Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

     Free education in the USA is a joke. There is nothing free about it. We pay dearly in taxes. The education opportunity given to our children is a golden gift. They waste the gift from grades 1-12 daily. Our kids just do not get it. They are too young to get it on their own. The problem is with parents who fail to take their parental responsibility seriously.

     My own parents did not have the same opportunity that they gave me. Their formal education was at a fourth grade level. Both Mom and Dad left their homes in a foreign country to migrate to America as teenagers.  The experience of coming to a new land on your own at age sixteen is unimaginable. Yet, there were thousands of European kids coming to America for a better life. When they arrived, they did not find a friendly country. People called them greenhorns and hunkies. They stuck with others of their own nationality in order to survive.  After they settled into a community, they attended school for two reasons: first to learn the language, second to become citizens.

     What I am getting to is that they understood the value of education, and insisted that we get a good one.  My own philosophy is the same. My children’s philosophy is the same as mine. Our kids will not squander the golden gift. I made sure the kids went to good schools.  We insisted they show us their assignments, and reviewed their homework. We talked to their teachers and gave them our permission to discipline our kids when they were out of line. Every teacher they had was a caring person who was serious about his work and my kids. I am satisfied that my kids took advantage of the gift.

     What makes me upset today, is the low graduation rate and the number of kids who get out of school, and do not know how to read. I hear politicians campaigning on the promise to spend more money on education. I see Chicago schools that are a hundred years old, and in need of serious repair. I see school busses lined up to deliver kids to school. I see kids getting free breakfast and lunch. I see teachers afraid to enter a classroom because of discipline problems. I see parents who do not give a hoot about their kid’s education. I see gangs substituting for parents and family in a kid’s life.

     All of the above only makes me mad as hell. What makes me furious is when I hear about teachers who are no longer interested or capable of teaching, and the administration cannot fire them because of their tenure. Between tenure and the teachers unions, I see my tax dollars flushed down the toilet.  I recently learned that it costs $219,000.00 to fire a bad teacher in the Chicago system. As a result, the bad teachers remain in force. They ignore our kids, and waste our dollars. When they retire, they get great pensions. Our kids are screwed.

     My point is that we have to make the teacher unions give a little in order to improve the school system. Certainly, more money is not the answer.

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