If you didn’t read my last entry, please do before reading this one. I wouldn’t want to lose you.
I’ve listened to criticism of my last entry, most saying that all I do is snipe at those who cannot speak nor write above third-grade level. I disagree. One person said I was being elitist. I’m simply pointing out things that I observe. In answer to these criticisms, I will put forth a few suggestions in this entry to help the problem. Now, you might consider what I’m about to say is indelicate, but the time for polite discussion is over. It’s time to kick ass.
I hear many people blaming teachers for this decent into ignorance. I would agree there are some teachers who need to consider other careers, but most are dealing with insurmountable problems. From revisionist lunatics who want to dumb down textbooks, to union hating politicians who cut funding for schools, teachers and school districts face an uphill battle. I know teachers who pay for supplies out of their own pockets because of budget cuts. This must stop. Politicians need to triple funding for education and stop interjecting conditions on that money. George W. Bush dictating how kids should be taught is like a heroin addict dictating a rehab program while they’re still using. It’s time teachers had the resources to produce a better educated child.
Parents deserve some blame here as well. Now please don’t groan, I’m not throwing you entirely under the bus, but frankly someone must take responsibility. Some parents push their kids to find a career as early as middle school instead of encouraging them to learn. They focus on tests, like schools and politicians, instead of teaching kids. It’s times to shut off video games and make sure they spend more time with books in their hands. As Stephen King once said, “television stifles creativity.” My suggestion is to cut it off. I know it makes a great babysitter, but we’re raising kids who can’t interact. Also, your kids don’t need every new toy. Buy them a fucking book. And interject yourself into what they read. There is bad fiction everywhere. But you must know the difference between good and bad fiction, so educate yourself.
I go to book signings and hear many people say the following: “I don’t read fiction. I read biographies and history books.” That’s terrific. Usually, when I ask what the last book they read was, they either A.) Can’t tell me or B.) Will list either Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh. This blog isn’t political, but these fucktards want to dumb down both kids and adults. By the way, if you bought Rush Limbaugh’s history books for little children, please take those books and hit yourself in the head. Revisionist history has gotten us where we are now. Buy your teenagers Poe, not Twilight (sorry Stephanie). Get your kids Jonathan Swift and Treasure Island. They worked for your generation and, if you press things, they’ll work for your kid’s.
The following suggestions might turn this trend around.
First, we need more funding for education. Teacher’s salaries must increase and we need to entice the smartest among us to teach our young. Stop bitching about their retirement.
Second, stop making your kids victims by telling them there are no losers. This is making your kids believe they are exceptional when they aren’t. Be realistic. If your kid needs help, for fuck’s sake, help them. I know you’re tired, but they are your responsibility. Teachers are not responsible for turning your kids into responsible human beings, you are.
Third, we need to take the country’s educational materials out of the hands of uneducated morons who think politics and religion belong in school texts. That must end.
Fourth, good fiction belongs in schools. Teaching classics as well as modern fiction is important to help children’s imagination.
Fifth, we must stop arguing that teachers make too much, when Wall Street thieves make billions. Here’s an idea, let’s fine the shit out of Goldman Sachs and these other greedy fucks who crashed the economy and put the entire lot into school funding. A few extra billion and our kids may make it above drool level yet.
Sixth, DO NOT delude yourself into thinking the Bible is a perfect way to teach your kid reading. This does not constitute education. It isn’t a textbook.
Seventh, encourage your kid to read actual books, not just graphic novels (comic books). Picture books are fine for little kids, but graduating to books without pictures, as they get older, is a good idea. I read Exodus by Leon Uris when I was in the sixth grade. I got it and proved to my teacher I got it. Within reason, don’t scare your kids into avoiding good writing because you don’t like the story. Most importantly, stop preparing your kids for a career in grade school. A good part of learning is varying your intake.
Finally, encourage your kids to use their imagination. Don’t castigate them when they daydream. Daydreaming is where writers are born. School Districts need to hire educators to run schools, not accountants. We need to spend time and money helping our kids learn, not squashing individualism. We must teach children to fight for their rights to a good education. Their problem is, they have no right to fight. Much of the time, their main opponents are the very people who are supposed to advocate for them. We must stop this and work on their behalf. Don’t blame teachers. Blame politicians who think funding oil subsidies and investment banks is more important than funding schools. Vote out any politician who supports gutting education. Vote out any politician who interjects political rhetoric into education. Science is fact. If you don’t believe in it, then stay the hell out of education. You have no business there.
Okay, I just tossed some gas on this soapbox and pitched a match into it. It burns brightly in the morning sunlight.