The truth is that children/teens failing in the schools has very little to do with teachers and their unions and MUCH more to do with parents and politicians. If Washington DC and the state capitals would let the teachers decide what is best for the students they teach, then, in time, we might see what happened in Finland. Finland has one of the best public school systems in the world and the best in Europe. Almost 100% of the teachers belong to a very strong teachers’ union and the politicians stay out of the decision making and the teachers run the schools. In addition, in Finland, most parents start teaching their children how to read at home at age three. By age seven, when the children start school for the first time, most can all read and are ready to start learning. Parents are also very supportive of teachers and make sure the children read at home, do the homework and study. For that reason, Finland may have the lowest functional illiteracy rate in the world.
Very little of that happens in the United States. In fact, the opposite happens in most cases.
We went to see ‘Won’t Back Down’ with Maggie Gyllenhall and Viola Davis, a film that ignores many facts of a complicated issue that causes students to turn out illiterate and schools to be considered failures.
Soon after the movie started, I complained. “If her (Jamie played by Ms. Gyllenhall) daughter has trouble reading, why doesn’t she turn off the TV and teach her at home as my mother did?”
My wife had to shut me up before someone complained to the management and had me tossed out of the theater. Censured and mute, I still wanted to rant and rave, and I did let loose after we left the theater.
You see, when I was seven (in the early 1950s), my mother was told I was retarded and would never learn to read or write. Back then, educators did not know about dyslexia. According to those experts, I was…
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