Meet The Next Generation Of Politically Correct Teachers—Scary!
The twenty years that I spent as an educator for the
Lodi Unified School District in
California`s San Joaquin Valley give me grave concerns for the
students who will be products of the K-12 system in future
In my position as an adult English as a second language teacher,
I hired bilingual high school teaching aides to help with
complex enrollment process and to generally put the students at
ease. Since most of the new pupils had
never been in a
classroom in their lives, they were nervous. Having
someone speak to them in their own language helped assuage their
My teaching aides represent the 75 percent of California high
school students that will actually graduate. You`ve read a
considerable amount about the remaining 25 percent,
the 121,292 who
drop out every year—what an outrage it is and what might
possibly become of them as they drift into adulthood.
While it`s possible that some of the failures might get their
or learn a valuable trade, the majority of those who don`t get a
diploma are almost certain to live on the fringe…or worse.
“Each annual wave of dropouts
costs the state $46.4 billion over their lifetimes because
people without a high school diploma are the most likely to be
unemployed, turn to crime, need state-funded medical care, get
welfare and pay no taxes, according to the report.” [High
School Drop Outs Cost State Billions,
by Nanette Asimov, San
Francisco Chronicle, February 28, 2008]
what will become of my guys who, one can argue, are among the
cream of the K-12 crop?
stood out among their peers because:
They took the initiative to look for a job, particularly one
that`s not in fast food
Maintained a 2.0 GPA, the minimum to obtain a California
work permit for minor students.
Instilled enough confidence in their high school work
experience counselor to have him sign off on the work
the support and encouragement of at least one parent who
must also sign.
So far, so
But what I eventually learned about my young
aides was that they
nothing about any subject.
At no time during my two decades did one
single aide spell “a-i-d-e”
correctly on the job application, writing it instead as
Basic math, especially without a calculator, was a
challenge. I wasn`t surprised when a fellow
California teacher wrote to
that she suspected few students could do
long division with
was a particularly troubling subject.
No one could point to
where they lived, on a blank map of California.
None could identify the
Mountains, although they were visible from their
Only a handful could quickly tell me the difference between
the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
The now compulsory
California Exit Exam changes little. Few graduates still have
any grasp of core curriculum subjects.
a writing assignment mandatory for graduation, produces few
well-written essays. Of all the subjects the current crop of
students struggle with, composition is at the top of this list.
For the most
part, my aides followed my simple three-step formula (that I
never shared with them but which I hold as tried and true) to
earn a high school diploma:
Don`t cut class
Turn in your assignments and take your tests on time
Don`t make trouble
wouldn`t they? The profession remains one that,
despite it all, is admired. And when many of these young
first generation immigrants announce their plans to pursue a
teaching career, it`s a cause for a
Early on, when I talked to my aides about
their career plans, they told me of their aspirations to be
lawyers or perhaps doctors. But they weren`t far into their
before they realized that those professions were out of reach
because they require a solid academic foundation which my young
friends did not have.
“qualities” will, tragically, be reinforced during their
Upon graduating from college, the end product
then will be an under-informed, not too intellectually curious
individual who will have the responsibility for preparing
your child for the real world.
Not long ago, I got a phone call from a former
Vietnamese aide who was several cuts above the average. She had
just graduated from the
University of Southern
California Dentistry School.
shared some laughs about the old days, she told me:
“In all my years in
school, I never heard any one express ideas similar to yours. No
one ever challenged me to look at the opposite side of social
issues. I still don`t agree with you about everything you say
but I see things a lot differently now.”
is both flattering and depressing.
I have to
assume that neither academic standards nor the politically
correct environment in public schools will improve in our life
parents with three viable options:
Somehow impress upon children that they will get out of
public school exactly what they put into it. Hard
work—theirs and yours—may still pay off.
Private school—start saving now.
California public education—forty years ago America`s best—has
been killed by immigration. And to this day, no one in
Department of Education will admit it, much less take steps to
him] is a California native
who recently fled the state because of over-immigration,
over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He
has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the
growth rate stable. A
long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School,
Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It
currently appears in the