Take a Free Trial
Try Charles' premium stock selection services free for 7 days.
Check it out in real time!
You will get actionable advice, trading ideas and email alerts.
8/20/2012 7:50 AM
Teaching Kids Resolve to be True Scholars
By Charles Payne, CEO & Principal Analyst
Hosting Varney & Co This morning check it out Fox Business Network 9:20 AM
Resolve not to be poor; whatever you have, spend less. Poverty is a great enemy to human happiness; it certainly destroys liberty, and it makes some virtues impracticable and extremely difficult.
Over the weekend, President Obama pitched his would-be jobs program under the guise of educational urgency, noting the loss of 300,000 school teachers as the reason America is slipping in the realm of education. While I'm all for a lot of great teachers teaching our children, I think there are issues that are actually more acutely responsible for the decline in America's educational prowess. Statistics used to prove the more teachers the greater the results are sketchy, and it's more of a touchy-feely kind of thing that sounds good, but in reality there are more important components. I think we are missing out on hitting that hot button that makes kids want to learn.
Moreover, for our economically disadvantaged students, we have given them so many excuses for failure that by the time they get out of the gate many expect to be subpar. This is why the direction of the country is problematic. People that make the least amount of effort are demanding to get a greater share of the end results. The so-called income inequality gap is being used to bludgeon the wallets and pride of achievers while excusing those that aren't living up to their own individual potential. Throwing money at problems alone never solves major issues. It hasn't solved poverty or education in the United States, but has helped to create another problem (debt) that has to be dealt with sooner rather than later.
Apparently, the best student to teacher ratio of 15.3 was achieved in 2008, and now at 16.0 (2010), we are back to 2000 levels. The thing is, educationally we ranked significantly higher in the world using the PISA test of kids 15 years old in three key areas of education.
The PISA tests cover all 34 OECD nations (developed world) and more and more non-OECD nations.
In the 2009, PISA reported that there was a section of resilient students defined as those in the bottom quarter of an index of economic, social and cultural status within a country that perform in the top quarter of students from all countries. In other words, these kids were at the wrong end of an equality scale but busted their backsides to perform with the best. What is it that drove these kids to perform so well? There were 25 such nations where the children were more resolved than those in the United States when it came to science literacy (we barely edged out Greece). I don't think it's the money they throw at the problem in Estonia or Mexico.
I'm convinced handing out excuses from the start is hurting poorer students more than a lack of funds. In wealthier schools, the idea everyone should get a trophy is a farce as well. I was on the board of a charter school in the poorest congressional district in America and we had a principle that called all the students scholars. I had a problem with that because the kids that were truly scholars got there through amazing effort that didn't stop when the final bell of the day rang. How did those kids feel when everyone was given the same praise? It hurts motivation.
The dumbing down of America has been a work in progress for a long time, lead by teachers unions looking to protect their jobs more than promoting achievement. It has been aided by communities that fought for easier curriculums so the children feel good. This entire process has eroded the need for resolve. In the 2009, PISA tests of black students in America scored 409 which ranked them behind 53 developed and under-developed nations. It cannot be blamed on money. It can't be blamed on teachers not caring; over 80% of American students say teachers care, but less than 30% agree with that statement in Japan where their students run circles around all American students.
The problem is selling the notion of victimhood rather the notion of resolve. We can get it done. If President Obama and others want to remake America, where underachievers are rewarded from the pockets of overachievers, it's only a matter of time before there are fewer of the latter. That means more poverty for all, less liberty for all and no virtue for anybody.
Using children, teachers, police and firefighters to justify runaway spending is shameful. Not finding creative ways to make children embrace learning while promoting the idea they shouldn't be the best is beneath everyone, including politicians.
By the way ... if it was all about a lot of teachers then 2008 would have been the pinnacle of educational achievement. It wasn't.
* From 1995 to 2008, America went from second in the world in college graduation rates to 13th.
* From 1995 to 2008, America tumbled to the ranking of 26th in the world with respect to high school graduation rates.
By the way, it should be noted that Education Secretary Arne Duncan calls this the New Normal and has argued that low student-teacher ratios are more for an education model of the past and shouldn't be an excuse not to take a business-like approach to teaching our children. Sadly, when it comes to this administration, the New Normal takes a backseat to the Old Normal - spend, spend and spend some more. To be able to spend, tax, tax and tax even more (of course, borrowing has also been an integral part of "paying" for all that spending). In the meantime, toss resolve out the window and replace it with a false pity and false hopes.
Angela Merkel is on record saying no more concessions for Greece, which has turned the old truism of beggars not being choosers on its ear, by holding its lenders hostage for the last year. At this point, Greece exiting the Euro wouldn't be a shock and would only rock the boat to a limited degree.
Man, it looks like a real lackluster day ahead. There is one deal, Aetna buying Coventry, a deal rumored to happen since the late 1990s. Last week Home Depot (HD) wowed the street and I wrote how much better I like the store than Lowes (LOW), which posted a number that has its shares taking a hit in pre-opening action. Anecdotal is a great place to start when it comes to the market, especially if it's based on experience and not a hunch. Apple (AAPL) is beginning to suck up all the oxygen in the room again as hype over the iPhone 5 begins to reach a fever pitch. On the other hand, Facebook's (FB) shares continue to trade atrociously.
It's all quiet for now but can't stay this way for long. Large investors have to make a decision to jump on this bandwagon or wait for a pullback - assuming it's in the offing. I'm not sure here and want to proceed with caution so let's not force the issue. I don't want to fight the tape, this is a good moment to watch from the sidelines.
|Amen. Keep preaching the truth on the education fiasco!|
Unfortunately, it is not getting better in the next 4 years. You shed the light on the Obama lunacy of throwing money at a problem. And certainly, the worst issue is praising failure. The other leg of the tripod of educational failure is replacing science with political opinion. I believe this is why the science scores in the USA are falling worse than math or literacy.
We have not only stopped teaching science, but we have a full force campaign to teach our kids NOT to put any theory up to scientific scrutiny. We teach evolution as an origin of types of creatures when Darwin himself denied it, and we refuse to allow scrutiny of the vast evidence disproving it. We teach global warming as a fact and refuse to discuss the vast evidence which proves it is either not present or insignificant versus normal climatic cycles.. And now Romney has blasted another politician because he stated a proven biological fact which might upset the radical feminists. Women's bodies have strong mechanisms (proven by solid research) which reject the semen from unwanted sexual advances and consume the semen from desired sex. These mechanisms work to varying degrees by individual, but are present in every woman. This is a PROVEN scientific fact, yet Romney has villified another politician for stating that fact.
It is clear that truth will have little place in the whichever administration wins the next 4 years. That bodes VERY poorly for science education. The only hope is that the Republican stance of getting the federal government out of education will take precedence from Congress no matter which side wins the bully pulpit. Then we can fight for our kids brains on the state level and at least prevail in some places.
Bob G on 8/20/2012 12:32:53 PM
|When I went to public school, the ratio of students/teacher was 35 or 40/1. I think we were much better taught and generally had a better attitude towards learning. I think smaller ratios are just an excuse to create more jobs for teachers. Like my time there are some good teachers, average and poor but I think we had fewer poor teachers. In CA we spend somewhere between 40-50% of our budget on education and get one of the lowest rankings in the US, and they want more for education. Gov. Brown's bill will probably pass because the "magic word", education, will get it passed and we'll continue to get less for our money. People just don;t think.|
Love your commentaries and watch you whenever I can.
George M on 8/20/2012 6:47:28 PM
|Charles....You are right on target...Your comment: "The dumbing down of America has been a work in progress for a long time, lead by teachers unions looking to protect their jobs more than promoting achievement." And it started with the Wilson Administration, and the importation of Bolshevik's and their principles into education, Law, and several other areas of society. Dewey (not to be confused with the Dewey Decimal System for the organization of Library books) did the U.S. no favor, by making teaching techniques the goal, instead of mastery of the subject. |
I have sat on an advisory board for community (Jr.) College for over 25 years. It is a full spectrum school teaching the basics and some arts through engineer assistance programs, and specific trades. I have watched incoming students in the 1980's needing a little more than tune up in math, science, and English, to more recently where we are providing full programs for high school graduates who could not pass primary school exams of 20 years ago.
Money is not the issue...PASSION IS. There are teachers who have been told that loving to teach would make them succeed...not true...mastery of a subject that they (the teacher) loved will make them successful. I don't care if we are talking archaeology, history, physics, or zoology, a teacher which really understands, and wants to communicate that subject and it's APPLICATION to daily living and society in general, will win every time, and so will their students. But no, we get masters, and doctorates in education, who supposedly know how to teach, but little to nothing of the subject they are teaching. This has resulted in students dis-interested in the material, and waiting for the bell to ring.
We also have a problem, in that we have stopped most of the field tours at lower levels of education, which built interest in the student, and broadened their view of their community and the world, and the days of the science fairs, and regional and national competitions on some subject or talent are not readily available, nor are they held up for public adulation. Unfortunately, sports are getting the praise, and what are we getting, more kids who want to be a sports champion.
You were also right when you said "Using children, teachers, police and firefighters to justify runaway spending is shameful." I am pro teachers, firemen, and law enforcement...but if money were the issue...all of our children should be Einstein s, by the end of high school. Fifty Thousand dollar plus per year for a high school education is insane, when some private and charter schools can provide a superior education for a quarter of that amount. In business we have rations of managers, and supervisors to workers. Education is so overburdened with administrative fluff, paperwork passing, and reports that are useless - a high school principle does not need several assistance (without well defined duties)...and it is worse the further up you go in the educational ladder.
Every election there is a demand we pass more bond issues for education - remember the Nancy Pelosi phrase...'it is for the children'. Non-sense...it was, is, and will always be for the unions.
Charles keep up the good work...will 'see' you on KFI
R. D. Ochs on 8/20/2012 9:38:10 PM
|What is interesting within discussions regarding the condition of the education 'system' within the United States is that the discussion will not include those with the most to lose, ...the majority of the population. This is "as usual" because the majority of people affected are too busy "carrying the load" or otherwise being responsible for the load being attended to for whatever good reason the load exists in the first place. As of this moment has been established the very reason for considering 'education' as a matter to discuss in the first place; so then, here is the voice of the 'grunts'!|
To adequately determine the solution to a problem, any problem, the problem must be identified. How can anyone with the influences fostered within what is termed 'education' even hope to identify the problem initially unless they are capable to recognize a lack of order as the communicated problem to solve? There you have it, in order to solve a problem you must be able to recognize the, or any, problem. Recognition requires comparative and cognitive skill capable to accept and/or reject as well as determine course of action based upon participation to the moment now expeienced. Next is to determine the action required to attain desired result. Now is experienced the realization of what is missing; that necessary next step, ...what to do and how to do it. Hopefully at this juncture the realization is, that: thoughtful, considered action must assure desired result. You should have at least "guessed it" by now, what is needed is the ability to 'think'. It quite literally is as simple as that, think it through if you can, and, get it done; if not, get the help you should have also recognized that you need. Who should be the most likely to provide that 'needed help'(?), my thinking says..., "the teacher"! That should also be where the problem came from in the first place as a true teacher would know the value of a lesson learned through effort, not, the thought-less-ness of expecting result from speech without having been questioned.
Sound too simple? Consider this, the wealth acquired by anyone is the measure of someone's attainment of status in this present world. Of those holding such wealth, how many offer a share of it to those indicating only the desire to also "have it"? Likely, not many at all, actually, none. Are those "with" the bad doers of society? No, not at all; however, they are likely guilty of the in-attention to details that the recently "educated" still need to discover. To have quantity of information is not as valuable as the quality of the needed information reflected from accomplishment of the task. Knowing how to apply knowledge also assures to be able to find more of that knowledge. We worry more about dispensing knowledge than ulilizing it.
Excellence is displayed constantly but little of it is taught. So little is accomplished in comfort and opulence unless the desired result is to acquire. After all, weren't the societies that ultimately so bloodied the 20th century with war also those "led" by dissident intellectuals capable of identifying discomfort experienced by the bulk of populations coaxed into effort to exploit not only the world's resources but the efforts of those populations? Sport comes to mind as a comparison: assemble a group, hone their capability in the identified venue and vanquish all comers. Sadly, the group (team?) realizes little of the glory which ultimately is taken by an institution, or, organization which expended little. There, also is the the focal point; the effort was expended by those capable to accomplish, the reward was taken by those capable to convince. Even more distasteful is that those of effort and accomplishment made it all happen while
the reward was taken by the 'system'. Interesting, isn't it, but would it have been this way if those responsible for accomplishing the task also demanded their part of the rewards? Tell me if you can, what of the exploits of organized human effort
do you attribute to the actual physical effort of "leaders" I know there are some but there are many, many, many more that are empty, devoid of respect in that "the bow" was what they sought. Unfortunately, they got and continue to get the "bows" without the 'scraping' they really deserve. Oh, well...
LSP on 8/21/2012 9:32:32 PM
Add a Comment!