Saturday, January 7, 2012

About the Kansas City Public Schools

When I was growing up in New York city, with few exceptions, it was recognized that the public school system was terrible. If you had two nickels to rub together you sent your child to private or parochial school. That was just the way it was. It was something known throughout the entire city--maybe out in Staten Island they felt better about their neighborhood schools, but in the four other boroughs, Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, the general feeling was that the schools run by the city stunk, and you just didn't send your kid there if you could help it. It burned people to pay taxes to run the crappy schools and pay tuition to educate their own kids, but it was one of those things that was just taken as part of the package of living in New York City.
Over the past 30 years, the Kansas City schools have slowly slid into the same abyss. There are so many reasons why the schools have gone into the dumper, but gone there they have. Now, as generations of ill educated people pass by, and education is less and less valued, the schools get worse and worse. What came first? The bad schools? The bad values? What has gone on with the drug trade in our poorer neighborhoods and the lure of easy money? The flight of those who value education more?--first the White Flight driven by prejudice and ignorance, then the flight of Black families that want their kids to be well educated. It gets harder and harder to overcome the poor family/parental support that the kids bring with them to school. Expectations drop. Discipline goes away. Instead of reinforcing school rules, parents threaten the school with lawsuits and blame. All this going on in a nation that is doing less and less manual labor and more and more things that require skills. Things that require the ability to read, do math, comprehend and follow concepts and ideas--basically the skill to be able to think. Both our institutions and our values are failing us here with the result that our abilities are decreasing daily as a nation and people.
You don't have to go to college to be an innovator, but you do have to develop an intellectual curiosity about the world around you, and have some basic and fundamental skills to create something special. That starts younger then college. We are losing those youngsters. It's hurting us already. To really fix it, we have to renounce our anti-intellectual bent, our lack of value of being educated in the family, our blame passing and our lack of expectations. We can work on the institution all day long, and spend lots of money, but these are the things that really need fixing.


Robert Stevens said...

Ypu are on point. I lived in KC most of my life but now live in Fremont CA. Education is a problem across the country. Most schools in metro area are bad. Pick a city and review the schools there. You will find that most if not all are the types of schools that are in KC. If you have money to send your kids to a private school do it. I beleive that we should have school vouchers so that all schools public and private would need to compete for our funding. If the public school in the city you live in is not run proporly then you could spend your voucher at any other school you choose. My children have all finished school and moved on to collage. But if I had had a school voucher system I would have used it. Now I just pay for schools that I have no kids in and here like there, the system is broken. Let's fix the education system in the country by leveling the playing feild and put into place a pay as you go school voucher system.

Anonymous said...

I am afraid that this attitude is going to spread like a cancer to surrounding school districts if the KCMO District students spread out. They are behind their peers in other districts academically, and they can overwhelm the good stuff going on elsewhere.
I dont know the answer, but I would not want to subject my children to more of this same stuff if I lived in Independence, Grandview, Hickman, or Center.

chuck said...

When public schools all across America stop trying to turn every kid in school into a scholar and start teaching them a trade, this will never end.

While this insanity continues, there will be children left behind. In fact, pretty much all of the children will be lefft behind.

Its ok to be a plumber, or an electrician (Like me) or a sheetrocker.

The insanity of the curriculum, leads to the insanity of the cryyikkulum.

You don't have to leave kids behind, ya just gotta use your fuckin head for something besides a liberal hat rack.

:) My dad would like that.

Bob G. said...

I've said for decades that all this crap started after 1970...(when I graduated).
First thing they did in Philly public schools was ELIMINATE THE DRESS CODE.
Now to me, when you LOOK like a slob, you are not only perceived AS one, but you WILL tend to slack off.

That was the snowball that was kicked down the mountain of education...everything else followed suit.
And now we see the results of such "good intentions".
(nice paving job, too...wonder where that road GOES anyway, as if we didn't know)

Great post AND comments by everyone.

Stay safe out there.

kansas city electrician said...

most of the schools are in trouble in larger cities.
great post