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Thomasena Martin-Johnson

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The 21st Century Learner
By Thomasena Martin-Johnson   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Sunday, October 21, 2012
Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2012

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An Essay discussing the state of education today

 "Why do we bother...let them sit there like a box of rocks. "Just give them a grade; they aren't going any place...".A mind is a terrible thing to waste---theme song for the uncf. Is that true ? Why have we allowed this holocaust to happen to our children? Why have we turned them over to a segment of the population and [traded self respect for a weak substitute?] ...War refugees came here naked and have in twenty few years surpassed us in independence. Are we still waiting for the 'great gettin up mornin' (after we die) for our small piece of the pie and selling the youth for trinkets and beads? Bonjour, buenos dias,...kise hai, Hajambo...and good morning.

The idea that all students should be educated is the trademark of the Western World, primarily the United States. ...John Cotton. a pruitan preacher, designed the educational system in 1650...to teach the philosophy of obedience. (John Taylor)....

It was some of the same English Americans who first sought to provide schools in the South during reconstruction and the period following as the Black Codes replaced the rights granted by the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th amendment to the constitution. The curriculum was based on learning skills and reflected the community....Education became the mantra for the poor and the downtrodden....

...1970 was the beginning of the period of mass bussing (to achieve integration), the distruction of the neighborhoods, and the lowering of standards. According to Rieseman, people like Martin Luther King and others slipped through the cracks. A new strategy has to be employed....integrate with all immediate speed.... As the districts across the nation dragged their feet, the Federal Government threatened to withhold funds.... [Thus, the determination to bus children from one side of town to the other.] ...It was a tramatic experience for students and teachers alike.... Some administrators issued  direcdtive to not require student to maintain a C average in order to participate in sports nd other activities. The more open administrtors made sure that American African students forced into this situation, were visible through out the school, and there was no semblance of exclusion. Maintaining GPA's became low priority. Even pass or fail did not exclude students.... The ides "you my put him in my room, but you can't make me teach him," permeated through out the system. This was the beginning of under-educating a segment of the population. My argument is, if the under-educated is never taught, how do they know what to expect, and how can they teach their children?

...The next move taken by many was...white flight. [Inner city school districts lost students at the rate of 800 to 1000 over a week-end. Those who could leave the district did so....Standards declined....This was the demise of the educational institution imulated by most of the world and held as a model for many developing countries.... The focus went from skills oriented to social and political oriented. The prevailing attitude in the American African community was that their students would get a better education because they would be exposed to the same information in the same environment as their counterpart. However, that was not the case. Committment to excellence was no longer the edit and in some instances, it was a stumbling block for the downtrodden.

The institution changed from skills based to  vehicle to provide health, nutrition, fighting delinquency, crime, and protection from physical abuse, all political and social objectives. (Hood) Thus, in 1970, the U. S. Government led the way in creating the learner of the 21st Century. This learner was not given the foundation in basic  skills that would enable him to function in the ever changing global society, nor would they be able to function in the world of coming technology. The students were led to believe that they did not have to measure up to the rest of society by lowering expectations and would allow them to be rewarded for just doing instead of doing well. These students were made to believe if they complained, that the requirements were too hard, the requirements would change to meet their needs instead of having the student step up to excellence....

The best colleges and universities no longer graduate students with an elementary knowledge of our civilization and its heritage. They do not know basic facts of our country's history, politics, and economy, yet the cost of this inferior education is in the heighborhood of $100,000 a year.(P. Schlafly) This could only be called "The Dumbing Down of American Colleges".... America is the only first world country that does not teach its citizens their own language not to mention another country's language.... More 'dumbing down' is enployed because "Nobody speaks correct English anymore..."

The massive failure of education is tolerated in this country. Initiatives such as "No Child Left Behind" look wonderful on paper. The goals and objectives are lofty and unattainable in the present educational structure. The hidden agenda of isolation and parental envolvement is part and parcel of the overall plan to under-educate and provide clients for a segment of the population....

Low expectations on the part of the system and the teachers produce low preformance. In some public systems, basic English skills are not taught above the fifth grade level; therefore, when the student reaches the college level, they cannot write and communicate effectively. It is inconceivable that the need for seventeen sections of basic English in a college where the total enrollment is less than 4000 students is necessary. Basic skills are taught in better private schools. It is...asinine when college professors do not require correct English...and do not deduct points for errors.... The real reason is because they do not know correct usage themselves....

One of the marks of being educated is speaking and writing correct English. So what is the future of these students....

By no means am I saying that the teachers are totally responsible. Parents have the biggest responsibility. They are the first teachers. They're the ones  who establish the foundation....Without parental envolvement, the success of the student is up hill.

Education is built on middle class values. There are hidden rules of the middle class,(Payne) that some of these students know nothing about, because the united States does not acknowledge that there is a classist society. Neither group understands the value system of the other. So, where do we go from here? If we demand nothing, we get nothing. Parents need to be put back in the equation of education, teacher, student. John Cotton knew this, Horace Mann knew this and you and I know this. Are You Willing to Invest in the Future?

 

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