Crisis and the Groundhogs Day Phenomenon

Crisis: a turning point in the course of anything; decisive or crucial time; a time of great danger or trouble, whose outcome decides whether possible bad consequences will follow. With the term “crisis” thus defined, has the public education system been in a crisis? Hell yes! And repeatedly!

And for those that have been paying attention to “education reform” for more than a decade or two, you understand why I reference the  “Groundhog Day” phenomenon — the déjà vu feeling of having to wake each day and repeat the same scene over-and-over. Well, the Bill Murray character in the movie was on a cakewalk compared to the real nightmare of decades upon decades of debate about whether or not public education is in a true crisis.

“Whose outcome decides whether possible bad consequences will follow”— please, think about it. How many times have you heard, especially in relationship to No Child Left Behind, that there were unintended consequences?

What Can We Do?

What Can We Do?

In the American Education Reform War, one side defines the crisis as mediocre international test scores while the other side claims there is no crisis at all. Meanwhile, around kitchen tables there are mothers, fathers, grandparents, and students fretting about and struggling with problems related to education. Many times these same people have solutions that can’t be done without the cooperation of the public education system. And without support and help, they know what the consequences will be. These people face a crisis. The system is not responding to them.

Exposing Educational Parasites

Parasites multiply when the conditions are right; educational parasites are no different.

Look closer.

As a veterinarian, I’ve found that people don’t need convincing to rid their pets of parasites that they can see. If they can see them, they want the parasites gone. But the internal parasites — the ones they cannot or rarely see — are  harder to convince them to take action against.

I have seen animals in high parasite areas that didn’t get the attention they needed until the parasites had drained them of so much blood the signs of anemia became obvious. Damage was done.

And in certain areas of the country, spring means a rise in parasites because the conditions are right. But that warning on behalf of helping my furry friends isn’t why I’m writing this; I hope to make a memorable point.

When it comes to education reform laws and their intentions, more often than not, it is hard for the public to see the parasites feeding off the dysfunction of the system. Dysfunction — in a few schools or at the level of national law — is the condition that allows the education-industrial complex to multiply and suck public funds from our pockets — right in front of our eyes.

We see the education “programs” costing us but we rarely are able to see what is happening internally — at the heart of OUR government. So we have yet to rid ourselves of enough internal parasites to make the system healthy again. “They” are currently the same ones that put bad laws into place and have refused to make them right. They all know that No Child Left Behind had “unintended consequences” (update: that was not corrected by ESSA — the Every Student Succeeds Act). Certainly they must know it is wrong to sit by and let the “patients” suffer.

“They” are our congressional representatives, governors, and chief state school officers. And so many other groups have offered better treatment solutions.

It is hard to rid ourselves of things we can’t identify.

So my prescription is multifaceted. Expose the parasites. Call them out; ask for answers as to why they have not acted to correct the law and what their intentions are. Ask for documentation of their work. Rather than a FEDERAL “accountability” mechanism for local schools, where will the accountability of the government to the People going to happen?

Demand it! That is what congressional oversight hearings are supposed to do. The public deserves to know how their U.S. Department of Education sees its role in our public schools and what they are doing to better serve our nation.

Let’s get rid of some educational parasites.

Then, the very best medicine I can prescribe is prevention of the problem in the future.

We need involved, informed, forward-thinking leaders that will work with and for us — not against US! I can only hope all political parasites will be exposed and remembered in November —- consistently, every November, until the problem is eliminated.