Letter about education woes printed in Las Vegas Review-Journal

The following letter was printed in today’s newspaper:

To the editor:

When Clark County School District students bomb a math test, why do we assume teachers aren’t doing their jobs (Thursday Review-Journal)? A dentist might do great work, but if a kid goes home and binges on sugar and never brushes his teeth, whose fault is it if the kid gets cavities? Parents control the health at home, as they do the work ethic and attitude.

Do people not realize that teachers cannot control the final results of their work, that student achievement is ultimately a matter of the students’ choices to attend school, pay attention, do homework, study and avoid things outside of school that would hamper their learning? Valley students have an abysmal record in those areas, and their parents let it happen.

Trying to teach the most basic math to a teenager now is like trying to teach Shakespeare to someone who just got off the boat from China: There’s such a huge lack of necessary background that the whole enterprise becomes hopeless.

Our entertainment-heavy and entitlement-minded society has finally bred a generation that is essentially incapable of the concrete thinking needed to process arithmetic computation. A 90 percent fail rate couldn’t possibly be the fault of incompetent teaching; if math instructors were consciously trying to fail the entire student body, more than 10 percent of students, if they had any kind of initiative, would still pass.

Rather than credit the Clark County School District with an effective conspiracy of poor teaching, let’s admit that this staggering failure can only be explained by a loss of prerequisite ability in our children. The parents of Clark County are reaping what they have sown.

Jamie Huston

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