-start enthusiasm. Though student might welcome the vacation from “dry” academics, these novelties totally fail to address deeper defects, notably a lack of discipline or an ability to concentrate.” (pg 38)

*5. “And without these essential “grind” qualities, subjects like math and science are “too hard” and academic motivation further wilts. In a sense, by competing with tricks to spike academic curiosity, schools abandon their traditional and inescapably tedious educational role though administrators can readily defend themselves as “trying to be relevant in today’s attention-deficit disorder culture.” If juicing things up fail, just keep reducing the assigned readings and homework to make schooling more palatable, just as a TV producer might dumb-down a TV sitcom and add a few sex jokes to sustain a dwindling audience.” (pg 38)

6. “To repeat, people and their values, not the school’s physical attributes or teacher traits are decisive.” (pg 42)

7. “Tracing university-level success stories back uncovers a familiar pattern—relentless parental pressure toward academic accomplishment.” (pg 44)

8. With scant exception, expert-supplied remedies are either just empty assurances or have proven useless, e.g., bilingual education, culturally inclusive curriculum, lavish funding for smaller classes, high-tech innovations ad infinitum. Bad schools are to be cured by more resources, more resources, and yet more resources. Carefully examining what produces learning, independent of physical setting, and then applying it more generally never occurs to these authorities. One can only imagine if modern medicine embraced this muddle-headed thinking—the sick would receive magic potions and die, but rest assured, the great miracle elixir, genetically engineered super-Eye of Newt, is just around the corner.” (pg 45-46)

9. “To be blunt, shifting troublesome students to “good schools” will almost certainly subvert performance at recipient schools while scarcely uplifting those, allegedly, victimized by rotten instruction. . . Can one honestly insist that bullies and petty thieves will mend their ways if only sent to crime-free schools? A more likely scenario is that they will be energized by easy pickings. This is, sad to say, the equivalent of transferring the sick to a healthy setting and expecting the ill to catch “health.”” (pg49)

*10. “Let us consider a more fruitful but ideologically-awkward remediation. Prior to students from a “failing school” being shipped off to Top Notch High they are assembled and told of their academic inadequacy. Applicants must therefore first complete an academic “boot camp” to acquire discipline, regular study habits, self-control, a knack for dealing with authority politely and all else needed to thrive in awaiting surroundings. Failures will be left behind.” (pgs 50-51)

11. “Woe to the office-seeker whose “education plan” entails tough discipline for disruptive students and hiring no-nonsense teachers. He or she would be booed off the stage as cruel, mean-spirited, and judgmental.” (pg 52)

12. “After all, we now [spend] far more than ever before on education, showering schools with the latest technological gadgets and obtaining endless court orders to pursue social engineering, so the only “solution” is more and more, tripling the wrong medication to cure a misdiagnosed disease. To be blunt, it’s the stupid, stupid or, as we said at the top of this essay, it’s the food.” (pg 52)

Ch 3 – Motivating Students

1. “I doubt whether classical education ever has been or can be successfully carried out without corporal punishment.” George Orwell

*2. Recall that the academic achievement formula requires a high positive value for “student inclination.” Nothing, whether glittering technology or racially-balanced schools, can surmount penchants to cut class, sleep, or otherwise disregard lessons.” (pg53)

*3. “Unfortunately, the pedagogical “how to” literature generally shows guidance to be vacuous, unscientific, and probably more vocationally-beneficial to the advice-giver than exasperated teachers. Efforts to arouse students are hardly doomed; thousands of teachers regularly intellectually awaken the academically lethargic.” (pg 53)

4. “Clearly, for the ACLU and Human Rights Watch, the possibility of racial discrimination outweighs learning.” (pg 55)

*5. “Falsely conflating bubbling enthusiasm with a genuine passion for hard learning, effortlessly seduces reformers desperate to invigorate academic strugglers. . . Youngsters can readily appear “motivated” if everything is playful fun where nobody is criticized, everybody excels, and rewards are everywhere.” (pg 59)

*6. “Traditional education stipulated clear, often just-beyond-reach aims, and the teacher’s job was to press students toward quantifiable objectives, and success was demonstrated by performance on tough subjects and too many giggles might reflect insufficient whip.” (pg 62)

7. “. . . if reading proficiency serves as only one of multiple valid goals, teachers might congratulate themselves for boosting this laggard’s self-esteem and respectful community commitment. This is target shooting when bull’s eyes are drawn afterwards.” (pg 63)

8. “Limiting tactics to inspire an inner passion for knowledge among disadvantaged students may be futile and, more important, ultimately harmful. At best, this “inner” strategy may be appropriate after rudimentary knowledge and good habits have been forcefully instilled.” (pg 67)
*9. “Notably absent in the educational virtues catalogue is any academic yardstick.” (pg 73)

*10. [On how too any manuals embracing this “sticks are bad” since they hurt learning, “self esteem good” vision.] “Most evidently, other than unverified self-congratulation and citations galore, they offer zero scientific evidence that recommendations perform as claimed, and we can be absolutely certain that if confirming data existed, they would be heralded.” (pg 75)

10. “Worse, minimal documentation is a nonissue, an omission that speaks loudly about professional irresponsibility.” (pg 76)

11. “Prescribed “cures” are guaranteed to exacerbate our woes by subordinating arduous learning to psychological uplift. Attending school is to be made fun, an adventure, a cost-free opportunity to explore one’s own opinions (“learner centered” in the jargon), and thus, by implication, if it is too hard it’s not learning.” (pg 76)

12. “If the recommendation are heeded, truly stellar students will be ignored, if not condemned as curve busters, since rewarding high achievement will, say these authorities, make others feel less worthy, less capable, and thus drive unhappy souls yet further into failure. Hailing bright students as heroes, it is alleged, also creates the “false” impression that some forms of achievement outrank others. Predictably, tracking by cognitive capability is harshly denounced. According to one expert (Alderman, 2004, 8) ability grouping denies some students exposure to college- or job-related rigorous material while also depriving them of high-achievement peer pressure. The intellectual cost to bright students by diluting advanced classes or abolishing them altogether is, naturally a non-issue.” (pg 77)

*13. It is “Marxism-lite” at its grandest and reflects the egalitarian dumb-down ideology infusing today’s academy. Do academic experts honestly believe that teachers can extinguish the competitive spirit, keep order among youngsters only by jazzing things up, and achieve universal academic excellence by proclaiming that every child craves arduous assignments and appetites that will surely arrive manana?” (pgs 77-78)

*14. “As far as can be determined, today’s motivation experts just supply “how to entertain” advice, not guidance on making the lethargic day-dreamer master difficult material.” (pg 78)

15. “A former Department of Education researcher (Tomlinson, 1993) characterized this arrangement as a tacit “bargain” in which teachers ease up in exchange for better classroom deportment.” (pg 79)

16. Compare the “make learning fun” mentality with what transpires in Japanese grade schools. Here parents of incoming first graders are informed that children must develop perseverance to perform unpleasant tasks. Teachers thus stress building good habits (e.g., fixed homework periods), and parents must reinforce the practice, practice, practice mentality.” (pg 79)

*17. “There are also hundreds of public and private schools where accomplishment-driven American students could certainly compete effectively with their overseas peers. More important, schools are only one setting where students can gain an appreciation for learning, and are perhaps the lease important. Family life, as stereotypically exemplified by hardnosed, education-obsessed Jewish and Asian parents, undoubtedly far outranks schools, and not even teachers belittling knowledge can subvert this home-based pressure.” (pg 80)

*18. “Today’s schools abound with irony, and none is greater than the contrast between classroom tactics to master demanding tasks versus athletics. That high school sports, especially football and basketball, unlike academics, are serious enterprises with unambiguous, highly-valued outcomes. A high school football coach who inspired his players by relying on innate curiosity to learn positions, refused to let them sprint 100 yards in full gear without resting because many would feel winded, and insisted that even the proverbial 90-pound weakling could excel at defensive end due to his unique non-football verbal talents would be a joke. If he justified defeat after defeat with, “the score is only one measure of accomplishment and perhaps the least important,” a trip to the school psychologist for therapy would be in order.” (p 82)

19. Perhaps this calls to mind an early 1950’s tale regarding the incoming president of the University of Maryland, a school them more famous for championship football teams than academic excellence. His goal, he said, was to build an academic program that the football team could be proud of. He succeeded.” (pg 82)

Ch 4 – Closing the Racial Gap in Academic Achievement

1. “That African-Americans on average lag behind whites in academic proficiency is exceedingly well-documented. Divergences begin before kindergarten, persist, and are ubiquitous across all academic subjects and resist all remediation efforts. By age seventeen this amounts to two to three years of schooling.” (pg 83)

2. [In reference to private schools] “That these were generally safer, stressed discipline, required regular attendance and homework while often having smaller classes made the difference (Ravitch, 1985, Ch 7). Private schools were also more demanding and pushed students harder. Nevertheless, whether these learning-boosting practices can be successfully exported to public schools remains uncertain especially since private schools can more easily expel extreme trouble makers).” (pg85)

3. “The popular Head Start program was initiated in 1965 as a sure-to-succeed panacea to insure the poorer children (especially African-Americans) received all the benefits, from cognitive stimulation to medical attention that would permit them to catch up with middle class cohorts. The estimated cost has been $100 billion since inception, and annually serves some 900,000 deserving children and while its popularity suggests accomplishment, it has failed in its primary mission of boosting academic achievement though it has provided other worthwhile benefits like better health care. . . If Head Start did perform in some mysterious fashion beyond the ken of crude social science methodology, ranges in achievement should have steadily narrowed over the last forty years, and this is certainly not true. ” (pg 87)

**4. “What is revealing about these “expert” suggestions is that they are ad hoc, exhibit almost no overlap, are bereft of details, and reflect zero scientific evidence.” (pg 89)

*5. “This is truly awful social science though politically persuasive (see Hanushek, 2007 for details). The recipe is simple. First, single out few upbeat studies as “relevant” though their applicability is grossly exaggerated (and conveniently ignore contrary results on the study’s own qualifications). Second, assert a causal relationship, not mere correlation so, for instance, demonstrating that better paid teachers and superior results are related is construed as “paying teachers more makes kids smarter.” [Or one could finding evidence that kids in smaller schools evidence superior results and then construe that Small Learning Communities will make kids smarter.] The same logic is then applied to summer programs, full-day kindergarten, small classes, one-on-one tutoring, and professional development (among other interventions). Now, since each of these programs “causes” academic success, and if each is applied over a student’s entire school career, the promised benefits will, it is alleged, be spectacular though extraordinarily expensive. But, who can resist helping the needy? Totally ignored is that the interventions often fail or are cost ineffective given likely meager benefits. Nor do advocates recognize the ceiling effect of these cure-alls. That nations spending far less than the U. S. outperform American schools is irrelevant. Advocates similarly ignore evidence from religious schools thriving on starvation budgets. The solution, “obviously,” is more manic spending until the equality plateau is finally reached-- Sisyphus on court-ordered steroids.” (pg 94)

6. “It may get worse – a lawsuit in Tampa Bay, FL, threatens to make racial gaps illegal, and if civil rights activists win school officials might face the option of cheating, dumbing down tests or face fines or jail time (Tobin, 2007). This is a perfect storm whereby those skilled at manipulating statistics or flattering those desperate to hear good news, survival-of-the-fittest style, rise to the top. Hard-nosed realists, by contrast, will be shunned or forced into silence. Eventually, like some super-predator, charlatans will proliferate and American will painlessly slouch towards stupidity.” (pg 95)

7. “. . . the district’s official explanation for failure is institutional racism, officially defined as “an indirect and largely invisible process that operates automatically and results in less access to services and opportunities of a society based on race” (quoted in Fryer, 2007). Now, just try banishing what is undetectable.” (pg 95)

8. “. . . the grand prize goes to Jack O’Connell, California’s chief of public schools. He announced the gap’s true cause – black youngsters attend churches encouraging parishioners to clap, speak loudly, and be a bit raucous, behavior deemed inappropriate in schools. So, according to O’Connell, if teachers take more sensitivity training to “appreciate” this style, test performances among African-Americans will rise. Not one iota of scientific evidence was offered, including how many young blacks actually attended loud churches.” (pgs 95 – 96)

9. An interesting example from David Whitman’s Sweating the Small stuff: Inner-City Schools and the New Paternalism (2008) “This study shows how several inner-city schools catering to blacks and Hispanics had achieved breathtaking outcomes thanks to imparting a no-nonsense Calvinist work ethic that entails a longer school day, three weeks of summer school, dedicated teacher (who work longer hours than peers elsewhere and can be more easily fired), far fewer class-mates, a dress code, a more demanding curriculum, a forceful principal, strictly-enforced discipline, and no social promotion among multiple other benefits. Unfortunately, upping academic achievement among blacks and Hispanics is not good enough in today’s egalitarian times. Otherwise impressive news is distorted into even better news so as to honor the egalitarian gods. Results from the Calvinist treatment are not compared to white schools receiving the same treatment but to black and Hispanic students in nearby schools who lacked exposure to this Calvinist work ethic. The correct conclusion is that this treatment helps blacks and Hispanics vis-à-vis other blacks and Hispanics. It is thus technically impossible to aver that racial gaps can be closed with these measures. Conceivably, the same help given to white students may exacerbate the achievement gaps.” (pg 96)

*10. “That unchallenging tests exhibit little dispersion while tough ones produce a much wider range can greatly facilitate this deception. A high school spelling exam using “dog” or “cat” will inevitably demonstrate across-the-board spelling excellence. But, substitute items like “pneumatic” and antediluvian” and the range of scores widens. Now for the political bottom line: given racial differences in academic accomplishment (for what ever reason), the tougher the test the wider the race-related gaps. Tough tests bring unwelcome news to the racial egalitarians, always.” (pg 97)

**11. “One third of all states now employ “credit recover” where students unable to graduate can “make up the work” via brief, supposedly intensive sessions (Gootman and Coutts, 2008). . . That “credit recovery” is increasingly being applied with computerized online testing obliviously invites wholesale fraud. Several New York teachers requesting anonymity called this practice a dirty little secret, a joke, that hardly substituted for classroom work but it happily shows that many struggling blacks and Hispanics do “graduate.” (pg 98)

12. “When Michigan found that it had 1,500 “failing schools,” officials promptly adjusted the pass standard from 75 percent to 42 percent correct, and the number of failing schools dropped to 216 (Ladner, 2004).” (pg 99)

*13. “A little thought will show that the most efficient, surefire, so simple that even a caveman can do it way to equalize test scores across all groups is to educate everyone into stupidity.” (pg 100)

14. “The last several decades have seen a paradox in American education: we invest billions; develop endless promising pedagogical innovations, and yet we seem to be going nowhere, even backwards. This paradox is predictable since we glibly confuse what is supposed to work with what actually does work.” (pg 102)

15. “The most forceful version of this mentality, often labeled “fairness,” is that equal outcomes will now require unequal resources given unlike starting points so underachievers will now receive better-qualified teachers, smaller classes, state-of-the-art technology and all else to lift those lagging behind. Beliefs about the power of material resources, versus human capital (i.e., the students themselves), are central, and comparable to insisting that inept basketball teams could become champions if only given better practice facilities and nicer uniforms. . . If this interchangeability of resources were, indeed, correct, the massive court-ordered racial integration schemes of the last forty years should have long narrowed educational gaps, and clearly as we saw, they have failed.” (pg 103)

*16. “As pressure mounts to uplift those lagging behind, it is tempting to fixate on progress at the bottom and, in fact, NCLB made this fixing imperative lest federal funding be withdrawn. But, this bottom fixation need not bring overall educational progress.” (pg 104)

*17. “The pattern has even acquired a name – the Matthew Effect, after the Biblical preacher who spoke (Matthew 13:12) of faith growing stronger among true believers while declining among the less faithful.” (pg 105)

*18. Ceci and Papierno argue that the Matthew Effect can only be prevented by stopping the already advantaged form participating in uplift-the-bottom interventions.” (pg 106)

*19. “This analysis poses an awkward dilemma: pouring money into education will often (though not always) assist the disadvantaged but, if there are gains to be made, they will be made disproportionately by those already several steps ahead. And these multiply the greater the educational investment. One cannot have it both ways: progress for the bottom will be “paid for” by even wider gaps. . . This is comparable to explosive properties producing huge wealth gaps while the poor enjoy what were once luxuries. To insist that burgeoning race-related gaps are morally reprehensible is, to invoke the old adage, cutting off one’s now to spite one’s face. Unfortunately, the dilemma’s true nature and its hidden benefits are typically ignored, and the upshot is confusion as to why we spend ever more and fail to narrow racial differences.” (pg 107)

20. “Good grades and test scores are necessarily interwoven with multiple deeply-rooted Calvinistic inclinations – eschewing momentary pleasures, patience for drudgery, a knack for forced concentration, a tolerance for repeated failure, among others – and, let’s be frank – these are “white” cultural attributes though non-whites, especially Asians, Indians, and many blacks often master them (and millions of whites are clueless).” (pg 108)

21. “Personal responsibly is totally immaterial, if not condemned. So, for learning to occur courts might order integration; legislatures allocate heftier budgets; mayors hold principals accountable; philanthropists sponsor innovative schools; and so on and son on. Somebody, somebody will rescue those unwilling to pay attention. . . Left unsaid is the role of these students themselves, the lack of dedication and focus let alone bad behavior. . . all [solutions] which required committing more government resources plus countless schemes (e.g., role models, accountability, recruiting better, more sensitive teachers, diversity, and raising expectations, among several dozen suggestions) that have all previously failed. But, what is relevant is that nothing, absolutely nothing is said about students themselves who, by implication, are totally blameless.” (pg 112)

Ch. 5 – The “War” on Academic Excellence

1. “Gallagher [Professor of Education at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill] observes that the claim that intelligence is totally determined by heredity has been discredited, an odd assertion since no researcher has ever offered this lopsided view. . . Now, for those glibly wanting to reject any genetic explanations of group differences, no matter how modest, life is simple: just site Gallagher. That he is at a prestigious school, and is endlessly honored, and this wisdom appears in an authoritative Handbook, renders this “truth by acclamation” almost indisputable. Why argue?” (pg 115)

2. “The battle against gifted education is a multi-front war and one of the major lines of attack involves “elitism.” [Example] “Given the current crisis in education, I don’t see creating more schools [for the gifted] that will be elitist, de facto segregated, and won’t contribute to the overall improvement of the school system. I don’t doubt that schools are not serving gifted kids.” (pg 116)

3. In 1995 the Educational Testing Service re-centered its SAT tests to boost test scores without added difficulty so, for example, what was a 425 became a 500. More telling, one could now get a “perfect” 800 with what was previously a 730. When combined with high school grade inflation, it is no wonder that elite schools have problems sorting out applicants – unlike their parents, today’s applicants appear almost uniformly-terrific academically.” (pg 116)

*4. “If what we are trying to do is measure not accomplishment but giftedness and talent, then putting your thumb on the scale or adding point[s] for kids from low-income backgrounds re-equalizes things. The question is how heavy should the thumb be? (Quoted in Meyer, 2008). In this Newspeak, cheating becomes “equality” as if schooling was golf and players all had handicaps to ensure competitiveness.” (pg 117)

5. The National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest teachers’’ union, is often in the forefront of this anti-intellectual campaign. Immediately after Congress enacted George W. Bush’s NCLB with its stress on reading and mathematical proficiency, the NEA attacked even the effort to promote core academic skills, the gateway to proficiency. The NEA instead prefers “Multiple measures,’ all of them “soft,” notably portfolio assessment (often amalgams of drawings, writing, and varied projects) bereft of right or wrong answers (Holland, 2007). The NEA president, Reg Weaver condemned NCLB’s tests as nothing more than measuring an ability to regurgitate facts, as if facts were unimportant.” (pg 117)

*6. “Paradoxically, this race-sensitive cosmology justifies the very segregation that most blacks revile. Racially-distinctive psychology would certainly justify excluding many blacks from traditional programs largely attracting whites and Asians.” (pg 119)

7. “When New York City sought to expand gifted programs into poorer neighborhoods by screening all kindergarteners, a step that would surely uncover some undetected smart but poor kids, the Dean of Stanford’s School of Education denounced this effort with “Testing young children for gifted classes most likely will increase inequalities” (Gootman and Gebeloff, 2008) From this egalitarian perspective, either everyone moves up or nobody moves up. (pg 121)

8. “A classroom of these freshly-reclassified grab-bag “gifted” children may now include those struggling to read but who display great talent for drums and tubas. Meanwhile, a shy young girl capable of college-level math will unlikely ever learn anything now a loud talkative boys obsessed with break dancing (bodily kinesthetic intelligence) dominate the class. (pg 123)

9. “A more appropriate label would be “talent” and many large cities offer special high school programs for drama music, and art. Schools routinely hold auditions for bands and plays, and nobody complains that these are elitist, undemocratic, or unfair. The schools marching band is, in effect a class for the musically talented. Perhaps the most ruthless talent screening occurs in sports, and to insist that, “everybody should be on the football team since every one is equally talented, albeit with different skills and all proficiencies contribute” might be construed as a sign of a dangerous mental illness.” (pg 123)

*10. “No doubt, this well-intentioned inclusiveness held back the truly gifted whose classes had to be slowed to accommodate those whose intelligence may be illusionary. These putative beneficiaries are probably also academically overwhelmed, so everybody loses, smart and not so smart alike.” (pg 125)

11. “ When assuming her position she [Beth O’Shea, head of the Nashville gifted program] announced that what was good for gifted children is good for all children, so all children should have access to superior resources. And this will include advanced level sources such as pre-algebra and foreign languages. That many Nashville pupils, according to NCLB, cannot currently master the basics, one can only wonder how pre-algebra will boost math proficiency among those perplexed by arithmetic.” (pg 125)

12. “Excellence may require brains but is also requires diligence, self-discipline and an appreciation of intellectual accomplishment.” (pgs 125-126)

*12. “Unfortunately, fans of self-esteem uber alles fail to demonstrate how this refocus improves learning unless one redefines “learning” to include “believing that one is smart.” (pr 126)

13. “Perfecting one’ bodily-kinesthetic gifts may [be] the polite way for students to waste time at sports while they should be mastering algebra. Redefining and expanding “gifted” also subverts genuine learning by rationalizing anti-intellectualism, sloth insubordination, and rejecting “Calvinist” traits vital to academic success.” (pgs 126-127)

14. “Likewise, according to this perspective, a student “gets” a world-class education not by hard work and brains but just by attending a world-class school, just as one gets a gourmet meal by going to a three-star restaurant. Even to suggest that stellar mathematical accomplishment is earned might “offend” sixth graders struggling with decimals. Why should nerds hog all the best teachers, science labs, and computers to as to “get” smarts?” (pg 128)

15. “Matters at the city’s [New York] grade schools are hardly any better one New York City school district superintendent even banned spelling bees, competitive science fairs, honors programs, and classroom ability groupings so as not to rattle anybody’s self-esteem (and she moved up the administrative career ladder after promoting these policies. . . Under pressure from parents to have a[t] least some measures of academic achievement, one Bronx educator re-instituted science fairs after previously abolishing them) but banned prizes to protect participants’ egos. (Wolf, 2006)”

*16. “The gist of these findings is that NCLB’s relentless pressure to uplift the bottom and close racial gaps in achievement has emaciated gifted programs. Chalk up another confirmation of the Law of Unintended Consequences – when NCLB was enacted, supporters hailed it as rescuing American education and while it may have helped push dismal students towards marginal mediocrity, much of this uncertain progress has been “paid” with neglecting future academic stars. . . Most plainly, while the math and reading scores of the bottoms 10 percent have shown some modest (and uneven) improvement since NCLB, scores of the top 10 percent have remained virtually flat. All the extra billions, administrative edicts, volumes of paperwork, pressures for accountability, and countless other burdens have had zero impact on the brainiest students in exchange for small gains at the bottom” (pg 132)

17. “No matter how much money is squandered on the bottom, acknowledging this wastefulness and suggesting that smart kids deserve a few crumbs from the table is unthinkable in today’s egalitarian political climate” (pg 133)

18. “The almost invisible shift in thinking about “gifted” that occurred between Sputnik and today’s egalitarianism is indisputable. Helping a few Whiz Kids master quantum mechanics so as to protect us from Soviet rockets became inch by inch moving the entire school population, but especially those at the very bottom, up a few notches.” (pg 137)

19. “A 1993 Department of Education report deceptively entitled National Excellence; A Case for Developing America’s Talent spoke of how we as a nation were squandering intellectual talent, and this wastefulness was especially server among the economically disadvantaged and minority students. This is pure early Bolshevik speech-making about turning the children of proletarians into brilliant scientists. One might guess that stupidity is infectious, so experts endlessly fussing over dullards succumb to muddled thinking.” (pg 137)

*20. “The “free” federal money lure may further dilute remaining traditional gifted programs and thus hold back the truly smart. Imagine young Newtons suffering while the exasperated teacher explains why geometry requires master to those disdaining math?” (pg 137)

21. “To repeat for the umpteenth time: it is just far easier to hire off-the-shelf superbly-trained Indians dying to come to America than prod domestic high schoolers to master calculus.” (pg 140)

22. “ The simplest, and certainly most effective (and cheapest), would be to extend nationally New York state’s 1971 law mandating objective tests as the exclusive requirement for admission to the City’s elite math and science high schools. Laws will no transform dolts into geniuses or even wake up a daydreaming future Kepler, but at least they will ensure that budding scientists and engineers do not languish in the name of “equality.” (pg 142)

Ch 6 – The Museum of Failed Educational Reforms

1. “Proposing dubious if not guaranteed-to-fail transformations has erupted into a national obsession. Nothing seems to work and we often resemble a desperate alcoholic rummaging through the pantry looking for a buzz. Even if students are no worse than before, we spend unnecessary billions for mediocre out comes, money certainly better applied elsewhere.” (pg 145)

2. “Ironically virtually every contemporary educational calamity was once heralded as the Messiah only to be discarded as a new and improved Messiah arrived. Among others, today’s oft-criticized mega factory-like high school with its jumbled potpourri of electives was, at least according to Harvard’s President, James B. Conant, the answer to the resource-deficient undersized scattered rural school. Now private foundations subsidize small, often theme-based “personal” high schools as supposed pathways to academic proficiency. . . A similar dialectic applies to treating schools as vocational training versus “impractical” traditional liberal arts.” (pgs 145-146)

3. “Let’s begin on the ideological left. Critics of “Progressive Education” have had a justifiable feeding fest in cataloguing widely-adopted “made-in-the-academy,” professional-certified Progressive schemes that have, apparently, debilitated millions form achieving once-common basic academic competence. . . Prominent failure-engendering tactics include (1) teaching students “at their own pace” (children learn only when they want to learn); (2) “child-centered schooling” (tailoring subject matter to each child’s peculiarities); (3) “constructivism” (children autonomously discover knowledge and this acquisition outshines what teachers bestow); (4) “open classroom” (students are unguided and meander [ramble] at their own pace); (5) teaching “critical thinking” independent of imparting “mere facts;” (6) “culturally-sensitive” curricula based on racial and ethnic traits, not vital common knowledge; (7) “Hands-on learning” (the superiority of physical activity versus mental exertion); and, (8) self-esteem by avoiding the inescapable pain that comes with genuine learning.” (pg 148)

4. “Particularly evil for Hirsch [E. D. Hirsch author of The Schools We Need, and Why We Don’t Have them] is our Education School-concocted aversion to factual knowledge in favor of content-free “learning how to learn” plus the dogmatic belief that youngsters can be trusted to learn autonomously. Both philosophies, Hirsch insists, probably correctly, inevitably foster ignorance.” (pg 148)

5. “American public schools perform reasonably, sometimes exceptionally well, in spite of reformers’ “best efforts.” There are also moral tribulations here. Today’s students, especially African-Americans, are often treated as cheap, expendable laboratory research animals subject to endless and hastily-conceived experiments as if trying some fashionable gimmick in lieu of proven traditional approaches was risk free.” (pg 149)

*6. “Perhaps like a comet, dubious panaceas travel on mysterious periodic cycles; so that what disappoints today will be rediscovered a few decades later, fail again, be forgotten, and then inexplicably reappear.” (pg 150)

*7. “Americans are optimists, and infatuations with glittering promising novelties can, unfortunately, help avoid painful realities. It is just socially unacceptable, if not injurious to our national self-esteem, to confess that mediocrity is tolerable since that is really what most parents and students want.” (pg 150)

*8. Perhaps nowhere is irresponsibility more encompassing than among academics in education-related fields. Almost every university career incentive distances researchers from actual outcomes, a sure recipe for ineffectual prescriptions. Academic survival, at least at prestigious schools that shape “serious intellectual discussion,” means publication (and related professional activity like conference presentations and grant getting), not enhanced K-12 academic attainment. (pg 152)

*9. “The unfettered search for truth is thus subordinate to personal economic survival.” (pg 152)

10. “In a pinch, a visiting “education mayor” with reporters in tow can observe carefully stage-managed “progress” as coached third graders recite Shakespeare to adoring teachers in squeaky-clean classrooms.” (pg 152)

*11. “. . . underlings bringing bad news; the Emperor’s New Clothes parable applies to educators with a vengeance . . . It is unlikely that any ambitious subordinate ever tried to convince President Bush and his congressional supporters that NCLB invited wholesale data fabrication. Where evidence of failure may be decades away and readily muddied by statistical dexterity, whistle-blower honesty invites professional suicide. Brutal frankness might even be castigated as “disloyalty.” . . . Cassandras are not invited to the ball; optimism in the face of almost-guaranteed failure is a prerequisite for those with an opportunistic bent.” (pg 153)

12. “The far distant federal government’s growing educational responsibilities makes a bad situation even worse. As any economist will confirm, “free money” promotes frivolity, and this certainly applies for putative education reform. Specifically, here local outcomes and made in Washington budgets are disconnected, local programs are readily judged less by demonstrable utility than by the “Washington will pay for it, so let’s do it” criteria. If “free “ Washington money suddenly dries up, political agitation might yet again restore millions in addiction-sustaining grants, It certainly makes better economic (though uncertain educational) sense to lobby for state or federal handouts, even when strings are attached, versus increasing one’s own local property taxes.” (pg 154)

13. “Of the utmost importance, there is negligible professional gate keeping if there is money to be had. Outside self-appointed experts may have little appreciation of the obstacles daily facing teachers and administrators, let alone the politically-protected bureaucratic inertia in every school district.” (pg 158)

14. “These inescapable complexities unfortunately get swept away in the frantic quest for “something that might work.” (pg 159)

15. “To repeat, nothing exists in education that cannot be twisted into “reform” and as we tirelessly repeat, last year’s reform is often this year’s vexation, and since no mechanisms exist to certify “reform” viruses imposters, incoherence and failure are to be expected.” (pg 160)

16. “Educational research is light years away form the physical sciences. Its jumbled nature ensures that multiple researchers can examine the same data yet reach different conclusions regarding outcomes and, to paraphrase Newton, for every finding there is an equal and opposite finding . . . if a prize were awarded the world’s most confusing, contradictory if not acrimonious research literature, the “what works in education” would win hands down.” (pg 160)

**17. “Research confusion makes it almost impossible to “kill’ failed reforms regardless of the damage . . . Being an “educational reformer” means never having to say “I was wrong.”” (pg 161)

18. “No foundation risks trouble if its gifts have zero or even negative impacts, and even horrific publicity is financially inconsequential for foundation survival . . . “Improving America’s education” is also such a daunting and murky task that expectations of success are so low that failure is not stigmatized. Just “trying” generally suffices where disenchantment is customary and no unambiguous benchmarks signal victory . . . Perhaps only “creating world peace” outranks reversing our educational calamities as lifetime employment.” (pgs 164 -165)

**19. “The Gates Foundation has poured $1 billion into 1,500 “small learning communities” and the executive director of the foundation publicly confessed that this was a waste – learning was no better that at traditional schools. (Klein 2006). A version of the Golden Rule prevails: he (or she) who has the gold makes the rules. The billionaire founder might solicit expertise, even heed it, but effective policy making is optional. If staff members disagree, just hire more compliant ones. A foundation can quickly become a platform for doomed-to-fail schemes, and if people take the money, there is no corrective.” (pg 168)

**20. “Recall how Bill Gates wasted $1 billion on small schools that proved no better than larger ones.” (pg 169)

21. “The most skilled, energetic administrator may not be able to motivate miscreants.” (pg 171)

Ch 7 – Business-like Solutions to Academic Insufficiency

*1. “Naturally, as technology progressed, and automobiles replaced horse-drawn buggies, so did claims for imminent shortcut miracles to similarly upgrade learning. Just look at what works in commerce write the check and these scores would skyrocket thanks to radio, riveting educational films, closed-circuit television, slide projectors, tape recorders, pre-recorded language lessons, hand calculators, video recorders, and, today, computers and the Internet. Unfortunately, technologically-minded reformers who look to business for inspiration rarely notice that academic performance has gone nowhere or declined as the marketplace grow evermore wondrous.” (pgs 177-178)

2. “In Dorset’s well-furnished Learning Center supervised by “instructional managers” (not “old-fashioned” teachers), each pupil had their own filmstrip and record, put on a headset, logged in to Dorsett’s computer-like teaching machines, and if they mastered the day’s lesson, the reward was ten Green Stamps.” (pg 179)

3. “The coup de grace was that the contract system failed to boost learning vis-à-vis traditional classrooms. Government payments over and above normal education budgets brought careful auditing by both Washington and private organizations like the Rand and the Battelle Memorial Institute, and the news was bad. Comparative studies found that performance contracting classes did less well than comparable classes relying on traditional pedagogy. By 1975 this “sure-fire” approach to uplift disadvantaged children via technology and cutting-edge business expertise ceased entirely.” (pg 180)

4. Though this initial “something” was enhanced traditional academic achievement, including hard-nosed tests to assess progress towards specific learning targets, the reform was soon transformed into something quite the opposite. Proficiency in mathematics, science and literature soon gave way to assessments in “soft” accomplishments streseing feelings and social views.” (pgs 180-181)

5. “Equally relevant, few who enter teaching seek riches, so a few thousand dollars more in the wrong carrot. Surveys of teachers find that teachers primarily justify their professional choices with psychic – not financial – benefits, for example, job satisfaction or wanting to help children (summarized in Coulson, 1999, 139). Ample vacations and relatively short workdays are also attractive lures, and many competent teachers might change jobs or flee the profession altogether if excessive pressured to spend more time helping students.” (pg 182)

*6. “The script is totally predicable: school critics demand a salary-based teaching meritocracy (“it works perfectly in business”), and the teachers (and unions) justifiably resist by insisting that professional certification and tenure review adequately (though not entirely) culls out incompetence, unequal pay breeds morale-destroying strife administrative judgments will be capricious, selective rewards makes progress a zero-sum game, evaluations involve excessive paperwork, and, most persuasively a few extra dollars per week will scarcely alter behavior, especially when most teacher are already doing their best under trying circumstances.” (pg 183)

*7. “To repeat, no hard evidence exists that incorrigible sloth can be reversed by bribing teachers, at least within permissible monetary ranges. Given what teacher themselves say about personal motivation, the most effective incentive might be to fill classrooms with students dying to learn!” (pg 184)

*8. “Again, limits on cognitive ability and insufficient motivation cannot be overcome, even with generous bribes.” (pg 188)

9. “Critics argue, probably correctly, that linking learning to instant payoffs can only undermine long-term appreciation for education (“why learn if I’m no longer paid?). This tactic also permits an easy escape form confronting harsh reality since it can always be argued that the bribery was too small or should consist of other incentives.” (pg 188)

10. “While accountability [G. W. Bush’s NCLB] is abstractly alluring, the principle itself says nothing about how newly inspired teachers are to push pupils to greater accomplishment . . . Teachers and administrators are on their own, making it up as they go along, and hoping for the best, and it is uncertain whether a successful teacher can pass on what succeeds other than informally advise coworkers . . . It is just far more enticing to quarrel endlessly about administrative minutia over rewards and punishments as if “everybody” know that malingering teachers possess magic bullets to boost performance [if they would just use them].” (pg 190)

11. “Again, nothing is said how teachers, many of whom are assumed to be sleep-walkers, are to accomplish the newly-demanded, and exceedingly-tough, mission.”

*12. “To be frank, though exceptions certainly must exist, the technique that NCLB offers to teacher is to teach the test, and while this approach does impart knowledge, it is a far cry form supplying an effective teaching repertoire.” (pg 191)

*20. “. . . many historically-proven remedies for sloth, e.g., shame and humiliation, are now expressly forbidden.” (pg 191)

21. “Few teachers are heroic figures, and even a miracle worker may only get a “D: student to do “C” work. The reverse is more plausible – intractable students make for zombie teachers, not the other way around.” (pg 191)

**22. “Inner satisfaction – feeling good about oneself for a job well-done – can far outshine a dollar per hour extra. The experience of having a former student express profound gratitude, a “you changed my life” note, can keep the fires burning for years. Experienced teachers relish this feedback, but school chancellors and frantic mayors are, unfortunately, clueless about this motivation while today’s job qualification tests are not geared to attract such inner-motivated teachers.” (pg 192)

**23. “Ironically, transforming teaching into an economic piecework enterprise may do more harm than good by attracting only those motivated by money while discouraging those inspired by imparting knowledge.” (pg 192)

24. “Targeting cohorts, not individuals, is almost an invitation to subterfuge since cohort composition can be malleable, that is, recruit a few bright students, subtract a few less able, reclassify a few malingerers as “disabled” so as to excuse them from testing, and suddenly, as if a teaching miracle transpired, scores are up.” (pg 196)

25. “To repeat a by now familiar point, testing in American education has evolved into a tactic to placate varied interests, not measure some well-defined learning according to a strict standard.” (pg 201)

*26. “One can only conclude that Bloomberg and Klein [Mayor of NYC and its Chancellor of Education] just don’t care about academic excellence and believe that public is so stupid that the ruse will satisfy parents who conflate a convoluted “A” with genuine learning.” (pg 201)

**27. “A never-voiced irony is that a superb, effective and easy-to-implement accountability system already exists in New York City and every other school in America. It is, moreover, cheap, statistically reliable and produces absolutely transparent results for individual students. It is called grades and it makes students, not schools, accountable. Here’s how it works. First, teachers assign tasks, students perform them, and teachers decide who gets what grade. Those who excel gain personal satisfaction and perhaps classmate respect. A few build stellar academic records and eventually enter college. Laggards, by contrast, receive extra help or are stigmatized for laziness. This “innovative” system can be customized to the unique abilities of every student. Teachers know who can do what, and thus might shower praise on a less-talented student who does “B” works while pushing the class brain who lazily earns a “B.” This “reward good students, punish the bad ones” system also costs less than the $88 million per school district and teachers have already mastered it. And unlike what is offered by Joel “The Terminator” Klein [NYC Chancellor of Education], cheating, other that plain-to-see grade-inflation, is usually caught and punished, and teachers being teachers – not lucre-motivated commissioned salespeople – can gain immense personal satisfaction, not perhaps a dollar per hour more, by witnessing youngsters learn.” (pg 202)

Ch 8 – The alluring Choice Solution or Why Educating Students Is Not Manufacturing Cheap Flat Screen TVs

1. The real problem is not lack of supply; it is insufficient demand for academic achievement.” (pg 205)

2. “Slackers avoiding today’s ample, often free opportunities to learn will not suddenly acquire academic appetites if enjoying an even wider option menu. Nor will many parents of struggling students make even the small effort to help Junior utilize the new-found opportunities.” (pg 206)

3. “Thus, to insist that Americans truly crave academic excellence but just don’t seem able to find it is preposterous. They just don’t want it, at least if it requires unpleasant work or modest personal sacrifices.” (pg 208)

4. “Defenders of adding yet more “choice” would, of course, insist that this private tutoring is beyond struggling students in poor neighborhoods. This is absolutely false – under NCLB it was freely available until late 2008 to students in “failing” schools, and at no coast but, with few exceptions, students just rejected it Even thousands of entrepreneurs who stood to gain financially could not entice these youngsters to enroll, let alone complete the courses.” (pg 209)

5. “Let there be no mistake: consumer choice and academic excellence are not identical and may even be antithetical. (pg 211)

6. Friedman [author of Capitalism and Freedom] hardly disdains academic excellence; rather, the two ideas now inseparably linked in the minds of countless free-market reformers – choice and stellar academic – were never connected by the champion of vouchers. Friedman only claims that school choice will enhance parental control over their children’s education and thus enhance personal freedom. . . There is nothing logical about this link and while choice advocates routinely invoke Friedman’s towering prestige (he is a Nobel Prize winner) and readily suggest alluring economic analogies, the academic benefit of choice is but a hypothesis and a iffy one at that.” (pgs 211- 212)

7. “Competition, no matter how fervent, cannot surmount the laws of physics, the laws of economics or reverse human nature. Markets are wonderful for expanding choice but not for performing the impossible (pg 212)

8. “That is, already huge educational outlays and the myriad (failed) reforms depicted in Chapter 6 suggest that with existing levels of intellectual talent a point of diminishing return may have been reached years ago.” (pg 212)

**9. “To reiterate yet one more time, millions of students and parents surely crave a first-rate schooling but simply refuse to pay necessary, often painful cost, i.e., arduous study versus socializing, even if the formula were handed to them.” (pg 213)

**10. “If such troubled students were admitted (and with scholarship, too), full-pay parents of high achievers might rightfully complain of new-found discipline problems, excessive time wasted on review, the hiring of expensive non-academic support staff, all of which detracts from the school’s advertised narrow aim.” (pgs 213-214)

**11. “School policy is big business and careers can depend on results, and with the underlying phenomena so complicated, it is all too easy to shade finding, in the final analysis political muscle, not objective science, will probably determine policy” (pgs 218-219)

12. The choice/academic excellence disconnect is readily visible in thousands of American colleges, all of whom, like charter schools, compete for enrollees bringing their own funds (i.e., vouchers). Here intellectual pursuits are seldom paramount thought, to be sure, all colleges possess libraries, offer courses, hire professors, and grant academic degrees. But it is widely recognized that the academically-elite schools are few in number. Innumerable colleges enjoy well-earned reputations as party schools, centers for libertine “alternative life-styles,” sports factories, degree mils, comfortable surroundings to acquire future spouses, opportunities for networking, and even possibilities for college credit political activism. Hundred of schools subordinate solid scholarship to religious devotion and consciously reject mainstream science in favor of theological orthodoxy.” (pg 220)

*13. “The world is filled with adults who decades later appreciated receiving a once-loathed education (or kick themselves for skipping Latin).” (pg 221)

14. “It is always assumed that parents, even those befuddled by earning a living and staying out of legal trouble can choose wisely when it comes to education Pro-choice researchers also glibly assume that first-rate education is truly desired. Needless to say, both assertions – sufficient decision-making skill and desire for academic excellence – are highly debatable.” (pg 228)

**15. “Expanding choice will not cure academic insufficiency and it may even open the door to extensive quackery. Nor is it absolutely vital to academic excellence since the smartest of the smart can now find what they want even if “imprisoned” in state monopoly schools.” (pg 230)

**16. “In economic terms, for the umpteenth time, it’s the lack of demand, not inadequate supply that drives our dismal achievement.”
17. “Choice may occasionally improve academic performance, and some choice advocates sincerely insist that academics are paramount, but – to reiterate – this aim may only be the public rationale. In this unstated scenario today’s public school obsession with multiculturalism, “social justice,” race and gender oppression, secularism, anti-Americanism, and similar subversive radical views can only be defeated by breaking the government’s education monopoly.” (pg 231)

18. “At the minimum it will free schools from wasteful political battles (e.g., so-called “curriculum wars”) and educators can now concentrate on education. Hopefully, such “free time” will bring improved academic performance.” (pg 232)

Ch 9 – Reforming Education Is the New Great Society and Why Fixing Schools May Well Subvert the Social Peace

1. “That today’s educators keep spending ever more money without much academic gain is one of today’s great anomalies. This oddity is hardly a mystery, however: much of what is labeled “education” is less about enhancing learning than enlarging the current social welfare system which, in turn, helps keep the peace.” (pg 233)

2. “The City Department of Education has fourteen Temporary Reassignment Centers,” (more commonly known as “Rubber Rooms”) for teachers (plus assorted guidance counselors, psychologists, even secretaries) not teaching but still on the payroll (average salary is about $70,000 per year). A spate of newspaper exposes in 2008 estimated the number at about 700 with the cost ranging from $40 million to $65 million per year though the local union claims that “only” $18.7 million is spent (Einhorn, May 4, 2008; Breen, May 5, 2008). These Rubber Room occupants, all drawing full pay and benefits, include those who cannot find employment within the system since no school wants employees disciplined for infractions ranging from chronic lateness to sexual impropriety.” (pg 237)

3. “The aim should be changing the culture form one where budgetary expansion indicates progress to honoring those able to trim without hurting actual learning.” (pg 240)

4. “Moreover, the students-to-teacher ratios over the last half-century have fallen shapely, and with no academic improvement, despite the oft-repeated claim that smaller classes would do the trick.” (pg 241)

5. “Custodians are forbidden to do all but the most minor repair work, leaving the tasks to union carpenters, union electricians, and other specialists.” (pg 243)

6. “The “children can’t learn on an empty stomach” claim is hardly self-evident given that students once survived – even thrived – without school-supplied meals. . . The schools gastronomic commitment means hiring kitchen staff, clerks to order food and equipment, dieticians to plan meals and supervise special dietary needs, accountants to monitor expenses and payroll, extra custodians, lunchroom monitors to prevent food fights, inspectors to report rats and improper food preparation, plus central administrators to handle Depart met of Agriculture subsidies. . . No doubt, a small fortune could be saved by giving students free McDonald’s or Burger King gift certificates.” (pgs 244- 245)

7. “Finally, in 1996, with bipartisan support, congress ended this cycle by permitting states to restrict time on welfare while requiring job training and employment as a precondition for assistance. Support for welfare reform reflected both a moral imperative – punish sloth – and the practical realization that long-term generosity sustained human misery. Thanks to reform, welfare rolls dropped sharply and once “incurable” pathologies declined.” (pg 249)

8. “When expanding jobs for “education” nothing outranks the strategy of pushing students to remain in school – it is the full employment perpetual motion machine and has been growing thanks to NCLB rewarding retention.” (pg 251)

**9. “This “body-count” obsession may put food on the table but it is a horrendously wasteful academic quality benchmark, a measure akin to Soviet factories filling production quotas by manufacturing millions of ill-fitting left shoes.” (pg 251)

10. “Actually, accurate figures are unreachable, and numerous incentives exist to fudge the data, so we squander huge resources not knowing what we are accomplishing. An odd parallel exists between America’s dropout statistics and Soviet-era industrial production figures.” (pg 252)

11. “For one, the U. S. economy has grown substantially while millions flee school and, conceivably, the skills contributing to this growth have nothing to do with a diploma.” (pg 252)

12. No educational system, past or present, ever judged educational progress by the more-the-merrier criterion, and justifiably so. European schools routinely permit students who would be likely drop outs by American standards to leave school by fifteen or so. (pg 252-253)

13. “Some – perhaps most – youngsters abhor school, and they cannot be convinced otherwise.” (pg 253)

14. “This is, if the marketplace will now be flooded with recently manufactured “graduates” so the degree’s value is necessary diluted (simple supply and demand).” (pg 253)

15. “Claiming that “having a degree” in and of itself bestows knowledge and motivation is akin to primitive people believing that pen ownership signifies literacy.” (pg 254)

16. “The time-honored “let them drop out and see what happens, then welcome them back” solution was probably unthinkable – no jobs there.” (pg 254)

**17. “Letting millions easily flee versus holding them back will trim down the required number of teachers, free up classroom space, and permit schools to fire countless administrators specializing n retention. School safety costs would also be lowered and, critically, those remaining might learn more thanks to teacher freed of trying to teach those rejecting education. All and all, a tax-saving bonanza.” (pg 256)

18. “Keep in mind that research on drop outs has been ongoing for years while the drop out rate has soared.” (pg 256)

19. “Perhaps requiring potential dropouts to enroll in for-profit vocational schools (which are often cheaper than public schools) is a more efficient, cost-effective strategy. Hiring more police and tougher law enforcement may reduce criminality more cheaply than “fighting crime” by forcing student to stay in school. . . In fact, deporting students here illegally may be [the] cheapest solution to many of our social tribulations versus spending even more to keep them in school.” (pg 257)

20. “A country benefits from asking its students to remain a longer period of time only if students are learning something as a consequence. (pg 257)

*21 “Moreover, American schools are geniuses at offering empty calorie classes that entice bodies from fleeing. . . It resembles the old Soviet era factory adage” they pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work.” (pg 257)

22. Though the millions will undoubtedly be spent (hundreds of conferences require ample hotel rooms, food and drink, speaker fees, planning costs, and transportation) it is difficult to see how the assorted personalities, all representing divergent constituencies can agree on anything, let alone discover what works when offered proposals have terrible track records.” (pg 258)

**23. “Graduating those prone to flight can also be an economic boon to fourth-rate colleges, especially enrollment-driven community colleges.” (pg 259)

24. “The research confirms what every college instructor already knows – those unable to do college-level math or read complicated material cannot be upgraded by extra attention.” (pg 261)

25. “Job apprenticeships, a traditional cure for those hankering to escape school never emerges in laments about wasting essential national talent.” (pg 261)

26. ““Educational reform” is a tactic, perhaps a cynical one, of social control, and tranquility, not a path toward higher test scores. Frustrated reformers are thus applying the wrong yardstick.” (pg 262)

*27. “Reformers and most educators live in different universes, the former see education as primarily about academics while the later see it as a source of jobs, and east is east, and west is west, the twain shall never meet.” (pg 265)

Ch – 10 Hope?

1. “So, with America being a democracy, the required diligence cannot be government imposed. We get what we want, and top-notch schooling is just not our national obsession. For millions of Americans a championship football or basketball team may be more appreciated than, say, a dozen Merit scholarships, and rest assured, if given a chance, hoards of Youngsters will skip math classes to secure a spot on championship team rosters.” (pgs 267-268)

**2. “Achievement = 8 Intelligence X 4 Motivation X Resources X Pedagogy X Instruction.” (pg 268)

3. “Pouring billions more into spiffier schools, higher teacher’s pay, accountability incentives, more choice, and new instructional gimmicks (among hundreds of alleged panaceas) will scarcely help without touching intellectual ability and motivation.” (pg 268)

4. “Glimmers of hope occur largely from lying or lowering the bar to produce illusionary progress. Else where progress is often cherry picking a few items in a sea of unreported failures.” (pg 268)

*5. It is not that they are irrelevant since some of these remedies, under certain conditions and with certain students, can help (and others can make matters worse.)” (pg 268)

**6. “Matters are not hopeless; everything depends on altering the mix of smart and not so smart students, and then somehow pushing the intellectually-talented to even hreater achievement.” (pg 268)

**7. “Genuine reform would be cheap and less able students might be encouraged to enroll in vocational schools where their training would far outshine a bogus academic diploma.” (pg 268)

*8. “. . . whatever natural intellectual ability and ambition young Americans possess has been undermined, especially among the intellectually less able. Subversive forces would include loosened family bonds, single-mother families, the rise of violent gangs, cheap, readily available dumbed-down pop culture with its multiplying distractions form schoolwork, debilitation drugs, and countless other modern attention-deficit disorder inducing pathologies.” (pg 270)

**9. A different analysis comparing U. S. youngsters in grades 8 – 10 of varying races to compatriots in Canada, France, Japan, Italy, and Germany reports that white students, but not blacks or Hispanics, more than hold their own (save against the Japanese) in reading, mathematics, and science. (Boe and Shin, 2005) To be politically incorrect, America’s educational woes vis-à-vis foreign economic rivals largely reflect the U. S, having large black and Hispanic populations, both of which perform below average on tests.” (pg 271)

10. “Of course this “positive” assessment would devastate the educational reform industry since their livelihoods depend on the “we can, we must do better” assumption. Remember: Bad news extracts the dollars. (pg 272)

11. An act of Congress [To fix immigration and provide incentives for smart people to have more children.] could swell the number of ambitious, higher IQ students, and while the assimilation costs are not zero, they are trivia compared to present-day efforts to extract proficiency from those often challenged by the basics.” (pg 272)

12. Yet, it is plausible that conventional, especially advanced mathematics is essentially a nineteenth-century endeavor and which is less relevant that computer programming skills only loosely related to 2+2.” (pg 272)

*13. “Applying obsolete standards may explain the oft-noted paradox: our schooling’s decline on traditional measures while we simultaneously lead the world in technological innovation. Perhaps NCLB should add a “Geek Test””. (pg 273)

14. “It is unclear just how many “brains” America needs and it is undeniable that top schools with world-class hard-working students abound in America, and these include hundreds of schools not dominated by knowledge hungry immigrant children.” (pg 273)

15. “It is pointless to even talk about improvement if we insist on surreptitiously lowering standards on tests to achieve “fairness.” Same is true for twisting definitions of “gifted” so as to appease racial and ethnic sensibilities or saying that black children will excel only if teachers take more sensitivity training to value their raucous church-relate classroom behavior.” (pgs 274-275)

16. “That many of these already enrolled cannot do college work except via dumbed-down Mickey Mouse courses or by taking extensive remedial work is irrelevant.” (Pg 275)

17. “In the economy such deceit is relatively easy to combat. A combination of government regulations (including criminal sanctums) and sullied reputation for deceit usually suffice. Education is different” we want to wallow in dishonesty and condemn those who bring bad news.(pg 275)

**18, “Educators have long discovered how to quiet restless consumers – inflated grades, meaningless diplomas, generous honor roll standards, inclusive definitions of “gifted,” and all the rest that puts psychological satisfaction above the rewards of hard work to gain just morsels of knowledge.” (pg 275)

**19. “Few object when classrooms deteriorate into mindless fun and games so as to “motivate” youngsters. Who will organize rallies on behalf of teachrs who flunk half the class? By contrast harsh graduation standards are to be overcome with litigation, not greater diligence. Among many racial/ethnic activists, a cheery educational result is a right, something automatically bestowed by government, not a sign of hard-earned accomplishment.” (pgs 275-276)

**20. “If students refuse to attend school, forcing them is wasteful and hurts those wanting to learn.” (pg 279)

21. “Everybody deserves the best possible education for them personally, but people will always differ in talent and inclination, and to pursue leveling, long after this is found to be impossible, brings everybody down.” (pg 279)

22. “In the meantime students, since the magic “smart pill” has yet to be invented, should just hit the books, and for parents, stop taking to the streets to demonstrate for ”better education” and just help Junior.” (pg 279)


Reach Upward said...

One day when I walked into my son's high school, I was met by a huge bulletin board covered with the names of those that had achieved a 4.0 GPA during the previous quarter. I was shocked to see hundreds of names on the list. When I attended the same school years earlier, I could count the number of students that got straight A's during any given quarter on my natural digits.

Back in the old days, the school gave out a special pin to those that achieved the honor roll for six terms. I looked in my yearbook and saw that some 50 or so received that honor in my graduating class. Nowadays students must be on the honor roll for eight terms to get the pin. So it's more rigorous, right? Uh, no.

Today I attended a ceremony where 209 seniors were awarded the pin. (More will get it later this year.) The once-prized pin's present value could be calculated by the fact that more than 100 of these students didn't even bother to show up to be "honored."

Could it possibly be true that today's students are so much smarter and/or so much better achievers than were their parents years ago? I don't think so. This is just another example of grade inflation. Recognizing low achievement as if it is something great does not translate to better students.

Reach Upward said...

Weissberg has some very interesting (and politically incorrect) ideas. Some of what he says would (will) certainly get him labeled as a racist by those that have no substantive counter arguments.

But it seems to me that Weissberg comes across as a pariah. While he offers as a remedy returning to the grind, discipline, and social structures that were once common in education, he frequently admits that almost nobody in the public education arena is willing to buy what he is selling. It is as if he is saying, "I'm right, but it doesn't matter because nobody cares that I'm right."

I disagree with Weissberg's theory that choice cannot improve education. I think that Weissberg is correct when he suggests that there isn't sufficient demand for the kind of challenging educational environment he envisions to make it politically viable. But he offers no solution to this. Public education, being inseparable from government, is necessarily a political system that is subject to all of the conditions that apply to political systems in general.

There will never be enough voters that will demand the kind of rigor Weissberg touts. As he admits, those that desire undemanding education have far more political clout. He also notes that an entire professional class has developed that relies on such systems. This class actively fights the imposition of rigor.

While the majority will likely remain opposed to serious educational rigor, a core minority will continue to exist that desires such.

If a variety of educational environments existed where parent consumers could choose whether to send their children to hard core schools, soft entertainment based schools, or a variety of in between offerings, families would soon self select into the environments with which they felt most comfortable. This wouldn't bring up the bottom achievers. But it would prevent them from harming those that want to achieve.

Reach Upward said...

In Norway, compulsory education ends with grade 10. Two years of "high school" education beyond this are publicly sponsored. But only those that are willing to toe the line complete those two years. High schools are separated into, what I might roughly call, vocational and professional offerings. (Or blue-collar and white-collar high schools.) Students that graduate from these schools come out with an education somewhat on par with an American associate's degree. They are immediately qualified for career entry level employment. But they work hard to get to that point.

I don't know that this rigid white-collar/blue-collar model would be acceptable to Americans. But perhaps allowing those that don't wish to attend the final years of *rigorous* public education to opt out would be beneficial for all students.

I doubt that there is enough political demand to make this kind of thing happen. Equality has sold increasingly well in the U.S. since the end of the Civil War. Equality once meant the right for each person to achieve his full potential according to his desires and natural capacities, unencumbered by publicly sponsored artificial limitations. The definition of equality has in recent times evolved to mean enforced equality of outcomes.

Americans generally support the old definition of equality, while elite classes strongly promote the new definition. Americans in general are conflicted about the new definition. At any rate, the promoters of this new description have often been successful in blurring the boundaries between the new and the old so that much confusion surrounds the term.

So successful have the sponsors of the new meaning of "equality" been that merely accusing others of promoting inequality will shut down open consideration of their ideas. This is a huge hurdle that must be overcome before real educational improvements can be enjoined.

Jacob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Iasthai said...

I loved this article. I wrote a similar article titled "Grade Inflation" last year in the School News Paper. Anyway, I will come visit you sometime soon before I leave on my mission. Thanks for being such a great Teacher and A wonderful inspiration to me (even if we do disagree on the intellect of Ayn Rand)
-Jason Knavel

Gavin Murray said...

I failed your ancient Greek and Roman history class more than seven years ago. I withdrew from Layton High School half way through my senior year because I had sloughed so many classes, and had so many citizenship fines that graduating with my class seemed to be an impossibility. I deserved every "F" and ever "U" that I received. I loved learning, but I wasn't committed to working. The week after I withdrew I took the GED, scoring in the very well. Teachers like you did teach me that I wouldn't be rewarded for just sitting and listening; rewards come from work. I served an LDS mission to South Korea from 2008-2010. I was married in 2012, and decided that it was time that I start working to get in to college. My above average ACT score notwithstanding this can be a tricky thing to do with no diploma, a cumulative GPA of <2.5. I went to SLCC for 1 semester and did fairly well. I took online classes through BYU for 8 months and worked my butt off to get good grades. My lowest grade in 7 classes was a B+. The first time I applied to BYU I was denied admission. I worked Harder, did more, and applied again this last October: This time I was accepted, and i will be starting classes in January. Finally, I know the value of work in school. I am excited, and know that I am going to do well.
Failing classes like your's was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I certainly didn't deserve anything more than I received, and your giving me an A, a B, or any grade i hadn't earned, would have robbed me of the lessons that I needed to learn. I'm sure it feels good to give A's; I'm sure that any teacher like yourself, who truly cares about students, hurts just a little bit every time they issue a failing grade. However, that type of love is what we need. The love that says: "I will not take from you that which you most need and replace it with some momentary, artificial satisfaction. I'm not going to give you a 'cheaters trophy'."
Thank you Mr. Conner. Thank you.
Gavin Murray

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