Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why do some teachers think it is OK to use students as lobbyists?

California Assemblyman Roger Niello in Students are unfairly, unwisely manipulated writes:

"As vice-chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, I receive many letters of concern about California's budget from across the state, which I expect and welcome. However, the current budget situation has introduced me to an alarming advocacy tactic. Some schools have discovered - and exploited - a whole new cadre of lobbyists: third-grade students."

He makes several good points. For example these children are being fed only the story from the teacher's point of view. The students are not told about some of the larger issues, like what affect higher taxes will have on their families. He is also concerned about teaching children to be scared and fearful, while they are still young children.

This kind of problems comes about because many people, teachers, principals, politicians and so on think they make the final decisions on what the children are taught. They don't believe parents are wise enough, care enough, or should have any say in what the children are taught. The schools seem to do things willy-nilly. Fads come and go, some times with children and parents suffering for years, decades, even generations later. Long after the children were never adiqutely taught a subject, even a basic subject like how to read, the child may be suffering from a poor job.

Are parents and citizens we need to draw clear boundries and tell teachers: "Teach our children how to read, write, and do the basic subjects. Don't get involved in the latest fads. Don't manipulate them into being your lobbyists."

(Hat tip: Friends of Dave)

Technorati tags: government schools, public school, public education, education


Anonymous said...

School these days seems to be more of a social engineering experiment than academic learning. Maybe the excessive amount of homework they give even to little kids now is because they don't have time to teach math and reading anymore.

Luke Holzmann said...

Very good point, Henry!


Henry Cate said...

Eleanor - you make an interesting point. I hadn't thought about it before. It makes sense.

Luke - thanks.

Crimson Wife said...

I have no problem with high school students *voluntarily* going to lobby on behalf of whatever, but elementary students lack the maturity to be able to reason out an informed opinion for themselves. There's a big difference between the mental capacity of a teen and that of a young child!

Henry Cate said...

crimson wife - I totally agree.

Though I'm not sure public schools should even be involved with helping high school students to "voluntarily" get involved in politics. Once the school is "helping" it could easily start giving some direction.