The Dumbing-Down of America

I have never been so thrilled with the news media as I am with NBC Nightly News ( for their coverage of the pitiful state of education in this country. The dumbing-down of America did not begin with Bush’s “No Child Left Behind.” That merely made it worse.

The beginning began when they took phonics out of the curriculum. Then California started the ridiculously unnecessary trend of “new math.” Next, dress codes were all but abandoned and student behavior was allowed to decay. But, the final straw that broke the back of America’s once outstanding educational system was social promotion. With that absurd irrationality inevitable decline was set in motion. Out went high expectations and in came rampant illiteracy and all the bad/sad effects it causes. 

People, you do not help anyone by lowering expectations. All children should be taught, besides equally, that they have potential. They CAN learn and succeed in life. To do anything less is pure neglect.

For decades, I have been a teacher’s advocate. Teachers are the most important part of our children’s lives from age 4(sometimes) to age 18 and the poorest paid. No one else spends more time with our children than teachers. Now, why in the world would Congress/state/local governments not provide everything(materials, supplies, technology, top-notch facilities) they need to help them properly educate the future adults of this once magnificent country? Why would they not receive at least $50K annually for their efforts? You get what you pay for. The only good teachers who stay in education are those to whom money is not an issue. There are millions of great teachers who have had to quit because they just could not afford to teach.

NOTHING is more important to the decades/centuries/millennium to come than high quality education for EVERYONE. And, NOTHING is more important to achieving high quality education for our children than making teaching a well-paid profession, for heaven’s sake! (Teachers, firemen, and policemen do some of the most important work in this country and should be compensated accordingly. Nurses are the lifeblood of the healthcare industry and are finally making great strides economically.)

Dear President Obama, Congress, governors, mayors, city councils, school boards, and all other citizens of these United States:

Here are my suggestions for an education overhaul…1)Expect the best from all students; 2)Pay beginning teachers $40K with an increase to $50K after two years of student excellence; 3)Let the teachers teach (eliminate most elementary administrators) and stop making them “teach the tests”; 4)Require parent involvement in their child’s education, even to the point of teaching them English; 5)Make all schools facilitatively equal (Last year one school in San Antonio did not have enough desks/chairs or money for substitute teachers, so between classes they moved desks/chairs from one classroom to another classroom when kids were at recess/gym/lunch AND the principal put students from absent teachers in other classrooms so that some days a teacher might have 60 students.); 6)Require uniforms for all students; 7)Put phonics back in pre-K to 1st grade; 8)Change the curriculum – pre-K through 4th grade concentrate on spelling, reading, math(addition, subtraction, multiplication, division), social skills, geography, art, music, science – 5th-8th grades, separate girls and boys for serious subjects, concentrate on literature, algebra/geometry, the arts, physical education, culture – high school should be focused on college/technology/vocational courses(by this time students should know and, so should their schools, where their aptitudes lie and what they need to concentrate on for their futures and becoming productive adults), economics, environment, government, life skills, and physical fitness. Don’t see sports in there? Well, sports are extracurricular. They lead to scholarships for a low percentage of high school graduates and then to professional careers for an even smaller percentage. Sports are not important in the grand scheme of life – they become a source of entertainment, escapism, and vicariousness.

In closing, I want to thank everyone striving with all their might to educate children and to help them become the best they can be. BUT, I thoroughly chastise everyone else who is not – shame on you!

Most sincerely,

Monnalee Kelsey Bess

[P.S. Before I receive a bunch of irate comments from sportsaholics, I feel the need to clarify my stance on the unimportance of sports in the educational curriculum…I do not hate sports. I was a competitive swimmer and racquetball player; now I play golf and own a fantasy football team. I just believe that in the overall scheme of things, football, baseball, and basketball have become way too prioritized and revered. Athleticism can instill discipline and confidence, but the bottom line for me – they are games.]


About Cyranette

I have been writing since I was 11 and am now a grandmother of 9. Aside from my family, I love writing, reading, movies, gardening, genealogy, and travel. I met my soulmate online and we've been married 19 years. I am a survivor of rape, abuse, and cancer. I believe in love, kindness, and common sense. I was born/raised in Indiana and have lived in Massachusetts, Texas, and California. I have visited: most of the United States, British Columbia, Germany, Austria, and Costa Rica. My husband and I would like to visit England, Europe, and New Zealand and to take a train ride along the Canadian/American border. I have written essays, articles, short stories, a romance novel, a self-help book, and several children's books.
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