Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Dumbing Down of Texas Education

Well the governor despite letters - emails - phone calls from across the state chose to sign HB3 into law on Friday June 19th. Health and freshman speech teachers will have to work to keep their jobs as their is no longer a requirement to teach either.

Now a student has to understand and choose to take the college prep route. Students can completely fill a schedule with music art and drama while preparing little for college. Vocational programs benefit from the CTE parts of the bill but still fall short of funding or enough teachers to go around.

In a rush to give the students free to desires instead of needs, we will have students graduating into a technology driven workplace that have never been required to work with technology or take a technology class regardless of whether was Microsoft Office training , basic Web Design, Animation, Video Production, Desktop Publishing or even Computer Programming.

Couple this with the number of middle schools eliminating GT math and science classes and the result is college prep students who milk their schedule will still be anywhere from 6 to 9 hours less college credit upon high school graduation than the seniors were 5 years ago.

Lets see - less credits earned- Yes- this qualifies as dumbing down even the GT kids.

Yes you read it right - there are multiple middle schools across the state dumbing down and eliminating any type of advance /honors/Gt classes in grades 6-8. This is not what is coming - this is what has already happened. To protect sources, I will simply say I know of multiple schools where GT in the middle school is GONE. Administrators not wanting to have to work out a schedule - have turned back to all core subject classes being a one size fits all. Not a great idea when you are preparing students for high school and are lowering the standards to the lower students when there is a fast approaching spell of state mandated subject level tests. In some middle schools - the word is lower the expectations across the board and get as many of them through as possible to High School. (pass the buck)

Some of these same middle schools have administrations telling them to take the technology classes and let the kids have fun - treat it like PE - if they show up give them 100. Yea - I am sure that is what the TEKS say. And they wonder why freshman struggle at the high school level.

Well lets see- they have dumbed down the material making the GT kids restless. Now those kids enter high school expecting to cruise through classes like they did in middle school - and when they hit a GT English or Math class - well - its like running their train into a brick wall. Then the entire group of freshman are in a situation where they may sign up for high school computer classes and then are upset when it is not a time for fun and games and playing on the internet.

Sounds to me like not only a lower level of education - but a higher risk of frustration, acting out , behavior problems and more.

Also leads to teachers leaving the profession as I witnessed directly when a medium size school lost an experience teacher in a core subject. The teacher did not get the support they deserved and a group of 10 or 11 students were allowed to run wild to the point the teacher left the profession. No administrator thought it through about breaking that core of 10 or 11 kids and holding the STUDENT accountable. No - the administrators saw this as a failure on the teacher's part despite her previous years record of a very high percentage of her students passing the state mandated test. Anyone who spent time with this teacher knew of their passion for teaching as well as their success at both high school and junior college level. Sadly that is a teacher lost now- in a critical subject area. The school lost out as well as the students who face that state test each year to come.

I know this - Austin needs someone to shake the stupidity out of the legislature. In 2010 - I intend to help vote some of it out of office - including the governor. Maybe a turnover in large numbers will remind those people.... They work for us.... Time to quit working against us.

So be prepared Austin - teachers are not going to go quietly into the night. Parents should read up and be aware of how education is going the wrong direction.