Vol. 5, Issue 2, March 20, 2007
Dodo: the Other Other White Meat
No Apologies Press

Biggest Obstacle to Education Reform? The Students

The principal obstacle to effective school reform is the students, and the most effective means of achieving meaningful education reform would be to remove them from the system altogether, according to a new study from the Center for Educational Studies.

"Obviously, there are some who would characterize such a move as draconian or extreme," said Heddy Parsons, Executive Director of the CES. "However, we are at a critical juncture, and it has become clear after decades of failed policy that radical action is called for. In performing this analysis, we tried to think outside the box, and I think our efforts were justified."

The nation has been struggling for years to adequately educate its growing population in the face of ever more restricted resources. Efforts to bolster school standards such as the "No Child Left Behind" Act have led primarily to a rise in administrative costs centering around areas covered by the Act (reading and math) and a concurrent decline in academic areas not covered by NCLB, such as science and history.

"Actually, if you look at the numbers, you'll see that removing students from schools is the only solution that makes sense," said Parsons. "And you need to look at the student population as well. 25% of the students are English language learners who can't generally understand anything the teacher says; another 25% have some form of learning disability which prevents them from absorbing information in a classroom setting; 20% are facing major challenges in their home environment; 15% are chronic substance abusers; 15% are felons; and 10% are too bright to be effectively engaged by a typical classroom curriculum. That makes 110% of the student population. It's no wonder teachers are so frustrated."

The study also points out that teachers are currently expected to spend an average 6 hours a day preparing administrative paperwork related to the Academic Performance Index or other NCLB requirements, and another hour in duties unrelated to teaching.

"Removing the students would essentially be a move towards allowing teachers to fulfill their current job requirements," said Parsons.

Surprisingly, the recommendation has met with cautious approval from both teachers' unions and parent teacher associations. Parents surveyed indicated that they would not object to the plan "provided the kids are still out of the house for eight hours a day." The most reluctant to endorse the plan, unexpectedly, are students.

"I'm not complaining about the homework or whatever," said Lamont High School junior Greg Farnsworth. "But if school's closed down, where am I gonna score weed?"

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