In response to Mr. Dolen’s letter; I criticized free lunches, uniforms, planners and computers in the classroom not on their individual merits, but because each was sold to the public with the promise that each would be the answer to poor performance by our students and teachers and, of course, such has not been the case.
I think this is a valid criticism. And I didn’t speak up when RISD was praised because RISD does not deserve praise. You can spin my letter anyway you want, which is what people do when they try to defend the indefensible, but you can’t spin the results. And I would have expected better from someone with your background as a school board member.
The bottom line Mr. Dolen is that American Schools are failing in a big way. In the 1960s, America ranked number one among industrialized nations in science and math. We now rank somewhere around 17th and 28th, respectively. This is a major failure. Fifty percent of public school students cannot read or do math at grade level. Over 50 percent of high school graduates must take one or more remedial course when they enter college.
The drop-out rate is astronomical. Of 50 states, New Mexico ranks number 42 for quality of education. Pathetic. These are not opinions, but undeniable facts. None of the above mentioned programs have mitigated this in the slightest.
Yet you constantly ask for more money to continue them. America spends more per student than any other country in the world and it has gotten us a third-rate public school system. In fact, there seems to be an inverse relationship between the amount of money we give you and the results you produce. More money equals poorer performance. Yet you continue to do the same things. Doing the same things and expecting different results is delusional.
The end result is that your philosophy of education has sent thousands of young people into the world with very little education and no marketable skills. Computers in the classroom can’t change that. If you want to give them an edge, teach them to read and do math. There’s no free lunch in the real world.