The Education Letter the Review-Journal Didn’t Want You to See

Two Sundays ago, the Las Vegas Review-Journal ran a huge story about the massive failure of local students on common assessments.  I sent a letter to them responding to it.  Some of their story was honestly true, much was misinterpreted and out of context, but mostly it failed to take into account the most salient factors. 

Over the following week, they printed three letters in response to the article.  Mine wasn’t one of them.  All three that did run were positive in nature.  Why didn’t they print mine?  Is it because I’d just had a letter published the week before?  Is it because my letter wasn’t sycophantic enough?  Is it because I called them jerks on Facebook for crudely mis-labeling my last letter? 

Whatever the reason, here’s an excerpt from the letter the local paper didn’t want you to see:

In your lambasting of local education, you fail to explain why things are so bad. At one point, “culture” was reluctantly offered as a factor. No kidding!

In the first five weeks of school, I’ve spoken with a dozen parents who want their children removed from my English classes and placed in an easier class. This happens every year, as it does to every teacher I know who runs rigorous classes.

One mother explained that the problem with my class is that it’s “all reading and writing.” Apparently, I should be having more dance parties.

It’s incredible just how many parents in Las Vegas will insist on easier classes and demand lower standards. The lazy, entitlement culture is deeply entrenched here.

The next time you want to complain about education, write a scathing exposé about the thousands of your neighbors who regularly bully teachers into mediocrity.



4 comments on “The Education Letter the Review-Journal Didn’t Want You to See

  1. Hear, hear!

    You said it. If parents have never required anything of their children, how can they expect the teachers to magically turn them into responsible citizens? Perhaps, in some cultures, rules have been overemphasized, but in our culture, the parents just don’t want to bother with their children. Someone else will take care of them, and teach them that there are rules in the society at large, and if nothing else, the laws of nature you can’t change just because you feel like it right now.

    That someone else is too often the prison system for children like that…

  2. You’re right about the culture, as the fundamental problem here is how education and work is viewed and valued in the home. I have witnessed instances where kids work hard to rise above what they learn in their home. Sadly, it usually only occurs in cases where what has gone on in the home is so unpalatable that they will do anything to avoid continuing that kind of life in the future.

    Personally, I don’t get it. As a parent, I want my kids to be successful in their endeavors. Education is the key. Given the present economic conditions in this town, one would think that parents would be pushing their kids to learn as much as can before they have to start paying more than they already are for that privilege. They should feel grateful that their child has a teacher who will stimulate growth and learning, and not just give them a free pass.

    It is this very culture and attitude that caused us to pursue putting our kids into magnet schools. At a minimum, most of the kids that they attend with (and their parents) value education. It isn’t perfect, but since we already pay taxes for education, we’d rather save our money for college rather than private schools. (Or educate them ourselves, which is a whole other topic) On a high school level, I’m not convinced that our daughter would get a better education than she is receiving at ATECH. The sad thing is that although the kids there can compete with others on a national level, some top colleges won’t even consider students from Nevada because of the state of education here. (Although I’m not convinced that the grass is much greener elsewhere in the U.S.)

    Throwing more money at the problem to combat it won’t necessarily solve it. Neither will the district’s attempts to disperse low performers across the valley, so that one single school isn’t “failing”. Until we value education more than sports figures, celebrities, and rampant consumerism, I don’t hold out a lot of hope for the education system as a whole in this country. There will always be those who do care, and there are educators like you who make a huge difference. However, it feels like an uphill battle.

    Yeesh! I didn’t mean to drone on so long, or come across as a pessimist. Ultimately, those of us who do value education must continue to do what we can to promote it within our sphere of influence.

  3. My wife and I comment to each other all the time the tools for parents to ensure their child has a great education are all in place. All you have to do is be involved and give a damn. Really, we have some outstanding teachers and staff…they are just tired of lazy parents and their lazy kids.

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