Letters to the Editor

Poor Showing

In the Sept. 24 issue of The Arlington Times, Mr. Michael Kundu, under the headline, “America needs more students entering science, mathematics fields,” began his essay with the discussion of several major national and international scientific engineering projects. This discussion lead to an overview of the low number of students majoring in these fields in universities. All of the laws passed by the U.S. Congress and the Washington State Legislature will not correct this poor showing. The federal and state laws are not about scientific and academic educations, rather they are to designed to convert the once great U.S. public school systems into institutions of political and social indoctrination.

The destruction of the public school system began in the early 1950s with the introduction of the whole word reading instructional methodology and the teaching of values clarification. The whole word reading program dumbed down the students ability to acquire knowledge from the printed page by reducing students understanding of vocabulary to a minimum. The values clarification instructions were designed to remove student beliefs in the necessity of acquiring knowledge, subject interests, ambitions, ethical, political and social concepts taught by parents. Education then became affective learning, not based on facts and logic but on emotions and feeling.

Mr. Kundu’s comments on the small number of students entering universities for studies in science, engineering and math are quite correct. These conditions have been known since the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores began a long slide into irrevelence in the mid 1980s. This slide started after the WEA paid the state legislature to mandate the use of the Whole Word reading system and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards. When these proposed adoptions were discussed in legislative committee hearings, they were strongly opposed by hundreds of parents, all to no avail as every member of the legislative education committees received massive WEA funding for election campaigns.

In 1993 the NAEP, a congressionally funded agency conducted a survey of reading and math abilities and knowledge among persons between 19 and 25. Half of all were functionally illiterate and unable to add up a grocery receipt. As a result of this poor educational background, the number of students entering universities to study science and math dropped by fifty percent and of these, less than 50 percent graduate. An even smaller percentage go on to graduate studies. A year ago I attended a lecture by a UW scientist, who stated university science education had been dumbed down as students were unable to under stand the math.

China and India, each year graduate more scientists and engineers than there are in the United States. The shortage of trained and educated scientists and engineers in the U.S. is so great, large American employers petitioned the U.S. create the H1 visa, allowing them to hire foreign trained and educated scientists and engineers for employment in the U.S.

Mr. Kundu is quite correct in the need to attract more students to the study of science and engineering. Any such effort will not be effective until parents and citizens are able to regain control of the public schools, reintroducing academic educational programs. There are four conditions to accomplish this, first, all teachers should have a degree in an academic subject. The Batchelor of Education, Masters of Education and Doctor of Education degrees are hollow with most of the instruction consisting of psycho babble nonsense. Second, instruction must be a teacher explaining, discussing, demonstrating and testing and with students doing lots of practice. This is generally called direct instruction. Third, text books must be written by professionals in the field with subject content in each grade being a challenge to the students. Fourth, only tried and true instructional methodologies should be used, not the child centered nonsense of exploratory learning or the whole word reading instructional method. For reading, intense explicit phonics and the use of direct instruction by knowledgeable, educated and trained teachers must be emphasized.

None of this will take place if the WEA is allowed to continue its purchase of the political services of governors, members of the legislature, judges and school board members.

Our schools are a monstrous failure and disgrace. If they are not reformed the U.S. will continue its long slide into third world nation status.

Glen Reid

Arlington

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