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The Monster that Ate the American Education System


January 27, 2015

We should all be alarmed by the extent to which roles of parents and families have been relinquished to government. As Ronald Reagan once said, “As government grows, liberty contracts.” What should be the administration of academic learning and a few basic social skills has grown into a monstrous dependence on government to meet the needs of children, from food, to shelter, to moral instruction. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, “As dependency on the public school system grows, the American family contracts.”

2scaredbaby The following is the aggregate list of services offered, decade by decade, by America’s public schools. Jamie Vollmer, a teacher, consultant, and public education advocate, compiled this list as evidence for his argument that public schools need and are worthy of ever increasing levels of funding. Although I am using Vollmer’s list in it’s original form, my purpose in using it is not to support the growth of government-run education, but instead to reveal how many parental responsibilities have been taken up by public schools. It’s alarming  to see the the extent to which roles of parents and families have been relinquished to a government entity. As Ronald Reagan once said, “As government grows, liberty contracts.” What should be the administration of academic learning and a few basic social skills has grown into a monstrous dependence on government to increasingly meet the needs of children from food, to shelter, to moral instruction. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, “As dependency on the public school system grows, the American family contracts.”

Vollmer’s List

From 1900 to 1910, we shifted to the school responsibilities related to:.

  • Nutrition
  • Immunization
  • Health (Activities in the health arena multiply every year.)

From 1910 to 1930, we added:.

  • Physical education (including organized athletics)
  • The Practical Arts/Domestic Science/Home economics (including sewing and cooking)
  • Vocational education (including industrial and agricultural education)
  • Mandated school transportation

In the 1940s, we added:.

  • Business education (including typing, shorthand, and bookkeeping)
  • Art and music
  • Speech and drama
  • Half-day kindergarten
  • School lunch programs (We take this for granted today, but it was a huge step to shift to the schools the job of feeding America’s children one third of their daily meals.)

In the 1950s, we added:.

  • Expanded science and math education
  • Safety education
  • Driver’s education
  • Expanded music and art education
  • Stronger foreign language requirements
  • Sex education (Topics continue to escalate.)

In the 1960s, we added:.

  • Advanced Placement programs
  • Head Start
  • Title I
  • Adult education
  • Consumer education (purchasing resources, rights and responsibilities)
  • Career education (occupational options, entry level skill requirements)
  • Peace, leisure, and recreation education [Loved those sixties.]

In the 1970s, the breakup of the American family accelerated, and we added:.

  • Drug and alcohol abuse education
  • Parenting education (techniques and tools for healthy parenting)
  • Behavior adjustment classes (including classroom and communication skills)
  • Character education
  • Special education (mandated by federal government)
  • Title IX programs (greatly expanded athletic programs for girls)
  • Environmental education
  • Women’s studies
  • African-American heritage education
  • School breakfast programs (Now some schools feed America’s children two-thirds of their daily meals throughout the school year and all summer. Sadly, these are the only decent meals some children receive.)

In the 1980s, the floodgates opened, and we added:.

  • Keyboarding and computer education
  • Global education
  • Multicultural/Ethnic education
  • Nonsexist education
  • English-as-a-second-language and bilingual education
  • Teen pregnancy awareness
  • Hispanic heritage education
  • Early childhood education
  • Jump Start, Early Start, Even Start, and Prime Start
  • Full-day kindergarten
  • Preschool programs for children at risk
  • After-school programs for children of working parents
  • Alternative education in all its forms
  • Stranger/danger education
  • Antismoking education
  • Sexual abuse prevention education
  • Expanded health and psychological services
  • Child abuse monitoring (a legal requirement for all teachers)

In the 1990s, we added:.

  • Conflict resolution and peer mediation
  • HIV/AIDS education
  • CPR training
  • Death education
  • America 2000 initiatives (Republican)
  • Inclusion
  • Expanded computer and internet education
  • Distance learning
  • Tech Prep and School to Work programs
  • Technical Adequacy
  • Assessment
  • Post-secondary enrollment options
  • Concurrent enrollment options
  • Goals 2000 initiatives (Democratic)
  • Expanded Talented and Gifted opportunities
  • At risk and dropout prevention
  • Homeless education (including causes and effects on children)
  • Gang education (urban centers)
  • Service learning
  • Bus safety, bicycle safety, gun safety, and water safety education

In the first decade of the twenty-first century, we added:.

  • No Child Left Behind (Republican)
  • Bully prevention
  • Anti-harassment policies (gender, race, religion, or national origin)
  • Expanded early childcare and wrap around programs
  • Elevator and escalator safety instruction
  • Body Mass Index evaluation (obesity monitoring)
  • Organ donor education and awareness programs
  • Personal financial literacy
  • Entrepreneurial and innovation skills development
  • Media literacy development
  • Contextual learning skill development
  • Health and wellness programs
  • Race to the Top (Democratic)

Please visit JamieVollmer.com to read more about him and his list.  Posted by Marjorie Haun 1/27/15

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