School’s Out For Summer….School’s Lout Forever

If you’d like an insight on why Miami-Dade public schools under-perform, look no further than the excuse-makers in charge.

In an essay published in Sunday’s Miami Hurled, school board member Renier Diaz de la Portilla takes exception to a remark from United Teachers of Dade President Karen Aronowitz, who opined that the U.S. public education system should be more like Finland’s, which, he concedes, “ranks among the top nations in international student assessments.”

De la Portilla thinks this is an unfair comparison.  He cites Finland’s homogeneous society, as compared to the culturally and socioeconomically diverse population in Miami-Dade, and suggests that all these foreign-born non-English speaking students present challenges to the system that inevitably drag down performance and test scores.  Good point.  They have funny names, too, and have the indecency to report to school every morning hungry.

He also points out that

“Finland is a welfare state and it taxes its citizens up to almost 50% of their personal income. Our public education system is funded in a significantly different way….. I don’t know who in our community would argue that a level of taxation that resembles the level in Finland is acceptable.”

So, what this boils down to is that since Finland has an evil socialist system, it follows that here in Miami-Dade we can’t  adequately underwrite the cost of a first-rate education for our children without becoming if not card-carrying communists, then at least tax-and-spend liberals like that Finland-worshipping union leader.  After all:

“Finland is a country of noteworthy social achievements, but one tied to socialist principles. The American experience, on the other hand, is about individualism, capitalism, and freedom. America’s education system is a tapestry of public and private schools, personal preferences, religious and cultural affinities.”

When the circus is led by a ringmaster spewing this kind of rot and rubbish, is it any surprise that the band is out of tune, the acrobats collide in mid-air, and the monkeys run amok in the midway?  This is transparently idiotic, precisely the sort of condescending crap one hears all the time from people out of touch with their constituents and stakeholders; elitists who stopped making sense when they started making dollars.

Don’t blot our copy books with loads of nefarious irrelevant crap about socialism and taxes when the problem is waste, fraud, and misappropriated resources.  Don’t poison the argument with veiled bias about the culture and socioeconomic status of the student population.

The key to a solid education system is talented, dedicated teachers equipped with the resources they need to work closely with children and their families in a community that nurtures their well-being and supports their efforts.  This is a whole lot to conceive, launch, and keep afloat, and it takes intelligent, tenacious, and committed leadership.

In other words, people who don’t spell their name Renier de la Portilla.  Get off this board and let some genuine educators take over.  You’ll know them when you see them: they have chalk dust on their fingers, and sincerity in their eyes.

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2 Responses to School’s Out For Summer….School’s Lout Forever

  1. 'Nonymous says:

    It’s not surprising that you end up siding with the lefty teachers union, and that your method here is just to insult the board member without addressing his concerns. What strikes me as mockworthy is that if an authoritative system like Finland’s were tried here, the first ones to howl protests would be the same teachers who praise it from a distance. They would be told what to teach and when, subjected to reviews that could cost them their jobs let alone seniority, and test the kids more rigorously than we do under FCAT. You think these pampered overpaid union members would like that?

    • The Professor is Wright says:

      @’Nonymous: you raise what might be valid arguments if they had any grounds in reality, which they don’t. The system you describe isn’t Finland’s, which allows instructional staff considerable leeway, does not inflict a regimen of testing like FCAT, and has a peer-review system that encourages cooperation as well as competition. Have you confused modern Finland with Orwell’s Oceania?

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