Got a problem you can’t solve, such as teen pregnancy, drug abuse, violence, bad manners, or general immorality? Dump it onto the public schools. They will promise to solve any problem they are given. Of course, many children cannot read at grade level, cannot do basic arithmetic, and do not know their country’s history, but that’s all right. That won’t stop politicians, community leaders, ordinary citizens, or parents from expecting the schools to address those problems even when they cannot adequately perform their basic mission, which is teaching children to read, write, and figure.

Many public schools now have programs in place designed to solve the problems listed above. Is teen pregnancy a problem in your community? Sex education will solve it. Just show the children how babies are made. Then show them how to keep from making babies, but under no circumstances should sex ed teachers advocate abstinence because “research has shown” that it doesn’t work. Pregnancy, of course, is the result of parthenogenesis.

What about drug abuse? Hire some more experts with films and lectures. Bring in recovering addicts to advocate abstinence from drug use because abstinence works with drugs — but not with sexual activity. Not doing drugs prevents addiction, but not doing “it” does not prevent pregnancy. 

Are there too many fights in your school? Start a peer mediation program. Hire another expert, this time one trained in conflict resolution, and instead of suspending or expelling violent students, put them all together in a room where they can share their feelings. Works every time, right? “When John said you were a _____, Fred, how did that make you feel?”           

Then there’s the problem of bad manners. Get another program going. Tell children to be considerate of each others’ feelings. Teach them the Golden Rule (but don’t tell where it comes from – that might traumatize non-Christians). Tell them to open doors, to help people carry things, to volunteer to do good things in the community, to say sir and ma’am, and to be respectful of everyone. Sounds like the things I learned at home from my parents, but I forgot. My parents were not taxpayer supported experts, only experts in common sense and decency. Accordingly the education theorists, Darwin’s theory works backwards these days. No longer smart enough to raise their children, parents must now turn them over to public schools experts.

Finally, schools must confront the problem of general immorality. They will call their program “values clarification” or something similar because the moral relativism that informs their world view does not permit teaching moral absolutes. Schools will tell children to avoid lying, cheating, stealing, raping, and murdering because once again, educationalists think parents have devolved into acephalic slugs fit only for procreation.

Chronicle letter writer Louise Gorenflo and school board member Robert Safdie often complain that Cumberland County schools are under funded, and they have a point. I mean, how can the schools be expected to teach children to read and write effectively when they must do all this other stuff? By all means, give them more money, and it would not hurt to add another program or two to address problems that have not yet been invented. In this regard we can hope for the election of Mr. Safdie to the county commission. We need people there who will raise our taxes.

Stumptalk is published weekly in the Crossville Chronicle. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Chronicle publisher, editor or staff. Phil Billington serves as coordinator of this column. He may be reached at 484-2766.



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