PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

Letters

We have to quit feeding this monster

By January 27, 2011

EDITOR:

Yet another long-winded rant by letter writer John Garon stating, in sum, “I hate Bush II and the Mountain Democrat.”

Yes, students are performing at less than satisfactory levels in reading, failing miserably in mathematics and below average in the sciences.

Garon — obviously, throwing money at the problem isn’t fixing it, as we have been doing so for too many years without result. Money doesn’t teach children, teachers do. Not teachers’ unions, nor simply a textbook in the hands of the unmotivated. Our educators are failing to teach, plain and simple. I do not support racism of any kind, but the main mission of the USDOE should absolutely, positively not be enforcement of civil rights laws. This is contradictory to the name of the department itself. Enforcement of laws should be handled by law enforcement, a service in which you apparently have no faith.

And by God, I can’t believe you would insinuate that the U.S. should follow any sort of example set by China — you, of all people, should be aware of the egregious nature of the crimes against humanity perpetrated by China’s government, including the sanctioning of the drowning of female infants, the enslavement of the people in Tibet, and threats of war against Taiwan, which is struggling to be its own sovereign state by separating itself from the evil big brother; much like the U.S. circa 1776 in declaring its independence. Education is not supported in China, it is mandate, and the expectations are enforced by fear and physical violence, something you’ve noted before you do not tolerate.

Pupils are forced to kneel for prolonged periods of time, known to the State Department as a “stress position,” which begins to create extreme pain throughout the body (something I’m sure you railed against at the time of the Abu Ghraib scandal in 2004). Pupils are kicked and slapped as punishment, and one report out of China states that a teacher screwed a pencil into the ear of a 6-year-old pupil as punishment for misbehavior (news.sina.com.cn/s/2009-04-07/072117559491.shtml) resulting in serious injury. Are these the standards by which we should make our students learn? By force and fear? The Japanese culture embraces emotional abuse as motivation for learning, and India still advocates corporal punishment in the classroom as well.

Thank you, Garon, for basically saying we should become exactly what you were decrying throughout Bush II’s presidency. By your standard, we should have our “small” USDOE — which as you said is in control of billions of dollars annually — advocate the use of violence so that we may compete with the world. I don’t like the state of our educational system any better than the next person, but we really should be more creative and civil.

Instead of feeding this monster, the money should go back to infrastructure and the war efforts until teachers are ready to teach again. I don’t believe that the USDOE should be abolished, but it should be extremely limited in its powers and should start really focusing on education as opposed to political punditry in the classroom.

BRAD QUARRY

Cameron Park

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