To the Editor,
Any doctor who suffered failure after failure in working with his patients would be subject to scrutiny and possibly barred from practice. Yet the American public school system is "graduating" millions of students incompetent in the most fundamental of skills.
I assert many of the "best educational experts" should be barred from practice if not prosecuted for fraud.
Yes, the causes of the failure of the school system are manifold. Parents and students do not hold education in high regard. Teachers are overburdened and poorly trained. Television, video games and computers are distracting. Textbooks are written to be politically correct, which seems to be more important than accuracy or usability.
But the chief cause is the underlying philosophy of education. Schools are lacking in discipline and the teaching of values. Self-control, self-reliance, responsibility and honesty should be held in high regard. Instead, they are ignored. The idea that one should receive a diploma based solely on attendance seems to be widespread.
To quote Isaac Asimov, "Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'"
The call for higher educators' salaries is nothing less than pouring money on the problem. The call for year-round school is ridiculous. When I was young, school started after Labor Day and ended before Memorial Day. The school year was shorter then than it is today. But graduates could read, write, do arithmetic and balance a check book. Most were prepared for living. They could sign their name in cursive, too. But discipline was strict, demands were high and knowledge was held in high regard. Failure was a shameful thing.