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Straight Up

Bob Richardson

The Roaring Fork School District Re-1’s adoption of standards-based education is an outrage. It is exactly the opposite of what the name implies, which is exactly what the district needs – standards. The education community learned from politicians that what you call something is more important than its reality. It’s similar to revenue enhancement, campaign reform and affirmative action.

The unwillingness to enforce standards originally, and then the gradual elimination of standardized testing, attendance, exhibiting the barest rudiments of social graces such as language and dress, and teaching moral absolutes, has had a devastating effect on the quality of government (public) education. I submit that this is unarguable. Statistics and common knowledge of adults, particularly employers, prove it beyond honest dispute.

I also submit that the elimination of assigning grades A through F will further de-grade (pun intended) the already sorry state of affairs. The board’s action in doing so is hypocritical beyond comprehension.

For decades now, educators have been out of touch with mainstream America, having adopted an attitude of superiority and sophistry which they tell parents (and property taxpayers) is “expertise.” This attitude has been ever-so self-serving and necessary in order to defend them, in their unrelenting quest for political cover, from the ugly truth of the abject failure of the system.

The education community is very cloistered, fraternal and fanatic in defense of the indefensible – miserable job performance. It is obsessive, it is fair to say, in its efforts to justify, divert attention from, and deny responsibility, for their failures.

Obviously the best tactic to hide poor performance (and guarantee job security) is to eliminate any and all objective methods to measure performance. This calculated deceit was dubbed “outcome-based education” years ago by liberal education elitists, who have controlled the upper echelons of the National Education Association since the late 1960s.

Unfortunately for them, the “outcome” was so abysmal that “OBE” took a huge beating, and thus had to be renamed to, guess what? standards-based education. Perfect. Given the right name and enough fawning, liberal media support, it will sell! It all depends on how you define “standards,” the liberals will now say, having learned from the master of deceit.

But not in the Roaring Fork Valley, I’m guessing. This area is much too sophisticated to buy this unmitigated nonsense. I am going out on a limb here, because it is only too apparent that our valley parents and property taxpayers have already allowed the Re-1 school board to deteriorate into an assemblage of touchy-feely nincompoops who suffer the afore-mentioned incomprehensible sense of superiority.

It is interesting to me that the Aug. 30 Post Independent article never mentioned a word about even one single parent’s reaction to the board’s announcement. I’m betting the board members are about to hear more than they ever wanted to know and that they will be shocked and aghast at the negative reaction. Such is the dream world of education types these days.

So, standards-based education is the inevitable result of the incessant ragging from our “education professionals” about standardized testing and those awful, discriminatory (and telling) relics called “grades.” Educators also pretend that obvious individual intellectual differences don’t exist – and sure can’t be allowed to appear in a politically correct world. More that I’m too aggravated by now to recite.

Teachers and administrators have been at it so long that I think they have come to actually believe all of it. And given the inescapable, disastrous statistics about the quality of education in this country, and Re-1, it’s gotta help sleep at night.

Incidentally, I assign no evil motives to anyone – just incredibly selfish ones. Long-gone are the dedicated teachers of yesteryear, for the most part. (Yes, there are exceptions, so give me a break and understand that exceptions always exist for everything I ever say.) Given the sheer number of administrators, their outlandish compensation and disgraceful duplicity to the board regarding teachers’ interests, it is not hard to understand. But I say, then, get out instead of turning in a poor performance.

I collapsed in a heap – my friends say it is hard to tell when I have – when I read that an item on the very same board agenda was the initiative concerning the elimination of board terms limits! Frigging unbelievable. We need them at all levels, folks, but not this school board? Now I am in a heap.

Thanks for listening.

Glenwood Springs resident Bob Richardson’s column runs every other Friday in the Post Independent.


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